Technology: Dressed to Drill

New cyber chairs, like this one from an advanced AC rig, collect data from thousands of sensors from the harshest, dirtiest and greasiest areas of the rig. This level of control makes today's rigs the fastest and most efficient they've ever been.


The technological advantages in the drilling industry have increased from the days of a driller watching a weight indicator and squeaking the break handle to get the right weight on bit. The driller’s watchful eye was replaced with an auto-driller, which is still in use today on some rigs.

Other rigs, however, have introduced extra sensors and a little additional logic to their systems. The rigs can be armed with a fully computerized drilling control system that allows the driller to manipulate the top drive speed, pump speeds, pressures, weight on bit, upper and lower limits of the blocks, and pretty much any other parameter you can imagine.

Where there is a sensor there is a way of controlling something. And in partnership with our customers, we as an industry have developed faster ways to drill wells using input and output parameters from sensors. With each passing year, sensors become more robust and are introduced into the harshest, dirtiest, greasiest areas of the rigs.

Sensors within the mud system have created a control system that allows the mud motors to turn and torque their way through the rock faster when coupled with superior bit technologies. We pump harder, faster, and with greater accuracy pushing the limits of geological penetration with greater ease. When the system is dialed in, after years of trial and error, the well programs can be written for the greatest efficiency by the engineers that hypothesized about the changes years before.

Sensors within the top drive and drawworks allow for effortless control of torque and weight. This means the bit can be turned at any rate, with as little or as much torque as needed. The blocks are stopped prior tpo crown outs and crashing into the floor, the sensors on the sheaves, shafts, and drill line are input into a computer which can be programmed to hold any parameter constant or converted into a speed.

So what does this all mean? It means we are a faster and more efficient drilling machine. Whether you are running a mechanical double or an electric triple we have created a way of competing for a resource that is necessary to fuel the world. In a basin that is classed as one of the higher cost basins to work in, we have strived for efficiency to reduce the overall drilling costs so our oil and gas can be sold to market.

The drilling industry lags behind the automotive or aeronautical industries in technology, but we are ahead of the pipeline industry just far enough that we know we can drill any capacity need to fill a pipeline and get it to market. Whether it is Lelu Island, Transmountain, Energy East, Keystone, or any others, we are capable of filling each and every one with greater efficiency than any other country on the planet. We are sparsely populated and during good times we have a shortage of skilled workers. We replaced some of that knowledge with electronic fail safes that allow us to out-compete any other jurisdiction in the world.

With cyber chair controls and joysticks controlling machinery we are prepared to fulfill the next requirements using sensors, computers, logarithms, analytics, and the kitchen sink if necessary. Now, lets get to drilling!