The Ragnfrid North crew are currently preparing for an exploration well in high-pressure, high-temperature formations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, by drilling their upcoming well in simulator using a digital twin.

The actual drilling of the well will be performed by semi-submersible rig West Phoenix. Ragnfrid North is located in PL199, around 20 kilometres south of the Kristin field in the Norwegian Sea. Statoil owns 52% stake in the Ragnfrid North license and is partnered by Petoro (27%), ExxonMobil (15%) and Total (6%).

The crew are using wəllSim hiDRILL for pre-drilling well 6406/2-9 S, focusing on high-risk sections and likely scenarios, with the objective to avoid hazards and improve drilling performance.  wəllSim hiDRILL provides safe, effective, and efficient well delivery for any planned well by giving crew skills and experience on the specific well.

A Digital Twin is the digital representation of your actual well. Used in preparation it enables you to pre-drill your well. Used in real-time operation enables you to do forward simulations and what-if simulations to detect mismatch and give input to change the drilling plan – to avoid problems, see and detect operational mismatches, and change parameters for optimal drilling (drilling the perfect well).

These are indeed defining times for industry. We sat down with eDrilling’s VP Product Management and Strategy, Morten Svendsen, to hear his views on one of those items often put forward to secure a bright future for us all – namely digitalization.

Digitalization – hot or not?

– Definitely hot. There is a wind of change blowing in the industry, and it has digitalization written all over it. For us in the software world this is just a new name for something we have done all along, but we observe that the general awareness and acknowledgement of the value digitalization brings is at a whole new level among our customers and partners.

Is there a “recipe” for digitalization?

– Not one – the shoe that fits one person pinches another. Some are putting their toes in, and others are doing the cannonball. Although there are variations as to how different companies are approaching it, they all have in common that this is now a board level priority. Indeed, oil and gas CEOs are preaching “digitizing of the industry” as the only way forward.

We can also learn from history. When Hitec, our ancestor if you like, introduced cyber drilling, it was all focused on technology, and too little on people, work processes, and legacy workflows. Today, when we are working together with our next-door neighbour Statoil on “next generation well delivery,” which is one of their digitalization pillars, we have an all-encompassing approach.

Do the industry need «digitalization»?

– Yes, and I speak for the drilling side of things. Whether you call it digitalization or something else, application and intelligent use of real time drilling data, is a game-changer.
Many of the important workflows are still carried out with technologies that are at, or, I think, beyond end-of-life. Training on generic Drilling Simulators was introduced in the early 90s (by Hitec), and improving drilling decision-making by looking at “squiggly lines” in real time operations centers was all the rage as early as the turn of the century. There are huge savings to be made, as well as safety and efficiency gains, by putting these technologies in a museum, and move on.

A couple of years ago we introduced “training on your own well”, revolutionising the impact on safety and efficiency. And, we are currently working with a number of E&P companies with software to help them get value out of their real time centers and roles. A logical next step from that is to work right from the platform, the technology is already here, it’s rather legacy processes, workflows and business models holding back.

We have had ups and downs in this industry since forever – and we often fail to learn, and go back to the old ways as soon as the upswing occurs – will it be different this time?

– Well, we do not know for sure, but from what we see, companies are trying to make their cost reductions be sustainable. There’s no consensus this time around industry outlook or future oil price levels, and this uncertainty leads to focus on balancing cost and profitability in a way we have not seen before.

Digital this and digital that. These are indeed exciting times for the oil and gas industry. It is early days yet in 2018, but there’s growing optimism around. Especially for those involved in digitalisation of the industry. We sat down with eDrilling’s COO, Sven Inge Odegaard, to hear his view on the topics of digital twin and platform.