The oil and gas industry is facing numerous challenges today. Not only is the commodity price dependent on market demand and supply conditions, but several other factors, such as natural disasters and most recently, the pandemic of novel corona virus (COVID-19), have negatively impacted the future of the industry and immensely affected the economics of keeping the trade profitable. Most of the industry is still heavily dependent on manual labor, requiring competent personnel to run efficient operations. However, it is incredibly challenging to keep the profits afloat, especially during the global downturn impacted by COVID-19. The industry is also committing to transition towards clean energy while maintaining the highest safety and environmental protection benchmarks. How can this be achieved? How would the industry sustain itself and overcome the current challenges? The short answer is through digital systems transformation and implementation. With progressively more implementation and application of digitization in the oil and gas process and methodology, some of the difficult or undrillable wells are being drilled and completed while meeting the key performance indicators. As a result, productivity and profitability is preserved and accompanied by safer and flawless operational execution.
"The overall benefit of digitalization is duly witnessed when every segment in the oilfield is integrated in a single unified system"
Over the last two decades, Frank’s International has focused heavily on reducing operational costs, maintaining safety standards, mitigating operational risks, and reducing personnel working in the red zone. Founded in 1938, Frank’s International is a global industry leader in highly engineered Well Construction and Well Intervention solutions. With the advancement of digital technologies, Frank’s primary focus is to preserve wellbore integrity and optimize the well construction process of the most complex wells through automation, controls, and reduced human intervention. The overall benefit of digitalization is duly witnessed when every segment in the oilfield is integrated in a single unified system. However, the adaption and engineered solution for such vision should be planned in a phased approach.
In the Well Construction market, Frank’s vision of enabling tiered-based digital system and technology has already produced value-added features and benefits for operators and drilling contractors; therefore, delivering real results for the industry. These digitalized and automated systems provide multiple options to the industry for achieving goals and objectives for each well. Each tier has its own unique advantages and is dependent on customers’ needs. For example, in the tubular running and connection process, Frank’s International offers multiple solutions, where the basic level of digitalization is to facilitate human decision and dispose whether the connection is made correctly. The digital system creates a torque-turn graph for personnel to dispose the connection integrity instead of relying on rig equipment, which is historically equipped with analog system with high margins of error.
The next tiered offering is a self-driven autonomous system called Frank’s iCAM® Connection Analyzed Make-up System, which disposes of the tubular connection based on the inputs from the thread manufacturers. Moreover, the implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence also checks and compares the connection against the millions of historical data sets to ensure and preserve reliability for maintaining connection integrity of the well lifecycle. This is added to a remote display viewer called DISPLAY™, which aids in remotely monitoring and keeping record of every connection run down hole to increase well reliability. With the advancement of science, machine learning, and technology, the iCAM® system also detects connection a nomality to avoid equipment damages and increase operational efficiencies.
As the industry is leaning more towards advanced automation, controls, and safety interlocks, Frank’s top of the line Centri-FI™ consolidated control system offers multiple products and services in the tubular running process to be operated with a unified command and control solution. The brain of the system, a programmable logic controller (PLC), processes each digital signal from multiple equipment and executes an operating command; therefore, harmonizing a flawless execution, resulting in improved safety, decreased personnel exposure in the red zone, and increased productivity.
The most advanced solution by Frank’s is iTONG®, the industry’s first self-controlled intelligent and single-button push tong solution that can evaluate connection disposition by combining with iCAM® Connection Analyzed Make-up System. The most important benefit of this technology is the increased safety of personnel on board with upto 50 percent reduction in connection make up time, and further increased speed when incorporated into the rig’s control system for simultaneous operations.
The potential scope of digitalized systems and implementation of such solutions in the oilfield is immense. However, the industry needs to be exceedingly clear on what level of automation is required based on its application. Finding the right balance to make the service economically viable is the most challenging part. Frank’s International has proven that the integration and implementation of digital technology is possible; however, the automation, self-control, and autonomous solutions should have a purpose– one of mitigating risks involved for personnel on the rig floor, and increasing operational efficiency by reducing the non-productive time, and maximizing asset utilization with minimal operational expenditures.