Richard McConomy

Performance Enhancement Manager, Seadrill

Richard McConomy began working for the company in a contract position 2.5 years ago after completing his MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School, rounding out credentials that also include a BEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

Now a full-time member of the Seadrill team, McConomy is actively working to find better ways to manage data collected from onboard equipment.

Leadership: McConomy jumped into his role by examining the volume of data gathered, who owned the data, and how data were used.

In taking on the challenge of data usage, McConomy demonstrated the value of his new role – a role the company had not realized it needed – and assumed a leadership position in extracting value from real-time data, which is foundational in simplifying decision-making, streamlining operations, improving efficiencies and reducing safety risks for workers onboard Seadrill rigs. 

One of his projects stemmed from his belief that harnessing data to derive demonstrable value had to be approached as a separate exercise from gathering performance data from individual pieces of equipment. He led the effort to secure data from original equipment manufacturers to enable coordinated data management within Seadrill.

Working with The Marsden Group, a technology company based in Houston, McConomy was instrumental in setting up a leading-edge equipment monitoring system. In only a few months, he and his team developed a system that provides insight into operations that dramatically optimizes performance. In addition to measuring equipment wear to enable scheduled maintenance to improve project economics, this system shows how equipment moves, how drivers are operating the equipment, and how similar equipment is performing differently on multiple assets.

The data gathered allow Seadrill to evaluate efficiencies based not only on equipment limitations but on how human operators perform differently. The operational data are being translated into “virtual coaching” using algorithms to identify inefficiencies in human and equipment performance and suggesting modifications that optimize execution. 

Accomplishments: Having great ideas about data analytics is one thing. Building hardware and making things work better in the field is another. McConomy has excelled at both, developing systems that are improving safety in measurable and impactful ways.

Working with a small internal group of subject matter experts, McConomy coordinated with the Marsden team to conceptualize a system that captures a live snapshot of BOP operations, a requirement for Gulf of Mexico operations instituted by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). He and his team stood up the system in April 2019 as a pilot program and in a matter of months delivered millions of dollars in savings through a service that also greatly improves worker safety. Remarkably, McConomy was able to mature this idea from concept to application in only 12 weeks.

The Vision IQ Red Zone Management system next-generation AI-enabled safety technology is another innovation that McConomy has been involved with from conception through collaboration with The Marsden Group. The system monitors the area of the rig floor where heavy drilling equipment operates and risk of injury is highest, providing advanced warning of potential risk of injury to personnel. A pioneering safety system, Vision IQ combines AI, Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and advanced computing technology to enable safer and more efficient operations. LiDAR technology encircles the red zone, dynamically monitoring the area to detect encroachment, while advanced AI technology allows real-time monitoring that can be visualized in 3-D. By creating a holistic view of a potentially dangerous area, the system can pinpoint the exact position of crew members and disable equipment that could cause injury.

McConomy’s stewardship has enabled Seadrill and The Marsden Group to establish new standards for safety, delivering a system the companies are making available to the global drilling industry to promote safety and improve work environment for offshore crews.

Impact: “Everything Richard has undertaken in his role at Seadrill has yielded results that are advancing worker safety, enhancing operational efficiency, and improving economics for the offshore industry,” said Neil Forrest, vice president – Operational Integrity, Seadrill.

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