In November we gathered for our annual seminar. Experts from industry, academia, and authorities came to discuss new research and relevant issues within digitalization, automation and autonomous drilling. In the picture: Tron Golder Kristiansen, DigiWells’ board chair from Aker BP and Erlend Vefring.

At the seminar industry, researchers and regulatory authorities came to share their knowledge. Arvid Østhus from the Norwegian Offshore Directorate talked about Value creation at the Norwegian Continental shelf, Antonin Baume talked about digital transformation within Total Energies, and Tron Golder Kristiansen from AkerBP talked about Experiences from Drill Well on the Simulator ConceptProject. DigiWells researchers presented some of their latest research, within subjects such as, well planning, geosteering, drilling interoperability and automation.

The taxonomy of Autonomous drilling One of the topics of the seminar were the different perceptions of what autonomous drilling is, and the need for a common understanding.

– At Equinor we talk about different levels of automation and autonomy, where every level requires less operator control. We use the same classification as the automotive industry. There is quite a big step to reach the highest level – full autonomous drilling. There are technical, organizational and regulatory hurdles to overcome before we get there, said Erlend Wersland from Equinor.

Chief scientist Eric Cayeux and senior researcher Rodica Mihai in DigiWells have written a paper on how one can define autonomous drilling – the taxonomy for autonomous drilling. The paper is written together with industry experts John de Wardt, John Macpherson, Pradeep Annaiyappa and Dimitrios Pirovolou.

– Many factors collectively decide if a system is autonomous, for example, if it makes decisions and implements decisions, how uncertain and complex the system in which the system operates is, if it learns from experience and if it manages risk to achieve its goal. Independence is a crucial factor. An autonomous system can interact with other agents, but it decides independently whether or how it will use external advises, explained Eric.

The collaborative paper de Wardt, J. P., Cayeux, E., Mihai, R., Macpherson, J., Annaiyappa, P., and D. Pirovolou. "Taxonomy Describing Levels of Autonomous Drilling Systems: Incorporating Complexity, Uncertainty, Sparse Data, With Human Interaction."(SPE217754-MS) will be presented at the Drilling Conference in March 2024.

Antonin Baume Antonin Baume from TotalEnergies

Eric Cayeux Chief Scientist at NORCE and Harald Nevøy from ConocoPhilips From the left: Eric Cayeux Chief Scientist at NORCE and Harald Nevøy from ConocoPhilips.

Ivar Kjøsnes and Erlend Wersland From the left: Ivar Kjøsnes and Erlend Wersland from Equinor.

Rodica Mihai Rodica Mihai, senior researcher at DigiWells.