An Automated Well Control system has been field trialed on a land rig in Aberdeen, a world first, according to the technology's developer Safe Influx.
With funding support from Oil and Gas Technology Center (OGTC), the “drilling module” was implemented and proven in the field on the Weatherford land rig in Aberdeen earlier this month. Interfaced with the 40-year-old traditional land rig, the system was put through a series of tests under different operational requirements, performing automated influx detection, spacing out, stopping of the mud pumps, stopping of the top drive and then shutting-in of the blow out preventer. This has never been achieved previously, Safe Influx said.
Having now proven the technology using real world equipment, Aberdeen-based Safe Influx said it is planning to engage with operators and drilling contractors to perform extended field trials on modern cyber rigs and traditional rigs in operations in the North Sea.
Bryan Atchison, Co-founder and Managing Director at Safe Influx, said, “Our successful field trial demonstrated that automation can provide support to the driller, dramatically reducing our exposure to human factors.
“The technology also provides a significant safety, time and cost advantage on day to day drilling operations, as influxes or kicks can be shut-in more quickly thus resulting in much smaller shut-in volumes and therefore much more manageable well control incidents.
“This technology is a tool for the driller, providing peace of mind for the drilling contractor, operator and regulator.”
A cross section of more than 30 industry VIPs, including operators, drilling contractors and well engineering companies were on hand to witness the demonstrations.
Lloyd’s Register inspectors were also present, enabling the existing Lloyd's Register Technology Qualification Certificate to be extended to traditional land rigs.
Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Center Manager at the OGTC, said, “A key strategic focus of the Wells Solution Center technology roadmap is centered on how automation can bring increased efficiency and reduce HSE exposure during the well delivery processes. The Safe Influx Automated Well Control system has the potential for significant improvement on how high potential risk well control events are detected and responded to.
“Support from the OGTC has accelerated development of the technology (in partnership with Safe Influx and Transocean) with the demonstration at the Weatherford test facility giving us the first opportunity to access the capability of the system. This has provided industry with clear evidence of the potential of the system and will hopefully inspire drilling contractors and operators to engage in further deployment on operational rigs, further demonstrating the capabilities and impact of the system.”