The oil and gas industry is on the precipice of an upcycle, with all indications pointing toward a demand-led recovery toward the end of 2022. This will require new wells to be drilled and brought online, but climate change concerns and an increased focus on capital discipline are driving a change in how the industry drills its wells. Today, operators are looking for opportunities to improve their drilling performance, predictability and consistency to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability benefits, and autonomous directional drilling (ADD) solutions can help the industry achieve these objectives.
For several years, Schlumberger has been working toward the goal of a fully autonomous drilling system. The company’s autonomous vision is built upon four pillars that include intelligent planning, intelligent execution, surface automation and downhole automation. While each pillar is key to the ultimate vision of realizing a fully autonomous drilling system, downhole automation is essential because it drives steering adjustments as conditions are encountered, representing a significant step change for the industry to steer autonomously through any section of the wellbore.
Today, downhole automation is enhancing the driller’s control of traditional rotary steerable systems (RSSs) and newer at-bit steerable systems (ABSSs), which bring the cutting structure and the steering system closer together.