Smart drilling instrumentation package includes virtual reality training

Hitec has bolstered its position in the Brazilian market by winning a substantial order for drilling equipment for the six Amethyst rigs under construction by Drillpetro. In the past, the company has supplied loading and offloading systems to Petrobras for production ships and shuttle tankers. In view of the promising prospects for future business as the Brazilian market opens up, it has decided to open a sales ofice in Rio de Janiero.

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Hitec's Drillpetro delivery includes its computerized drilling control system and Cyberbase chairs.


Hitec has bolstered its position in the Brazilian market by winning a substantial order for drilling equipment for the six Amethyst rigs under construction by Drillpetro. In the past, the company has supplied loading and offloading systems to Petrobras for production ships and shuttle tankers.

In view of the promising prospects for future business as the Brazilian market opens up, it has decided to open a sales ofice in Rio de Janiero.

Hitec Drilling's Nkr 65 million order from Drillpetro, which will own the six rigs and lease them to Petrobras, comprises six sets of drillers' cabin, drilling instrumentation, and associated equipment. It is one of the company's biggest orders for this type of equipment, according to project manager Asbjorn Mortensen.

Work on the drilling cabins and other long-lead items got underway soon after the order was placed last April. Delivery will take place from December 1998 to July 1999.

The drillers' cabins each comprise a control cabin and equipment room. The control cabins are each equipped with two Cyberbase chairs and control screens. On the Cyberbase chairs are mounted computerised controls which in conjunction with the screens enable drilling operations to be performed by one or two operators using finger-tip controls and joysticks.

The drilling instrumentation and monitoring system is the most advanced version of Hitec's SDI - smart drilling instrumentation - system, SDI 120. The system uses sensors and PLCs for acquiring, analysing and processing data on a wide range of parameters, including drilling torque, block position and hook load, level of mud in mud pits, and so on. These functions are performed in real time, and the results displayed on the screens using Windows NT computer graphics.

The entire control system is based on a fibre-optic computer network. There is no built-in redundancy but with the use of fibre optics, which offers different routes of communication between the control cabin and the various equipment items, this is not normally necessary, Mortensen says.

For the Drillpetro order additional panels will be added to the display to show information on riser tension, the BOP and dynamic positioning parameters. Fire and gas panels may also be added.

Drillpetro has not specified a completely automated system. Drillpipe handling, for example, will use manually controlled racking arms requiring two people for their operation, while four to five personnel will be needed for tripping operations.

Hitec's delivery also includes a virtual reality training simulator, the third such package the company has supplied.

"This is an attractive feature for clients," Mortensen says. "It means the operator is well trained before actual operations start, and when you're spending lots of money, evan a small improvement in operating efficiency can make a lot of difference."

New software will be developed for the simulator, which will be owned and operated by Hitec. The training centre will be set up at Macae on the Campos Basin coast.

The company currently has a similar order for three Reading & Bates deepwater drillships. Unlike the Drillpetro delivery, which calls for a hydraulic heave compensation system, the R&B order includes an active heave compensated drawworks - Hitec's first delivery of this system. A training package with simulator is also included.

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