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Unconventional Yearbook 2018

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68 | January 2018 | hartenergy.com 2018 UNCONVENTIONAL YEARBOOK | DRILLING TECHNOLOGY More than anything else, closing the drilling con- trol loop is about the communications interface. After acquiring MS Energy "we've broken down IP hurdles that may have been in place previously, and we are able to jump directly into ensuring that we have the right communication interface. We are able to begin developing technology that allows downhole tools to communicate directly with rig and surface control systems," she emphasized. Along with the communication interface must come more speed in moving data. "One of the hard- est things I see in front of us is getting data fast enough. Whether it is standard mud pulse telem- etry or even the fastest EM, we're still getting data slowly from downhole," Barre said. There is a lag already in getting data to the surface, analyzing it and acting upon that infor- mation. The company is looking forward to improvements in data speed. "We are looking at staying with mud pulse telemetry and EM or some integration of the two. In addition, we'll poten- tially be exploring opportunities with acoustic technologies," Barre added. Holst said that, realistically, the completion of fi eld trials for the closed-loop drilling control system won't happen until 2019. "We will be releasing our automa- tion solution in a strategically phased approach," she said. "We're not fi eld-testing right now." Regarding the future of automation in drilling rigs, she noted, "It is exciting to see other compa- nies moving forward in the same direction. There is a lot of momentum that is driving technological development in this area right now." MS Energy will continue as a subsidiary to pro- vide services for other drilling contractors, she explained. As MS Energy completes directional jobs on Patterson-UTI rigs it is now able to import its downhole data into the company's PTEN+ Per- formance Center. "The center utilizes Big Data technology in the way we're able to assemble data from multiple sources and very effi ciently analyze and visualize that data to help us at this stage in research and development," Holst said. Barre emphasized that it "goes beyond the drilling. When you do get that cleaner well, the production side becomes more convenient and more predictable." Beta testing for process automation control Precision Drilling has taken the point of view that many of the processes that a driller performs on a day-to-day basis throughout the construction of a well can be automated, including adding a joint of pipe, moving back into the formation, engaging the rock, directional drilling, power management and optimizing ROP. "There are many things the driller does today that require him to modify or intervene in the actual processes being performed. We can auto- mate a great majority of those processes such that he can focus his attention on the actual construc- tion of the well and the safety and performance of his crew," Cuku said. In its Oct. 27 third-quarter report Kevin Neveu, Precision's president and CEO, said, "During the third quarter we continued to demonstrate the 'next tier' of drilling effi ciency improvement with process automation control (PAC) and other technology initiatives we are implementing in our beta-testing program. "Precision has drilled approximately 70 wells uti- lizing PAC technology, which is currently installed on 20 Super Triple rigs. The results continue to show improved effi ciency, consistency and repeat- ability. Precision along with its partner has made signifi cant strides towards making Precision's PAC a commercial success in 2018," he added. The PAC is basically a controller that sits on top of the main rig control system. "We stan- dardized the interface so we have the ability to write algorithms and applications that run across the platform trying to make those rou- tine," Cuku explained. "One of the challenges in the industry that has really inhibited large-scale automation projects is the uniqueness of each control system. Think of a standard interface for each application or routine you want to install on the drilling rig. It would have to be a custom install, requiring service technicians and programmers on location. However, once we've standardized the interface with a base platform—in Precision's case, NOV's Amphion control system—we can effectively write the application once and push it across the entire fl eet," he continued.

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