Being able to automate the Directional Drilling (DD) process has significant sustainability effects on the well construction through remote operations and also increased efficiency on the usage of drilling rigs.

In this paper, we will present our advancement on autonomous directional drilling highlighting recent achievements in delivering autonomous sections in numerous fields around the world.

Achieving this fully autonomous mode with rotary steerable system (RSS) applications is not a small feat. It requires state estimation algorithms that can fuse all available downhole measurements to precisely predict the location of the bit at all times. These outputs can further estimate the steering capacity while the bottomhole assembly (BHA) navigates through different formation layers to include a surface deviation controller, which will actively monitor any unexpected deviations and will take the appropriate course of actions to rectify the situation. The state estimation is then fed into a surface automation algorithm that will automatically perform the necessary downlinks and engage suitable downhole control modes inside the RSS tool.

Our autonomous directional drilling system is being utilized and field tested across numerous locations. The system derives the steering recommendations and automatically sends downlinks via the on-target well delivery solution system. This system provides the flexibility for our customers to better design their wellsite footprint accommodating traditional crew models or the ability to operate completely remote. It has been deployed in many countries and with different complexity of directional drilling BHAs. For RSS applications, the solution utilizes both surface and downhole technologies, that creates a symbiosis between the downhole close-loop control and the surface close-loop control for directional drilling.

A novel autonomous directional drilling solution is described here. This intelligent system can automatically derive and execute directional drilling decisions while augmenting the technical personnel’s insights into the drilling process whether they are still on the wellsite or in a remote operation center.

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