Jim Oberkircher with IADD is quoted in this JPT article, click at the bottom to read the entire article.

Humans Wanted

Drilling rig reality, though, is too messy, imprecise, and prone to conflicting human agendas to turn control over to a logic-based computing machine.

“Well plans change. Data inputs get disconnected. Operator priorities are not always enumerated,” the paper on directional advisors said, adding, “Software operation is much easier when the people responsible for drilling the well are also responsible for providing the input to the software.”

The value of technology will depend on the system used to manage the work. No matter how things change, a human is required to get the credit or take the blame.

“Someone has to be responsible for wellbore positioning. That is something people are forgetting about (when changing the workflow). Someone needs to be responsible for running the operation and the results,” Wylie said.

“In terms of business, we are trying to promote the idea that it is not a threat of your jobs,” Wylie said. Directional drillers will find their jobs easier if they can anticipate problems, help react to changed plans, detect dubious data, and see patterns that suggest there is a better way to do it.

For a driller, the focus is simply on the task at hand, not keeping the well on the correct trajectory, because there are so many other details to tend to. “The driller operates the drilling equipment and manages the crew. He has his own role. It is a huge responsibility,” de Wardt said.;

Over time, they may be focusing more on measures of well quality. While completion and production engineers experience the problems and lost production caused by issues such as sharp bends in the well tortuosity or porpoising (rising and falling paths), there are no industrywide key performance indicators (KPIs).

That is something de Wardt would like to change by organizing a group to develop industry KPIs.

“I think people defaulted to drilling fast. It is a simple measure that gets production earlier and reduced well costs because day rates are involved,” de Wardt said. “We have to have KPIs for well construction related to the longevity of the well.”