To Find Oil, You Have to Drill
Part 4

Date: 06/23/2011

Optimizing the Workflow—From Technology to People

Optimizing the drilling workflow is a complex and multidimensional challenge. It begins with a commitment to research and development, which must be approached in an integrated multidisciplinary manner because the technical solutions span an entire spectrum of scientific disciplines. Indeed, experience has already shown that testing drilling concepts in the laboratory with computer simulation or through the use of scale models can dramatically reduce technology development times.

Acquiring the superpowers

But integrating the drilling workflow also demands access to all the technologies of the drilling system—the bottomhole assembly, drilling fluid, drillstring, and surface equipment. In 2010, Schlumberger gained this access through the merger with Smith International, the acquisition of Geoservices, and the joint-venture agreement with National Oilwell Varco for wired drillpipe technology development. Each company is a clear leader in its own field.

Integration on the brink

However, one further step to complete integration is required—the combination of technology with people and process. Over the past five years, Schlumberger has developed Operation Support Centers around the world. From initial applications in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the OSC network has evolved to an industrialized and global deployment of more than 30 centers that provide 24/7 performance assurance for drilling operations worldwide—both on land and offshore.

Specialists are key in learning

The centers are staffed by specialists from a range of technical disciplines, and their remote support has made possible sustained reductions in nonproductive drilling time. The same specialists mentor less-experienced crews on the job and improve operational visibility to accelerate organizational learning. As a result, recurring patterns of workflow and technology issues are identified and addressed through local training, regional guidelines, and global standards.

Looking for a challenge

As more complex and difficult-to-reach reservoirs are developed, the Operation Support Centers also optimize technical expertise for performing higher value real-time workflows, such as drilling optimization, well placement, and drilling geomechanics. With the industry facing increasingly greater drilling challenges, the centers provide the operational platform required to manage performance—particularly in the high-cost deepwater environment.

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Optimizing the Workflow—From Technology to People
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