August 2023

The last barrel

Digital collaboration
Craig Fleming / World Oil

Although the digital transformation initiative was launched prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the drive to adapt and implement new technology to increase efficiency and reduce costs was accelerated by the pandemic and the drive to lower carbon emissions. The combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the industrial internet of things is enabling remote operations and automation capabilities, leading to greater adoption and proliferation of intelligent oilfield operations.  

The ultimate goal is to implement new systems and AI technologies to optimize performance and increase safety, while mitigating environmental impact. The digital transformation initiative has gained significant momentum over the last year, and traditional oilfield service companies are now collaborating with advanced automation and software providers to drive their projects to successful conclusions. 

In a World Oil article published in March 2023, SLB’s Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Dr. Katharina Beumelburg, outlined three key initiatives that will drive the industry’s progress, as we pursue a successful and balanced energy transition: 1) digital technology; 2) cross-disciplinary collaboration; and 3) energy industry leadership. 

“One of the biggest misconceptions I hear is that technology is still years away from contributing to a meaningful reduction in oil and gas emissions,” said Beumelburg. “Within our industry today, new digital capabilities are driving competition, increasing productivity and innovation and leading to reduced carbon emissions,” Fig. 1. With the size and scope of the energy transition, meaningful solutions won’t be found in silos. The future of our industry lies in collaboration—not just within energy, where taking a new perspective on how we work together can accelerate the decarbonization of our operations—but in partnerships with other industries that can improve the speed to innovation,” Beumelburg stressed.     

Fig. 1. SLB’s Delfi digital platform is a collaborative technology that unites the E&P lifecycle in the cloud. The platform efficiently connects people, data and software applications across exploration, development, drilling and production operations.

Collaborating to optimize FPSO performance. SLB is working with Rockwell Automation, Sensia and Cognite to accelerate the performance evolution of floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels. The collaboration, which was announced at OTC in May, is designed to improve FPSO performance by optimizing production throughput, ensuring equipment uptime and reducing carbon footprint. To achieve these goals, the companies have established an open collaboration and digitalization initiative as key drivers of FPSO performance evolution.  

This unique combination brings together expertise in automation, digital technologies, asset performance management and production experience. The coalition aims to integrate digital solutions early and throughout the FPSO life cycle to enhance efficiency, safety and sustainability, enabling comprehensive application within a flexible, expandable architecture. The open FPSO coalition is a catalyst to launch and sustain accelerated FPSO performance evolution.  

In September, World Oil will publish a technical article by Matt Mohajer, SLB, and Greg Trostel, Rockwell Automation, outlining specific details about how this collaborative initiative can produce exceptional value for operating companies.  

Reducing carbon tax/fines. TechnipFMC and Kuva Systems are working together to leverage production facility and methane event data to maximize production while reducing emissions with TechnipFMC’s e-Mission suite. During a World Oil webcast on Aug. 9, TechnipFMC’s SVP, Laura Schilling, revealed that the U.S. EPA is flying carbon-sniffing drones over the Permian basin and issuing stiff fines to companies that operate production facilities exceeding set limits.  

During the broadcast, Ms. Schilling and Stefan Bokaemper, CEO of  Kuva Systems, explained how companies are collaborating in utilizing the e-Mission suite to reduce the “tax bill” by producing a configure-to-order composable digital twin solution that consists of four applications: thermal, methane, tank, and VRU. These offerings provide actionable operational insights to reduce flaring and methane emissions while improving asset integrity for production facility equipment. Kuva System’s camera technology captures data to identify methane emission events that aid in determining potential root causes that will ultimately help achieve net zero goals.  

Integrating AI and rig automation. Corva and Nabors Industries announced a strategic technology partnership to provide a first-of-its-kind digital and automation offering to the global drilling industry. The collaboration will integrate Corva’s innovative App Store and Dev Center with Nabors’ SmartROS universal drilling rig controls and automation system to deliver solutions that rapidly scale process and machine automation, enhance remote project oversight and streamline data exchange and collaboration across any AC rig fleet. 

The partnership aims to reduce redundant digital solutions and rig control systems used to run automated well programs. It is also intended to improve the ability to manage communication between office, cloud and edge solutions. Together, the two companies plan to simplify the execution of automation on any AC rig. The combination of technologies will enable operators to design custom apps and deploy them across their rig fleet, regardless of the rig provider. In turn, drilling contractors can generate new revenues while bringing added value to their customers and crews. 

Using SmartROS, Corva extends rig control and real-time data pipelines from the wellsite to operating companies’ back office and mobile devices, enabling customers to drill safer and more effectively. Equipped with Nabors Smart Suite of drilling automation products, RigCLOUD Edge infrastructure and Corva Apps and Dev Center, this integration empowers onsite and remote users to interact, analyze and collaborate in powerful new ways. The partnership effectively bridges the gap between edge and cloud solutions while improving ROI for end-users, with no disruption to current workflows creating a best-in-class situation for office workers and drillers working in the field.  

You can listen to a World Oil webcast on Sept. 9, featuring Corva V.P. for Research and Development Curtis Cheatham and Nabors Industries Senior Product Development Manager Tatiana Borges, to learn more about the benefits of the collaboration.  

Automation enhances rig capabilities. Halliburton and Nabors Industries are collaborating to blend Halliburton’s well construction digital surface and subsurface drilling technologies and their autonomous drilling platform with Nabors’ SmartROS universal rig controls and automation platform and a high-performance digital infrastructure platform. The companies’ technologies automate well construction services from planning to execution across subsurface and surface equipment and environments. The collaboration will make it easier for operators and rig contractors to deploy automation solutions that enhance rig capabilities, lower well construction costs and reduce operational risks. 

World-class scientists and exceptional managerial expertise/risk management. Our industry has been defined by overcoming seemingly insurmountable engineering and operational challenges. The immense challenge of drilling in deep water was solved, utilizing floating drillships with GPS navigation and positioning systems in combination with FPSOs. When oil was getting scarce, we launched the shale revolution, utilizing miraculous extended-reach horizontal drilling and high-tech, staged fracing techniques. 

Reducing carbon emissions and moving closer to net zero is another major challenge. But as demonstrated by an unprecedented list of remarkable technological achievements, and recent collaborative efforts, it’s clear our industry is making significant progress solving global energy issues without compromising energy security.  

About the Authors
Craig Fleming
World Oil
Craig Fleming
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