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Statoil to go digital at Mariner

Drill Plan technology developed by Schlumberger and Google algorithms can be 'game-changer' 

Norwegian state oil company Statoil is set to launch a new digital drilling process at its Mariner oilfield in the UK North Sea.

Bjorn Rudshaug, head of wells and drilling in the company's technology and drilling division, told Upstream that as early as this autumn, Statoil will take advantage of Schlumberger’s new digital Drill Plan technology and Google’s advanced algorithms at the heavy oil field.

“I am not sure I can call it a revolution in drilling, but it can certainly become a game changer within well planning,” Rudshaug said of Schlumberger’s Drill Plan.

Statoil believes digitalisation and artificial intelligence will become game changers for the oil and gas industry, which is spending billions of dollars on the possibilities being opened up in this arena by high-tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Tesla. 

Schlumberger is unwilling to reveal details about its Drill Plan product before a planned launch at the SIS Forum in Paris in September.

However, Upstream has learned that the system automates planning of the drilling process with the use of digitalisation. 

Offshore data is collected in real time and fed directly into a digital drilling programme that enables optimal automated drilling.

Using Google cloud storage and algorithms, the collected data is added to Schlumberger’s data from wells all over the world, allowing an optimal well to be drilled for a specific oilfield. 

Drill Plan is not yet a commercial product — its use at Mariner is described as a field test and comes as Statoil is preparing to broaden its use of digital tools. 

Rudshaug said Statoil is already using a form of automated drilling developed by Norwegian players Sekal and MHWirth on the semi-submersible rig Songa Enabler, which is carrying out exploration activities in Norway's Barents Sea waters. 

“At the heart of this system is (the ability to) create a digital twin of a well which is drilled in parallel with the real well. This (virtual) twin provides valuable information for the real well,” he said. 

While this drilling process is not totally automated, Statoil believes it is an important stepping stone towards fully autonomous drilling operations, according to Rudshaug. 

Schlumberger responds to claims in 'Statoil to go digital at Mariner'

In a response to this article, Schlumberger said: "The Well Construction solution referred to in the article was developed by Schlumberger and not by Schlumberger and Google. The description of the product functionality is incorrect, and Schlumberger states that full details will be revealed when the product is launched at the SIS Global Forum in Paris this September."

The program automates the well planning process by collecting data in real time and sends it straight into a digital drilling program. Software is developed by Schlumberger and the data is stored in the Google cloud, a well-placed source repeated to Upstream following Schlumberger's dismissal of the initial claims in the article.