Autonomous Directional Drilling | Schlumberger

Autonomous Directional Drilling

The future of drilling wells is here

This tool drills holes

This tool drills holes, but this isn’t a tool—it’s really a key to a gateway created by the people who write the code that drives the hardware that drills the holes—autonomously. It connects thousands of engineers around the world by streaming live, real-time data through a robust and secure network linked by satellites orbiting the planet. Autonomous directional drilling unites all the technology, backed by all the engineering and domain expertise that Schlumberger has amassed for a century. And that is what enables the tool that drills the hole.

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Intelligent Planning
Predictive steering machine-learning model
Data-driven tendency analysis
Automated trajectory design and analysis
Surface Automation
Digital acquisition system
Surface steering automation
Energy management
Downhole Automation
Intelligent Execution
Directional drilling advisor
All steering tools and sizes
Autonomous Directional Drilling

Performance is key

This tool drills wells—regardless of the field, rig, or trajectory, in the most efficient and consistent manner possible. And it does it by focusing on Intelligent planning and execution capabilities, along with surface automation that would complement the powerful suite of downhole automation features that our steering tools have.

Autonomous directional drilling stays right on your trajectory plan because this tool measures the exact strength of the earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields every second, and uses 3D reservoir mapping in real time to helps pinpoint its exact subsurface location, and determine the precise steering responses needed. This enables real-time reservoir characterization, which not only keeps you on track, but it gets you to the sweet spot in the pay zone.

ADD: Introducing the New Now of Well Construction
Raul Suarez, Well Construction Product Manager, Drilling Tools, introduces autonomous directional drilling

The path to full autonomy

Our development centers on six key levels of autonomous capabilities. Levels 0 to 2 consist of trajectory monitoring and projections and downhole singular-automation algorithms such as inclination hold. Level 3 combines multiple support features and unifies them with an 'intelligent' system, supporting analytical decision making with the physical automation of the steering process. Level 4 comprises multidisciplinary well-construction workflows with rig automation. This is where ADD is natively embedded inside the rig automation system. Level 5 uses subsurface formation evaluation data to govern geosteering and place wells in real time. This is a completely autonomous condition and will surpasses operational capabilities we have today.

Autonomous Directional Drilling
The future of how you drill wells—now
Downhole Automation

Drilling with rotary steerable systems requires operating in manual mode, involving a command sequence applied repeatedly to control the curve trajectory and comprises multiple interventions and downlinks from the directional driller at the surface for steering force, toolface (TF) orientation, and measurements. Downlinks to the BHA and tool data fed back to the surface for adjustments in commands are called control-loop time, which can be as much as 20 minutes. And it is the bane of every directional driller’s existence. Until now.

Downhole Automation icon with text underneath

Minimize surface interference and eliminate downlinks

Autonomous directional drilling is the downhole control technology guiding our tools in autonomous well construction, overcoming control-loop time and associated data-to-surface delays when downhole tools detect or encounter programed conditions, and then wait for downlinking corrective instructions. Now, advanced BHA components can assess the data and react at the time and place needed, even when heading into the zone of exclusion (ZOE) or into rugged downhole conditions.

And, we’re not just talking auto-vertical and auto-tangent—we've also achieved auto-curve.

Reduce control latency and enable precision to stay on plan
Decisions and adjustments are made when and where tools encounter the data, which means far better verticals, steeper curves, less tortuous tangents, and way more accurate laterals. This all translates to consistent directional results well after well and better well economics, reduced carbon, and an overall better outcome. And it is the culmination of an autonomous drilling journey we launched more than 18 years ago.

Autonomous Downhole Control System
The brains that drive the brawn
Insights: The Future of Well Construction is Underway
Autonomous directional drilling was introduced, not as a tool, not as a service, but comprising all the technology, engineering, and domain expertise amassed over the last century. Ziad Akkaoui, Digital Drilling Execution Champion, discusses how this impacts the future of well construction.
Read the Interview

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