Drilling for and extracting oil is a complex and expensive process. Service companies provide equipment, people and technology which must come together seamlessly to drill a well. All of these components operate to a precise plan to reach a target depth and location, and to do so in a manner that is both safe and cost-effective, especially in reducing non-productive time (NPT).
Tessella has helped BP save millions of dollars in avoided downtime and efficiency improvements by harnessing the data collected from its drilling operations.
Through BP Well Advisor (BPWA), which Tessella played a leading role in shaping, BP’s experts have access to clear visualisations of vast quantities of real-time data, allowing them to spot potentially unsafe and costly issues before they happen, and to identify how to continually improve operational processes.
The challenges and opportunities of oil well drilling data
High volumes of diverse data are captured throughout the drilling process by a variety of sensors which transmit data at different intervals and often in different formats. Parameters such as pressure, torque, hook load, weight on bit, mud flow, rate of penetration and RPM are regularly captured and fed back to BP’s rig site operators and engineers.
Understanding this data is particularly valuable, as this allows BP to act to ensure their process operates at peak efficiency and to respond quickly to warning signs. For example, stuck pipe – where the drill, casing or completion string gets physically stuck in the wellbore during tripping (moving the tubular in the wellbore) – can cost $10,000 to $1,000,000 per day in NPT. Naturally, BP is very keen to avoid this happening, not only because of the cost implications but also because of the environmental and safety risks of the intervention needed to resolve it.
Tessella provided a team of business analysts to act as proxies for BP’s subject matter experts, to understand their requirements and specify the systems and software that would best serve them.
Tessella worked closely with BP’s experts to understand not only the potential real-world issues that could occur, but also the information needed to make the wisest operational decisions. We spent time understanding the work processes for drilling operations, the data that is most valuable to engineers and rig site operators, and the best way to present the information to allow them to make timely decisions.
Part of the challenge was to develop and adapt the underlying data aggregation and visualization platform so that it could best meet the needs of BP engineers and rig site operators. Tessella worked closely with all parties to specify new, feasible visualization approaches, and associated data analysis components, in order to ensure the evolving system supported BP’s workflows. BP drew on Tessella’s rich experience of handling and presenting similar data in various industries to guide their thinking.
Shaping the system
Tessella specified detailed requirements, in IT and programming terms, of what information needed to be displayed and in what format, what calculations needed to be performed, and the qualities of the data feeding the displays. The requirements collectively add up to the system features that become key to effective decision-making.
An example of a novel feature is the demarcation of real-time feeds into operational activities, and the further punctuation of data feeds with connection event markers (e.g. to indicate where the drill string is placed into slips to connect a new section of the string). Engineers are able to more readily identify correlations and trends from the data when the visualisations are demarcated by such connections and high-level activities. Analytical components also benefit through the implementation of models that are fine-tuned to the activities being undertaken.
Other examples include progress of cement jobs, pressure test assessments and rate of penetration analysis. In order to improve make-up torque quality assurance, Tessella worked not only with Kongsberg – the supplier of the underlying SiteCom platform – but also with a number of Tubular Running Service Companies to create a bespoke extension to the WITSML data transfer format that accommodates a detailed make-up torque assessment data package.
As well as identifying functional features, Tessella worked to ensure that data management, configuration management and data quality were also addressed and incrementally improved with each new release of the product.
Tessella’s involvement has not been restricted to specifying requirements. Tessella has worked with the platform vendor to ensure that specifications are aligned to their product vision whilst verifying that the final feature set met BP’s requirements. During software development, Tessella continued to work with BP to verify that the system did what it was supposed to. Upon delivery of the software, Tessella has played a key role in confirming acceptance of its features and also in assessing its trial deployment in the field.
Making it meaningful
BPWA handles hundreds of thousands of data points, as well as graphical inputs such as tubular schematics, lithologies and wellbore geometries. Even trained experts can’t immediately spot areas of concern amongst such vast quantities of data. It was therefore important that the displays were clear, concise and focused on presenting key information, both raw and derived, so BP’s experts could quickly assess the situation and take the appropriate action.
For example, when tripping tubulars into or out of a wellbore, analytical components in BPWA identify static friction events, break-overs, pipe stretch, and recoil behaviors. By observing trends in these events, BP’s engineers can predict problems before they occur.
Another key benefit that BPWA promotes is global shared situational awareness. This means that engineers are seeing the same information regardless of where they work. Not only is the data itself robustly replicated between networked databases, Tessella has worked with BP and the platform vendor to ensure replication of data configuration across all servers. This involved a powerful data mapping service that abstracts the variation in service company naming conventions from the data management requirements, and also allows automatic switching of data feeds based on prioritization rules. This service, aligned to BP workflows, has ensured BP Well Advisor is fit for purpose for its client and equips the product for an exciting feature roadmap.
Mark Claxton, Energy Sector Director at Tessella, says: “The BPWA visualisations present important data in a completely clear and comprehensive way, so it’s not overwhelming. This provides advisory information on which BPs engineers can make informed decisions in real time.
It’s a bit like a car dashboard. If you see your temperature is too high or your tire pressure too low, you know you should pull over and do something about it. The BP Well Advisor is obviously far more complex, but the concept of clearly presenting information you may need to act on, via a summary dashboard, is actually pretty similar.”
Mark Mundo, BPWA Program Manager at BP says: “BP has led the industry in the digital oil field through our Field of the Future® technology programme, harnessing data and combining it with our expert knowledge to make better decisions. The BP Well Advisor is one of best examples of real-time data aggregation and visualisation in the industry. We have deployed this technology across a number of challenging wells and it has already saved us an estimated $200 million capital expenditure in reduced non-productive time.”
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