Historically, NORCE?s full-scale test rig, Ullrigg, located in Stavanger, has been an important facility both nationally and internationally for development and qualification of new technology and new drilling methods. With OpenLab Drilling, NORCE and the University of Stavanger have established a unique research infrastructure utilizing powerful data resources for development and testing of future drilling and well technology. OpenLab employs the worlds most advanced simulation models to replicate the physical processes during drilling and well operations, and is available on the web.
Technology development for drilling and well has been dominated by improved machine control and mechanization of operations at the drill floor. Today, there is a change towards more data driven operations where the condition of the well and the quality of the drilling process itself is taken more into consideration (Drilling Automation). This is to secure more cost efficient and safer drilling operations and to reduce the CO2 emissions. This change requires new technology and new work processes which exploit data from the rig and the well, often in real time, to monitor and control the process. Such technology requires testing in realistic environments and as early as possible in the development phase. This is important to secure that the end product is of good quality and to reduce the time from idea to product.
OpenLab Drilling is particularly important for research communities working on improvement of methods and technology for safer and more cost efficient drilling and well operations. OpenLab offers realistic simulated scenarios necessary to develop new technology and to practice on critical incidents, and to study changes in organization and work processes when new technology is implemented.
OpenLab Drilling was opened in 2019, but the web -enabled drilling simulator has been available since 2017 through a development phase in collaboration with several Norwegian universities.
The purpose of this application is to build OpenLab Drilling, an independent and open facility for research and innovation within drilling and well operations. OpenLab Drilling will be located at IRIS in Stavanger, but vital parts of the facility will be accessible from remote locations through a web portal. OpenLab Drilling will build on the IRIS E-Center Laboratory for Automated Drilling -ELAD, and will be linked to the full scale test facility at Ullrigg. When combining these two facilities into one research infrastructure, a unique research facility will be made available both nationally and internationally to the academia and to the industry.
OpenLab Drilling complements and enhances both Ullrigg's and ELAD's activities towards research and innovation. Ullrigg is currently one of 50 research infrastructures on the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure and was granted funding by the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure in 2010. ELAD was established in 2006 and has been widely used by Norwegian research communities and innovation companies working with automated drilling.
Today, drilling and well operations are performed with a large degree of human interpretation of data and operated by manual control. Operational procedures are to a large extent based on best practices and rules of thumb. In the future, new technology and new drilling methods will be based on increased level of automation and enhanced instrumentation. Relevant questions are then: What impact will a certain technology or method have on the people involved? How will a certain technology or method perform in a given situation? Given a new technology or method which implies changes in roles and responsibilities, how will the new organization react on a critical incidents?
OpenLab Drilling will be an independent and open laboratory for development, testing and validation of new technology and studies on work procedures and thereby contribute to answer these questions.