Consolidating functions saves drilling dollars

June 1, 2003
Monitoring rig operations is critical to controlling costs and optimizing productivity.

New solutions for drilling management

Judy Maksoud
International Editor

Monitoring rig operations is critical to controlling costs and optimizing productivity. Effective monitoring is also one aspect of drilling opera-tions that can yield significant finan-cial savings.

With improved monitoring as an objective, National Oilwell has developed the Hawk application suite and the Drilling Advisor. The Hawk application integrates three components into a comprehensive service that encompasses the entire drilling operation: WebDriller (which allows data and equipment monitoring), online support, and an onshore decision center. Drilling Advisor is the foundation for allowing the drilling crew to work in a common network with the operator and the service companies.

Runar Tunem, National Oilwell sales manager for drilling control systems, explained that the Hawk system is designed to provide a complete monitoring package. As part of its commitment to provide total system solutions, Tunem says National Oilwell took a broad view of the issue of monitoring and identified three critical components that greatly affect drilling operations management: monitoring equipment, managing data, and controlling operations.

A National Oilwell technician provides online support at the Houston Hawk facility.
Click here to enlarge image


Working with Statoil, Baker Hughes, Schlum- berger, Ensco, Transocean, Diamond Offshore, and GlobalSantaFe, National Oilwell determined the scope of the Hawk system.

"The resulting product is a 'smart system' that is very cost effective in operation," Tunem said. A set-up fee covers the initial cost of implementing the Hawk application suite, and a monthly fee covers regular maintenance.


WebDriller is the online monitoring module. Hawk system's WebDriller monitors drilling data as it becomes available on the rig and provides secure access to the data via the Internet. In effect, this means that in near real-time, personnel with privileged access to system data can evaluate the drilling process and manage operations from a remote location. Tunem called this "data without limits." Tunem explained, "All the drilling parameters available on the rig can safely be distributed anywhere via the Worldwide Web. The remote team can navigate within the system to view drilling data, trend curves, and individual reports, all in real time and without any influence on the ongoing operation."

The many types of data made available through sensors on the drilling equipment can be transmitted to personnel on the rig, onshore, or on another vessel. "In short, this technology increases inter-company knowledge by optimizing the company's expertise and support resources," Tunem said.

Another plus that WebDriller offers is near real-time closed circuit television from the rig to any classified computer or support center.

Online support

The second component of the Hawk suite is online support, which takes the form of 24/7 service and support for all levels of hardware, software, and documentation. Experts on standby answer requests within 30 minutes of the call. National Oilwell has service centers in Norway and the US and is opening a third in Singapore soon.

From these centers, engineers can log on to the rig to isolate and resolve problems when problems cannot be resolved remotely, National Oilwell can send the right person to the site to correct the problem. Troubleshooting and remote service via Hawk minimizes the need for technicians and engineers to travel offshore to work out operations issues. "This reduces downtime and costs," Tunem said.

Onshore decision center

The final component of the Hawk suite is the onshore decision center, which is typically established at the operator's head office. From the decision center, experts guide and support the rig crew during operations. Operators can view all the rig data, reports, and well information. All of the data from the rig can be displayed in screen layouts that can be modified to display parameters selected by the user.

Drilling Advisor

Drilling Advisor consists of one rig network, one database, and customized screens for the geologist, mud logger, mud engineer, directional driller, measuring-while-drilling operator, logging-while-drilling operator, and driller. Drilling Advisor includes real-time information, more accurate depth calculations, mud calculations, and 3D graphic modeling of the drill bit, well, and reservoir.

Localizing one group of people in a single network optimizes efficiency. All of the rig data is available in the same place, and new reports can be configured easily.

Through customized screens, reports, and calculations, users can see only information of interest and can manage the data more easily.

"Drilling Advisor's report system facilitates cost control and rig efficiency," Tunem said.

The product is installed permanently on the rig, which helps keep the rig "clean." Service companies do not need to pull new cables and install new sensors each time they come on board, which translates into time and cost savings, Tunem said.

An onscreen message panel in the Drilling Advisor allows communication among all of the users of the system. This feature allows all users to have direct input on drilling activity.

Another advantage to users is uniformity. "When new vendors come onto the platform, the operator is dealing with new people, new equipment, and new reports," Tunem said.

Statoil, which is using the Drilling Advisor system on its Statfjord B drilling platform, has already relocated mud loggers from the field to an onshore location. Activities that were previously carried out on the rig are now being performed at a lower cost from mud loggers located in Stavanger.

WebDriller and Drilling Advisor in operation

National Oilwell installed its first Drilling Advisor system on Statoil's Statfjord B drilling platform July 26, 2002. In time, Drilling Advisor and WebDriller will be used to monitor the entire Statfjord field.

Bill Chiles, whose company Chiles Offshore recently merged with Ensco International, made the choice to use National Oilwell's service on the new-build ultra-premium class jackups, the Ensco 105 (formerly the Chiles Galileo) and the Ensco 104 (formerly the Chiles Discovery). Chiles called WebDriller "one of the best conduits of the future for transmitting real-time rig data to shore."

Chiles added, "Contractors are getting requests from customers about providing this type of information to reduce rig staffing and the need for engineers and G&G (geologists and geophysicists) people on every rig. This requirement is just beginning to gain momentum. I believe that the contractor should help to lead this effort and become the hub of the wheel for the data collection system whereby all vendors share common connections, sensors, etc."

National Oilwell continues to enhance the Hawk suite and the Drilling Advisor suite as part of ongoing efforts to enable operators and contractors to better control costs and optimize productivity, Tunem said.