Erik Gómez
Director General for Mexico and Head of Mexico and Latin America Strategy
View from the Top

AI: Key to Drilling Efficiency

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 17:21

Q: How have industry trends influenced RigNet’s technological development?

A: While we have been focused on remote communications for over two decades, two years ago we started a transition process to bring value to our operations. We began to expand our service portfolio through acquisitions. We started by bringing in a cybersecurity company that could guarantee protection for the increasingly larger volumes of data that our services were generating. Soon after, we bought a company that applied AI machine learning technologies to interpret this data. This was done to help companies drill more efficiently and effectively, while improving health and safety conditions at remote worksites. The truth is that rigs have been producing a lot of data for some time, but a lot of that has been wasted. Our technologies allow for that data to be captured on location and processed into real-time specifications for that particular rig’s crew and back to a realtime operations center onshore to take better advantage of the rig’s capabilities. The most important industry trend that creates demand for these services is the need to maximize efficiency and reduce costs.

Q: What roles do your technologies play in increasing efficiency in drilling operations?

A: For drilling companies, one of the most important aspects is exponential reduction in NPT that our technologies can provide. One of the ways in which our products have reduced NPT is by preventing stuck pipe conditions. We can detect signs of upcoming obstacles in the drill bit’s way using machine learning analysis of data being collected in real time. It can suggest necessary changes in pressure, RPMs or other variables and adapt to unfavorable conditions. We believe these kinds of applications have a tremendous impact for drillers working in offshore fields. We have already seen results in the Brazilian market. For instance, Petrobras was our partner for this data interpretation and in the development of a portfolio, we began to notice the similarities between the Brazilian market and other Latin American oil and gas sectors, such Mexico's. Our Intelie Live platform can also facilitate monitoring of components to make their replacement more efficient and timely, reducing the possibility of equipment failure that generates tons of NPT and the losses that come with it. This remote monitoring can also help drillers comply with regulations. For example, after the DeepwaterHorizon incident, US regulation requires BOP performance to be observed from a remote location. Our products can provide that.

PEMEX is generally interested in the impact these types of tools can have on their operational efficiency. They can reduce the cost of drilling by using our technologies to identify equipment that is bound to malfunction or needs a modification in the drilling process. We can also integrate applications of our technologies to shorten the timeframe for the planning stage of an offshore well by a factor of 10.

Q: How do you convince drillers and operators to invest in new technologies?

A: We have to be clear in communicating the nature of the investments. There tends to be less upfront investment necessary than our potential clients expect because most of the components, such as data-capturing sensors, tend to be already present in the drilling rigs, whether jackups or semisubmersibles. These pieces of hardware are going to be coming from a large variety of suppliers that have their own conventions regarding the structures of the data they generate, assisted sometimes by the presence of brand representatives and technicians in rig crews. It is our job to aggregate and then standardizes all of this data; by plugging all of these sensors into an integrated and streamlined platform that can process data they generate on an equal footing. Only through this process can real-time machine learning algorithms be used to transform data into operational efficiency. We can interface with most equipment in any rig to achieve this integration. We introduce streamlining to current and potential clients: we are not presenting new and complicated technology, but rather simplifying the technological capabilities already present in the rig, and as a result we generate savings.

We integrate these digital transformation capabilities with our cybersecurity services, assuring clients that their data will be safeguarded. It is widely known in the industry that eight out of 10 machine learning projects fail. However, we have a proven track record of cases and projects that have been successful. According to our clients, we have already saved them over US$100 million. All the new data that our applications generate gets immediately integrated into drillers’ well planning methodologies, creating a cycle where each well, whether successful or unsuccessful, contributes to the success of the next well, guaranteeing that the use of our tools will save clients a substantial amount of money.

RigNet delivers software, optimized industry solutions and communications infrastructure. It supports businesses in their digital transformation, maximizing overall financial performance. RigNet is headquartered in Houston, Texas.