Innovation Awards finalists 2018: Baker Hughes and Sekal

Baker Hughes, a GE Company and Sekal are the two last companies to be nominated for the ONS 2018 Innovation Awards. We congratulate Baker Hughes with their second nomination, this time for “Digital Inventory”, a new service model for oil and gas site maintenance. Sekal is nominated in the “small and medium enterprises” (SME) category for “DrillTronics” automation software, connecting a well digital twin into the drilling machinery.

Baker Hughes, a GE Company introducing: Digital Inventory

“Digital Inventory” is a new service model for oil and gas site maintenance developed and introduced by Baker Hughes, a GE Company (BHGE). The model answers end users’ need of inventory cost reduction, operations optimization, and efficiency enhancement; it does that by overcoming the traditional paradigm of spare parts storage to guarantee availability.

Digital Inventory reduces equipment lifecycle costs by combining digital and physical assets. Physical inventory is transformed into a digital library of 3D models of parts, that can be readily fabricated in a facility localized near point of use.

Additive Manufacturing is the enabler of this service model, as it allows fabrication of tailored components of virtually any shape, it is viable for single piece flow production with short lead times and it is efficient in terms of material and energy consumption. 3D printer footprint is smaller compared to traditional manufacturing equipment, thereby simplifying manufacturing capabilities localization. However, additive manufacturing processes require strong know-how in terms of materials and design, which BHGE has been developing for more than ten years. Thus, the service model is conceived with the necessary manufacturing equipment installed at dedicated BHGE hubs, near end user locations.

Digital Inventory is innovative in many ways:
– from a technological standpoint, the Digital Inventory aims at redesigning the supply chain leaning on additive manufacturing technology capabilities
– from a commercial standpoint, the model’s adoption is facilitated by being a solution to real issues, for which customers don’t have any other viable option (i.e. obsolete parts)
– from a service model standpoint Digital Inventory breaks the paradigm of storing a significant amount of spare parts without compromising the operational continuity of the plant. This, in turn, is directly translated into financial benefits for the customers.

The impact of a solution is directly related to its quality and its level of acceptance. While the quality of the solutions proposed through additive manufacturing is already above required standards, the acceptance level from the customer still needs improvement. While metal additive manufacturing has reached the highest level of acceptability in markets requiring high levels of tailored solutions, e.g. healthcare, and where performance is a differentiator, e.g. aviation and automotive competition, it leaves some to be required amongst oil and gas clients. In this industry additive manufacturing references are still limited, mainly because of a lack of focus and insufficient related offerings. In recent years, BHGE has seen growing and measurable interest from its customers, yet an equally strong reluctance in being the first movers. Because of that, BHGE has developed Service Bureau to facilitate the acceptability of this technology, which´ market potential is bigger than what current technology capabilities can provide.

Global manufacturing output in recent years was around 10 trillion dollars per year, with additive manufacturing constituting around 0,02% of the total. A conservative forecast of 1% global output attributable to additive manufacturing would lead to a global market of around 100 billion dollars. The exponential growth of the market that has been registered year over year seems to confirm this hypothesis.

Offshore platforms have footprint constraints, storing spare parts there is an expensive challenge. Additive manufacturing capabilities would allow the fabrication of parts in a matter of hours, which would then be transported to the platform. This is a game changer for the entire industry. An oil and gas facility can warehouse hundreds of millions of dollars of spare parts, which are all needed to guarantee operational continuity because of procurement lead times. Every percentage point of inventory that is reduced would return millions of dollars of pure margin to the books.

For BHGE, Digital Inventory is a key differentiator for the future. The capability to produce spare parts of virtually any design close to customers would optimize the supply chain, resulting in significant advantages in terms of productivity and convertibility.

In the context of Additive Manufacturing, HSE can be translated as: energy consumption, wasted material, and operator safety. AM is a lean process, meaning that only the necessary material to fabricate the object is needed. This, in turn, implies that energy consumption is limited to the minimum. In fact, today’s lasers have reached great levels of efficiency, as well as operational safety. Despite the risk of dealing with heavy metallic thin powders, operators’ safety is guaranteed by the manufacturing equipment itself, featuring sealed chambers that do not allow any leakage of gas or material. Thus, the most tangible result where the machines are installed is a clean and safe environment for the operators that work nearby. Moreover, the additive process relies less on human intervention throughout the process, thereby injury risks are minimized during manufacturing.

Read more:

Sekal introducing: DrillTronics

Sekal’s  DrillTronics automation software is connecting a well digital twin into the drilling machinery. Similar to ABS break, the traction control, adoptive cruise control or automatic parking in an autonomous car, DrillTronics assist the driller with safeguarding the operation and introducing artificial intelligence to automate and optimize the drilling operations, allowing optimal performance while staying within the drilling limits of the well.

