Drilling automation and remote operations are driving advisory systems to provide a safe operating environment, protect the wellbore, and optimize efficiency at the wellsite. These interoperable systems deliver guidance to control systems, for example set points and limits for drilling parameters. The Drilling and Wells Interoperability Standard Industry Group (D-WIS) under the SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) wants to accelerate interoperable system implementation by outlining a compelling value case.

The adoption of drilling operation automation systems is increasing operational efficiency and opening new opportunities to manage drilling with advisory systems. These systems are the focus of efforts in interoperability (i.e., plug-and-play functionality) to remove data communication obstacles and allow the implementation of the next generation of advisory and process control technology. This paper describes the technology focus, status, and impact of the current industry efforts and organizations contributing to interoperable systems regarding the core system components and standardization needs. The value case is made for an interoperability standard suitable for large scale industry deployment.

The current industry state reveals custom-made supplier solutions continuing to expand and evolve with limited applicability due to a bespoke approach. The authors observe and contrast this method with an interoperable system approach to make the value case in terms of easier and faster implementation and scalability, better reliability and access to data, and lower development and operations cost, resulting in a higher overall value. A comparison of the two competing scenarios along with past industry efforts toward standardization clarifies how to best realize the vision of safely and efficiently sharing information and facilitating drilling operations. Collaborative efforts between industry organizations also help address areas of overlap and gaps related to interoperability and creation of a standard. The conclusions outline the minimum requirements of a focused industry effort to deliver an implementation-ready system. System adoption is accelerated by creating deliverables fit for roadmaps and specific collaboration points.

The paper examines the effectiveness of current interoperable system efforts. It describes and demonstrates industry influencing work towards interoperable drilling systems and builds on a collection of industry work beyond Sadlier and Laing 2011, and Macpherson et al. 2013.

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