Posted 16.10.2017 13:07 by Magnus Tvedt
On drill floor there is a 1 meter radius of stuff that rotates by machine power, and then there is a 10 meter radius area for everything else. Plenty of room for elephants.
Welcome to a modern offshore drilling rig, or an old one.
You get your protective gear on, glasses, coveralls and hardhat, and walk around in zones where we are allowed to walk.
Up the stairs to drill floor, we find ourselves in a discussion on how to proceed with operations. ‘The casing tong must be lifted in with the rig cranes, and then we hang it off a tugger while we shift it to the operational position.’ Five people are on the drill floor for this pre-job meeting, all nod and head off to get on with this routine operation.
Most likely they will get the job done in a safe and sound manner, taking time to stop and clearify any situations that might occur. Events such as new requirements, temporary equipment in the way, or someone forgot what they were supposed to do often throws a little spice on tedious work. We have a good track record of staying safe and keeping calm.
The guy operating the casing tong has been flown out with a helicopter, and operates his machine properly with click of buttons and visual verification of make-up curves from the couplings. All is good, and when the job casing is run, the crew moves the tong back to storage, after a pre-job meeting.
Is there anything worth discussing further this nice story from the life of a rig crew? No-one got hurt, and the operations went according to plan. The que here is routine.
Every time a hole is made with a drill bit, we run casing into the hole to keep it open. 4-5 times per well at least. We apply this routine of pre-job meetings and people handling to every operation we do, and it takes a lot of time. Well, the alternative is to make mistakes, hurt people and damage equipment? Maybe so.
The good thing with this going at a calm pace is that we don’t need much detailed plans. There are people around to solve any event, with managers, engineers, equipment specialists and backup tools.
Who needs a plan, when you have all the talent in the world whirling around the bit 24/7.
The problem is the low oil price. What used to be a business custom is now turning into a inflating animal with four legs and a trumpet; trying to not disturb in board meetings.
The elephant has a banner with two images on it. One is a rectangle, and under the rectangle, there’s written ‘this is not a microchip plant’. The other image is a circle, and below it the text sounds ‘this is not a rocket’. Mr Elephant sounds his horn in discomfort, and those of you who speak elephant, would hear that he said ‘we need digital plans and more specialized machinery to speed things up around here’. He’s right, that wise elephant.
There is a balance in the market today in terms of well technology, plans and rig equipment, and this balance has lasted for decades. But as computer power and machine automation has boosted with Silicon purity and Valley coffee floods, we haven’t taken steps to lift the bar in our industry.
To gain performance and get more bang for the bucks in the drilling and well industry, we must digitalize the plans, make them faster and more complex. Write code for every assumption, and have modern computing power handle uncertainty analysis and what-if preparations. Then, the need for advanced machinery will be obvious, rig owners will cry for performance tools, and the elephant can go chew peanuts in the lobby.
To set Mr Elephant free and have our board rooms back in power, let’s joint the #fightagainstcopypaste, and get more advanced machinery on the drill floors.