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SwRI supports joint industry program to verify drilling sensors and systems

February 4, 2019 — Southwest Research Institute is helping lead the first phase of a joint industry program (JIP) to verify and validate oil and gas drilling sensor systems. Approved by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) Drilling Engineering Committee (DEC), the Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) of Sensors and Systems in Drilling JIP will develop techniques to classify sensor abilities affecting drilling data and impacting operations, analytics and automation.

“SwRI has significant experience in a number of areas relevant to the development of a set of recommended practices for sensors and systems IV&V used in drilling,” said Maria Araujo, a manager in SwRI’s Intelligent Systems Division who is co-chairing the program. “SwRI has decades of IV&V expertise in analysis, control and automation sensors used in many high technology industries including oil and gas. SwRI will work with drilling industry experts to identify and rank critical sensor systems.”

Some critical drilling equipment and sensors have proven insufficient for specific tasks, particularly as the industry employs more data analytics and automation. Technology is often inadequately calibrated or maintained or is used in applications outside its operational parameters. In addition, data transfer channels and time stamping are susceptible to reliability problems. In Phase 1, the program will classify sensors and systems used throughout the drilling operation to prioritize IV&V standard setting and identify a critical system for a pilot study.

“Formal industry-accepted verification and validation of sensors, equipment and systems will benefit both suppliers and customers,” Araujo said. “Suppliers can verify their products, and customers will have access to validated attributes and capabilities. Suppliers can accelerate market readiness using a standardized test rather than conducting minimal or arbitrary tests for each new installation. Similarly, customers will have faster access to certified sensors and systems. And importantly, poor sensors and systems will not pass evaluations, avoiding safety risks and costly consequences associated with using inferior systems.”

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) is administering the program. Drilling industry expert John de Wardt will co-chair the JIP with Araujo. JIP membership is open to petroleum companies, drilling contractors, service companies and equipment suppliers. International participants are welcome. The initial investment for Phase 1 participation is $10,000, and members will steer JIP activities, review the phase 1 outcome and define future phases and research initiatives.

The Institute is uniquely positioned to support this initiative, with more than 25 years participating in such collaborative programs. The approach allows clients to pool their R&D dollars for precompetitive research, offering a more cost-effective approach to solving problems. JIP participants have full rights to the intellectual property developed during the course of their membership, and the results are planned for release as a Drilling Industry Recommended Practice.

For more information about the JIP, including membership information, please contact Paul Wood.

For additional information, visit Oil & Gas Instrumentation & Control or contact Deb Schmid, (210) 522-2254, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166.