Introducing predictivity into offshore drilling operations

By Cameron Wallace on 2/4/2020

FLORENCE, ITALY - Integrating people, processes, and technologies is a complex challenge in modern offshore drilling operations. From an operator’s standpoint, finding a baseline of reliability and certainty to minimize rig downtime is the primary goal.

“The concept of non-productive downtime on an offshore rig comes in many different forms,” said Chuck Chauviere, vice president of subsea drilling systems at Baker Hughes. “Unplanned events and planned events actually carry the same gravity. Unplanned events are embarrassing, and planned events are seen as opportunities to improve productivity, but either way, they both represent time [the operator] could have spent differently.”

“So then the question is, can you apply the same tools to manage both, and we are seeing some information that says that you can.”

Speaking at the Baker Hughes Annual Meeting in Florence, Italy, Chauviere said “Planned time, for maintenance or other prescriptive acts, from a drilling contractor standpoint, are typically borne by the operator. Unplanned time, however, goes to the drilling contractor. But now, we are starting to see those lines blur a little bit. Now that everyone is so vested in these operations, driving out both planned maintenance and unplanned downtime” have become linked.

One of the products that Baker Hughes is developing to help better understand and mitigate downtime is called Sealytics. The unplanned and planned activities on a drilling rig revolve around availability of the subsea drilling system. “Sealytics connects to the subsea drilling control system, and effectively provides the fidelity required to begin to build and connect to the maintenance programs that the OEM prescribes, and the equipment owner provides,” Chauviere said.

The result is a detailed accounting of the system’s condition, and what is being done to the system, establishing a chain of care, custody and control. “Once you have that, this is where you can start to apply simple things, like cycle counts. We can monitor cycles, and where in the drilling system the cycles are occurring. Then, you can start to integrate that with the engineering disciplines of mean time to failure, to begin to improve the performance of the equipment,” Chauviere said.  “Prior to this, we just had time-based prescriptions.”

The visibility provided by Sealytics allows maintenance requirements that occur from operational results to be integrated into future planned system downtimes.

“This also connects to the maintenance protocols, so that when attention shifts from the unplanned to the planned, you now have some data that says ‘at the rate you’re using this, at the next planned cycle, you ought to consider doing these things as well. Now we can go beyond cycle counts, and start to challenge some of the assumptions we made, and apply actual information to an inter-related loop,” Chauviere said. “For example, if I do this here, how will it affect that component there, will it drive any benefit? That’s what we’re starting to do with this Sealytics package.”

“Sealytics is an edge device, that is connected to the BOP control system and can access a number of direct sensors, but also has access to a number of indirect sensors for pressure, temperature, time. Sealytics uses that data to say ‘when you tell the system to do this one thing, another chain of events occurs.’ It is then that we can utilize our subject matter experts to understand the picture that the system is creating, a multifaceted data set.”

“That data can then be sent onshore, to be put into a broader data lake, so we can get a richer data experience to then make a broader assessment of a fleet of equipment that is similar, so we can then begin to develop a much more rich dataset.”

Ultimately, Sealytics utilizes this deep pool of data to create a unique system of care, custody and control, for the specific drilling system, driving down both planned and unplanned downtime to make the most of drilling operations.

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