Remote and automated drill­ing capabilities are nothing new for the oil and gas industry. Its roots can be traced back more than 20 years, but adoption has accelerated with the evolution of digital and machine learning technologies throughout the past decade.

Now, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote operations are playing an increasingly important role in the industry. In this exclusive video interview with E&P Plus, Paul Madero, vice president of drilling services with Baker Hughes, discusses why these technologies are so important in the oil and gas industry today.

He explains that many wells that have been drilled and completed this year very likely would not have been drilled at all without automated capabilities.

This year, Baker Hughes reported a significant increase in its drilling oper­ations, with more than 70% of them utilizing remote capabilities, up from 50% in 2019. Those operations include achieving new execution milestones such as remotely drilling two miles in a 24-hour period.

Recently, Baker Hughes partnered with Equinor to implement the ser­vice company’s advanced integrated operations model on another six rigs, reducing field service personnel on the rigs by 50%.

“What our customers have seen is that through this process these capabil­ities really do drive better outcomes,” Madero said. “So we’re setting records on wells, whether it be from an ROP standpoint or from a wellbore place­ment standpoint.”

While COVID-19 might have accel­erated the adoption of remote and autonomous drilling operations, they are likely here to stay.

“You drill faster wells, and you place them better,” Madero said. “So ulti­mately you’re going to end up with the best production profile.”

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