Halliburton, a global leader in deepwater oil drilling projects, hosted the new media today for a tour of their Edgar Ortiz Real Time Center located high above the city of Houston.
Here’s the center in a nutshell – data from the oil rigs all over the world comes instantly into various display environments where government, geological, engineering and other experts can make accurate, collaborative, efficient and fast decisions about how to continue drilling the well, or “the job” as they call it.
In addition to using real-time data, they also have advanced modeling and simulation so that they can accurately find the “pay zone.”
For example, let’s say they began the horizontal drilling of a well and discovered that instead of being in the sandy environment where the oil is located, they’re in the shale. Using advanced seismic readings, they can quickly change the trajectory of the drill bit using what amounts to point and click technology along the planned drill path.
In other words, imagine the drill path being laid out as a point-to-point line, over-layed on what was thought to be the right geological layering. If it turns out from the new data collected that the previous geological data was inaccurate, all the geologist and data engineers have to do is click on a point on the line, drag it into the right geological layer, and the bit will then travel along that new path.
Why is this cool? Because it can be done shore-side and not out on the rig. This saves on man-hours, ensures as many experts as required are involved in the decision making, doesn’t require any helicopter travel out to the rig, and is extremely efficient.
“When I first started in this business in 1975, we had a success rate of 1 of 9 wells, but, today, that success rate is 7 of 9,” said Charles McFarland, a manager of designing and building technology centers for Halliburton. “I equate this to shooting a three pointer and getting nothing but net – through 8000 feet of water and thousands of other feet of rock.”
We were shown how Halliburton is using 3-D imagery on high definition screens and is monitoring everything from pressure to flow to distance.
McFarland also said that they are looking for ways to implement Wii technology for controlling the drill bit.
“No other industry has a bigger impact on our day-to-day lives than energy,” said McFarland. “And with these collaboration tools, we’re working hard to make each new job better than the last one and improve safety and accuracy.”
Using internet technology, high definition screens, and collecting real time data, they are certainly doing an excellent job of finding the energy sources we need in the most efficient manner.
Halliburton assists on about 3000 “jobs” per month for its customers. Each rig costs about a million dollars per day to operate.
As far as drilling in Virginia?
“It’s like a donut dangling out there…we can’t resist it and we can manage the risk,” said McFarland.
P.S. I visited the “undisclosed location”; the chairs were very comfy.