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The future of drilling systems by Frost & Sullivan

In this article, PIF explores the recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan to learn about the future of drilling systems. Find out more about how technologies such as additive manufacturing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can revolutionise costs and operation within the drilling sector.

Next generation automated drilling systems

"Next-generation automated drilling systems can drastically reduce the time spent on reporting, record keeping, and compliance by integrating technologies such as advanced computing, advanced sensors, and computer vision," said Chirag Rathi, Energy & Environment Consulting Director at Frost & Sullivan. "While robotics will leverage sensors and digital twins, blockchain can aid in parts ordering and logistics. Similarly, additive manufacturing can help create parts, augmented reality (AR) can handle maintenance, and the whole system can be coordinated through cognitive computing."

Intelligent, automated drilling systems demonstrably have a huge impact on the drilling rig count and cost per well drilled as they require fewer on-site workers and boost the efficiency of people still on location. In addition, these systems proactively conduct maintenance to decrease non-productive time (NPT) and critical failures.

The rising relevance of digital

The new upstream methods are expectedly triggering novel business models and altering the value chain. For instance, contractors and service providers are consolidating vertically to expand their offerings to provide proprietary, all-in-one solutions. In due time, legacy rig fleets will be rationalised and integrated across a holistic automation platform, which, in turn, will stoke industry demand for open systems architecture.

"The rising relevance of digitally enabled business models will coincide with the increasing importance of data in influencing procurement decisions. The net result will be a highly transparent and quantifiable value chain," noted Rathi. "The greatest industry impact will be felt when an AI-driven platform that automates procurement across all drilling and support activities emerges as a trusted, secure, third-party application encompassing the entire drilling ecosystem."

The drilling industry’s digital transformation

The drilling industry is clearly in the midst of a digital transformation. Among the numerous big and small industry shifts, the five that stand out are:

  • Data-driven decision making: As actionable data replaces human judgment, Big Data analytics combined with machine learning and other AI techniques will enable smarter automation, streamlined workflows, and optimised supply chains for higher operational efficiencies.
  • Digitally enabled business models: Upstream will move beyond fixed day-rate models as operators peg rates against micro-fluctuations in a range of benchmarks. This will promote data-validated performance over other contracting considerations such as brand or relationship history.
  • Value chain disruptions: Operators are acquiring suppliers to lower costs. Eventually, they may take over drilling responsibilities due to the potential of automation to diminish costs and liability risks.
  • Accelerating pace of innovation: The push for open systems architecture will fuel innovation-based competition.
  • Shifting workforce composition: An ageing workforce will be replaced by digital natives, prompting enthusiastic adoption of digital solutions.

Contact Frost & Sullivan today for a more in-depth insight into their recent analysis of the future of drilling systems today.

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