Maersk Drilling to boost efficiency through big data

With the help of digital industry giant General Electric, data from a large number of sophisticated sensors on a drilling rig are now being processed and analysed online. The objective: To increase drilling productivity and reduce maintenance costs significantly.

maersk-drilling-big-data-2
“We are now starting the journey that will eventually bring us to a point where an installation on every rig will gather, and analyse, data from hundreds of sophisticated sensors as a part of daily operations. We are beginning to make the industrial internet of things a reality,” says Jesper Kjær Hansen.

Sensors, algorithms and processing power are about to boost efficiency within Maersk Drilling.

For evidence of this, just take a look at the new ambitious partnership formed by drilling contractor Maersk Drilling and global supplier of industrial equipment and software analytic tools, General Electric (GE).

The two companies have just agreed to collaborate on a technologically advanced data driven pilot project. The project comprises the first steps in Maersk Drilling’s ambition to reduce customers’ total well costs using sensor data to improve drilling performance and create smarter maintenance schemes.

According to Maersk Drilling’s Chief Information Officer, Jesper Kjær Hansen, big data projects will play an important part in the future of offshore drilling.

“We are now starting the journey that will eventually bring us to a point where an installation on every rig will gather and analyse data from hundreds of sophisticated sensors as a part of the daily operations. We are beginning to make the industrial internet of things a reality,” says Jesper Kjær Hansen.

A general infrastructure

He stresses that the pilot project is the first step in building a general infrastructure that can be harnessed by various vendor solutions and for many purposes based on input from various sensors.

The pilot project is due to last a year. The overarching target is to reduce maintenance costs by 20% and increase productivity by enhancing operational efficiencies.

“When building the latest addition to our fleet – the XLE jack-ups and the drillships – we installed various sensors for data acquisition. Those sensors are the foundation of these pilot projects, and I am eager to harvest the benefits from these investments,” says Chief Technological Officer at Maersk Drilling, Frederik Smidth.

The initial infrastructure tests have been conducted on drillship Maersk Voyager, while the pilot projects are about to be carried out on one of Maersk Drilling’s XLE rigs.  
The new partnership between Maersk Drilling and GE is prepared for the other business units in the Maersk Group to utilise and take advantage of.

250 sensor data as a beginning

The project seeks to take advantage of the hundreds - or potentially thousands - of sensors already in place on the different pieces of drilling equipment. The projects aim to decide precisely how the enormous amount of sensor data on any given drilling rig can be capitalised.

Operational sensor data from critical pieces of equipment like top drive, thrusters, BOP etc. will be connected to a so-called historian, a kind of specialised server that stores the data needed to form a coherent picture of the drilling operation. The sensor data will minutely register how the drilling equipment is behaving and being operated.

maersk-big-data-pattern
With this pilot project we are making a proof of concept that we are ready to move from so called calendar based maintenance into sensor triggered maintenance.
Jens Ulrik Gullacksen, Head of Maintenance & Materials

All in all, 250 different sensor signals are being collected from the drillfloor as a beginning.

“The sensor data will give us a more detailed view of the different sub operations carried out on the drill floor enabling the crew to identify best practices, decrease variance, optimise processes and inherently increase our productivity,” says Kasper Karlsen, Head of Performance Improvement at Maersk Drilling.

The pilot project is an important step toward fulfilling Maersk Drilling’s ambition to develop smarter and more efficient solutions at a much lower cost. All with the purpose of helping customers to reduce total well cost to a minimum.

“With this pilot project we are making a proof of concept that we are ready to move from so called calendar based maintenance into sensor triggered maintenance. We have been preparing this for some time,” says Jens Ulrik Gullacksen, Head of Maintenance & Materials.

Predictive maintenance is a project within Maersk Drilling that strives at creating a new maintenance regime that involves moving away from a traditional calendar-based maintenance scheme. Instead, Maersk Drilling is moving towards an algorithm-triggered regime whereby one only replaces a particular part when a sensor data analysis issues a warning that it is wearing out.

Analysed by industrial experts

During the project period, the sensor signals from the top drive will be transferred to General Electric’s Industrial Data Centre, where the data will be processed by specialised algorithms and analysed by General Electric’s industrial experts.

After 12 months, the pilot project will be evaluated. At this point, it will be decided whether to proceed with its roll-out to the rest of the fleet.

More stories about Maersk