In its first application on a floating drilling rig DrillTronics protected the operation and triggered its safeguarding, saving two potential side-tracks during the operation for the client. The cost saved, as communicated by the client, exceeded NOK 100 mill.

The advanced real-time modelling capability provide active safeguarding supporting drillers with automated and correct reactions to unwanted situations, just like the adoptive cruise control in a car driving in a queue or facing sudden obstructions.

By combining advanced modelling and control of key machinery, DrillTronics helps the drillers to avoid critical situations that might compromise wellbore stability and lead to significant economic loss or safety hazards. It can determine all possible combinations of a driller’s actions (string accelerations, velocities, rotation, pump start-ups and flow rates) and the heave motions on a semi-submersible that could cause the dynamic downhole pressure to reach or exceed wellbore stability and geopressure limits.

After decades of drilling machine control automation research and development, DrillTronics is bringing the real time ever changing wellbore conditions into drilling automation. With focus on digitalization and automation, the technology has proven safer and more efficient drilling operations. DrillTronics is interfaced with both NOV and MHWirth drilling machinery.

The technology is based on patented invention that uses measured data in calibrated models to match the real well conditions. It calculates safe guards to provide automatic preventive functions to avoid critical situation in the well. It includes automated algorithms that can take over control and run sequences in an optimal and consistent way.

For floaters, the system has a new transient torque and drag module that reads the onboard motion reference unit data to compensate for the strings constant heave motions. Compared to a conventional steady state calculation, the new model includes dynamic effects and will therefore more accurately calculate the resulting forces and pressure surges, even during acceleration phases.

A new application that optimizes the well construction process is added. This application uses coordinated control of the mud pumps, draw works and top drive, while the bit is on bottom, to minimise the overall drilling duration as well as the risk of drilling incidents.

DrillScene is another Sekal software product and based on same technology as DrillTronics. DrillScene is used in real time operation centres for monitoring and trend analysis during drilling operations. DrillScene is currently used by several customers and has been used and acknowledged by customers for more than 200 wells where early notifications prevent drilling failures.

DrillTronics is independent to the drilling equipment and are already interfaced towards both NOV and MHWirth and can easily be integrated to other drilling control systems as a smart module. DrillTronics applied to floaters enables operation in harsh conditions thereby increasing safety and reducing risk of exposing vulnerable environments. It is well suited for complex wells, such as long lateral ERD wells, wells with geo-mechanical/wellbore stability issues and tight hole situations.

A study by Equinor (former Statoil) show that they experienced 32% technical sidetracks on development wells. Based on yearly cost; an average cost per sidetrack is 60 mill NOK. NPD data from Norwegian and UK sector performed by Rystad Energy confirm that sidetracks on wells exceeds 50%. The cost related to wellbore instability and challenging situations is significant. DrillScene on more than 200 wells, has a track record reducing the number of sidetracks to below 8% on comparative wells. It can avoid situations that later lead to sidetracks when adjustments are done early and deteriorating conditions are handled in time. This indicates that DrillTronics with its documented effect can save billions of dollars for the global E&P industry.

An environmental effect is that the technology reduces the total drilling time for wells, and hence reduce the drilling process’s CO2 contribution per produced barrel. More optimal operation will reduce the total energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

The system gives the driller better control of the wellbore situation and prevents operator from instability and well control situations. Just as the autopilot on airplanes was a step change for safety in aviation, DrillTronics will assist to avoid loss of drilling fluid to the formation, prevent and avoid instability situations leading to kicks or even worse a blowout.

It has the following health and safety benefits:
– Automatic drilling gives operator more time on the most important matters, which increase security.
– It gives the driller more relevant information and enable him to respond earlier before it get dangerous to the crew.
– Automation removes people from the most hazardous areas on the rig drill floor.

Read more:

About ONS Innovation Awards:

Through the Innovation Awards ONS recognize the crucial importance of cutting-edge products and solutions. The awards reflect our long-standing commitment to presenting and promoting innovative ideas to the international oil, gas and energy industry.

This year ONS received a total of 127 applications/nominations. 56 companies applied for the Innovation Award and 56 companies applied for the SME Innovation Award. The jury has nominated five finalists to compete in each category.


The ten finalists will present their technologies in the session “Meet the Innovation Awards finalists”, Monday 27 August at ONS Technical Sessions.

The Innovation Awards Ceremony is held at the Conference session “Leadership: Stimulate to innovate”, Tuesday 28 August. The Awards will be presented by Chair of Innovation Award, Norwegian Research Council.

The first ONS Innovation Award was presented in 1982. The winner was Norwegian Contractors for Condeep – a gravity-based structure for a platform built from reinforced concrete instead of steel. In 2004 the SME Innovation Award was established to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises were given the chance to highlight their new developments.

A total of 26 companies have been recognised by the ONS Innovation Award juries for their cutting-edge technologies and solutions.

See list of previous winners.