Monday, June 18, 2012

Joint venture to create online analysis tool to help optimise drilling decisions

Decision Analysis, which is a branch of Operations Research, is mathematical tool that can be used to optimise decisions under conditions of risk and uncertainty. In a joint venture between and the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Pau in France, a project has been started to create online tools to help optimise drilling decisions. These tools will use Mathcad worksheets coded with Decision Analysis techniques to optimise outcomes of oilfield decisions.

By way of this new collaborative effort, drilling professionals working within the oil and gas industry will benefit from decision analysis techniques without having to learn the complex maths for themselves.

The Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Pau in south-west France has been working closely with oil majors, such as TOTAL, for the past 10 years. In an effort to expand its activities and develop further means to assist industry professionals worldwide, a postgraduate student with masters degree in Operations Research will be undergoing a six-month internship with Inc, beginning mid-February.

The aim of this joint endeavour is to work on creating an online decision analysis tool, which will greatly help oilfield companies with drilling related, decision making responsibilities.

According to Steve Devereux of Inc, who has 30 years experience as a drilling professional, “The joint venture is an initial effort to get Operations Research and in particular Decision Analysis techniques to be widely used to save costs in finding and developing hydrocarbon resources. It will depend on industry participation but the benefits can be huge, so I’m optimistic that we’ll get support.

"Critical decisions such as the type of rig that needs to be selected to give the lowest cost well, the mud system best suited to minimise drilling costs, the number of supply boats required to reduce operational costs or the choice of drill bits that produce the lowest cost per foot can be optimised using such mathematical decision analysis tools.

"Drilling professionals currently have three choices when it comes to rig maths; calculators, generic programs like excel or commercial programs, which can be expensive and hide their inner workings. These web-enabled Mathcad worksheets give a fourth option, are free to use and reveal all the inner calculations, which can then be audited or used for learning.

"Many oilfield companies overrun budgets with sizable increases in capital and operational expenses when decisions are not optimised, causing substantial financial losses to the organisation. These new online decision analysis tools now being developed will make oilfield calculations and decision making more cost effective for engineers within the drilling industry," said Steve.

As part of the new venture, Inc is inviting interested oil industry organisations to submit a drilling related decision problem that would be solved by the postgraduate student, under the supervision of Professor Marc Artzrouni at the University of Pau and Steve Devereux.


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