Toward Drilling Automation: On the Necessity of Using Sensors That Relate to Physical Models
- Eric Cayeux (IRIS) | Benoit Daireaux (IRIS) | Erik W. Dvergsnes (IRIS) | Fred Florence (National Oilwell Varco)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- June 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 236 - 255
- 2014.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.7.2 Managed Pressure Drilling, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 1.13 Drilling Automation
- drilling automation, real-time, physical model, sensor
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- 584 since 2007
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Current topside and downhole instrumentation at the wellsite has been developed to manually conduct drilling operations. The emergence of automatic drilling-analysis software shows the limitations of today’s measurement capabilities. It is therefore time to analyze the requirements for on-site instrumentation to implement new, efficient drilling-automation technologies. On one hand, drilling is facing more and more difficult conditions with narrow geopressure windows, deepwater, or high-pressure/ high-temperature (HP/HT) conditions. On the other hand, unconventional hydrocarbon reserves may require a considerable amount of wells to be profitable. Drilling automation, by means of smart safeguards, automatic safety triggers, managed-pressure drilling (MPD), and ultimately complete or semiautonomous drilling rigs, can provide the solution to safely construct wells in these challenging settings. The common denominator for the vast majority of drilling-automation solutions is the use of physical models of the drilling process in the form of heat-transfer, mechanical, and hydraulic models. By analyzing the requirements of those models for necessary boundary conditions, it is possible to derive which measurements should be made both at surface and downhole to obtain stable and accurate calculations. This analysis also provides a way to estimate the necessary accuracy of the boundary conditions to ensure reaching the target control tolerance. By use of the boundary-condition analysis, it is possible to derive precisely which measurements should be performed and where they should be performed. As a result, a typical organization of sensors that is compatible with the implementation of drilling-automation solutions is derived.
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