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RCN/NFR project "AutoConRig"

(RCN - Research Council of Norway, NFR - Norsk Forskningsråd)

The AutoConRig project is a Joint Industry Project with partners:

  • NOV - National Oilwell Varco
  • StatoilHydro
  • Computas AS
  • Det Norske Veritas
  • IRIS - International Research Institue of Stavanger
  • UiS - University of Stavanger
  • UiO - University of Oslo

The project is in accordance to RCN's guidelines for 'BIP' - 'Brukerstyrt Innovasjons Prosjekt' ('User-defined Innovation Project'). In addition to the partners mentioned above, we are working towards getting two more operating companies involved in the project, preferably Total and BP. NOV in Stavanger is formally responsible for the project.

From the project proposal:

Primary and secondary objectives of the project

The primary objective of this project is to analyze, develop and test an autonomous and semi-automated drilling control system for Oil & Gas Drilling in High North areas, where unmanned drilling rigs placed on the sea bottom can be used to eliminate constraints from extreme conditions. The outcome of the main objective will be used to demonstrate an automated tripping sequence where predictive control parameters from an advanced well model is executed by an autonomous control system. The automated tripping sequence takes into account characteristics and constraints in the well, avoiding damaging to the well and at the same time optimizing the tripping sequence.

The secondary objective for the project is to standardize communications protocols for drilling control systems and a framework for advanced software agents, which is a prerequisite to fulfill the integration scope of the primary objective.

Project Rationale

AutoConRig will focus on analyzing, developing and testing a semi autonomous drilling control system. Even if the main objective is exposed on a set of requirements from a subsea drilling rig, the results from the project is directly beneficial for the drilling industry today.

The project proposal is based on using results from a number of other research projects, Drilltronics, eLad, CODIO, IntegratedInformationFacility, seaBedRig and several more. The synergy from research results in related areas will contribute to creating a feasible project from a visionary concept of a drilling facility placed on the sea bed.

The process state of a drilling operation is shared among a number of independent vendors, service providers, disciplines, locations and control systems. A high level of data integration between the systems entities is required for a drilling control system to be autonomous and semi-automated. Such an integration scheme needs to standardized through formal organizations before it will be implemented across the industrial vendors in the drilling industry. The autoConRig project will address the need for two related standards; an OPC UA standard for real-time control parameters, and a semantically annotated XML standard based on WITSML contextual meta data. Both standardization efforts will be made in accordance with ISO-15926 and part of RDS in POSC Caesar Association.

The standardized protocols for drilling systems will enable a foundation for advanced software agents to operate on. A software agent is an active entity pursuing defined goals and a flexible set of plans for reaching the goals. In its decision making process the agent acts on incoming data, deliberates over possibly competing goal, and chooses the most appropriate action plan. The autonomous and semi-automated drilling control system will have several advanced software agents operating on the data in the system, contributing to the process state and escalating the level of autonomy when applicable.

If you have questions regarding this project please contact the project manager: <email>jens.ornaes@…</email>

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