Enhanced Well Integrity: Enabling Digitalization & AI in Tubular Connections

Well integrity in the drilling industry is the engineered solution for management and prevention of uncontrollable formation fluids throughout the well’s life cycle. Management of well integrity involves several processes, each of which plays a vital role in establishing whether the well is profitable.

Some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of well integrity management include enhanced barrier assurance, improved economics, and optimized drilling performance. These KPIs, coupled with the development and reinforcement of industry standards, enhance quality assurance and reliability. The industry has a variety of standards for protecting well integrity, however digital implementation of drilling methods and technologies are still evolving. Over the last two decades of digital systems integration, operators and drilling contractors have recorded numerous case studies and performance results, showing that casing and tubular connections once deemed “undrillable” and impossible are indeed drillable and possible.

This article provides a deep dive into Frank’s International’s award-winning iCAM® Connection Analyzed Make-up System, the industry’s first connection analysis system that applies machine learning and artificial intelligence to verify tubular connections safely and reliably at every connection joint in the tubular running process.

CHALLENGES IN CONNECTION INTEGRITY

Historically, tubulars and casing operations are labor intensive, requiring extensive human involvement and personnel commitment. Due to this, industry standards compliance, field personnel training and competency, field operational procedures, and risk management are critical. The error margin increases if any well integrity management parameters are overlooked. One small miscalculation or human error can cause operational inefficiencies and lead to a catastrophic incident resulting in financial loss and potentially even fatality, in severe cases. The industry’s fundamental goal is meeting the challenge to drill and run tubulars faster, more reliably, and in a safer manner.

OPTIMIZING CONNECTION INTEGRITY

To address these challenges, the petroleum industry leveraged digitalization in engineering and technology to adapt and implement digital solutions through intelligent systems and controls. Integration of digital technologies in tubular running services has resulted in remarkable safety performance for service companies. Additionally, digitalization can increase the reliability of the connection integrity during casing and tubular runs. This enhances profitability and operational performance, and extends the production life of wells.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are not novel — at least in theory. Data science and analytics have been pivotal in gaining insights and knowledge for precise and well-informed decision making across various industries. The complex algorithms and computational controls in these systems deliver analytical and predictive evaluation to achieve or exceed targets. Expanded further, advancement of digitalization technology has created new horizons for global industrial implementation. The benefits of machine learning in the oil and gas industry from this emerging technology is a paradigm shift in today’s environment. The future of drilling will rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning, where the engineered algorithms are applied to each tubular connection.

At the forefront of the digital evolution is the iCAM® Connection Analyzed Make-Up System offered by Frank’s International. The iCAM® system is the industry’s first connection makeup solution customized to unique rig requirements with truly implemented digital solutions. The development, enhancement, experience, and implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithm, enables tubular connections based not solely on engineering design standards set by tubular connection manufacturers, but also on the trained and machine-learned process from previous run history. Moreover, any anomaly found during connection makeup is detected in real-time.

The system enhances safety by keeping personnel out of the “red zone” and improves operational efficiency, which extends well life and increases profitability. The risk of human error with the iCAM® system is reduced.

Results gathered during multiple years of operational runs through digital enhancement are highlighted below:

• 24% rig time savings due to automation and operational productivity

• 70% safety improvement with reduction of personnel in the red zone

• 44% reduction in personnel on board with use of remote and intelligent systems

Another benefit of this intelligent connection make-up solution is the data capturing of all disposed connection. Factors for threads acceptance and rejection will not only verify and validate engineering design, but can further provide design enhancement, resulting in optimized connection integrity. Cleaner validated data will further eliminate deviations in the decision-making process.

With the iCAM® system, millions of data sets are analyzed to allow for accurate decision-making without risking the overall system integrity. Recommendations and guidelines from the system reduce non-productive time and equipment failures.

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