Interview with Malcolm Banks, Well Construction Solution Centre Manager at The Oil and Gas Technology Centre.
The opportunities that Safe Influx bring are automation and reduction of reliance on a driller in a well control situation. It's a really important opportunity for automation in the industry.
From an Oil and Gas Technology Center perspective, we're very keen on improving the efficiency of operations. One of our strategic objectives is to optimise operations and bring automation to the industry, something that hasn't been that evident over the past few decades.
The OGTC are always looking to support and bring forward technologies that are of real value and of a real desire to the industry. We work in a sort of a ‘solution center’ so we're bringing solutions to industry. During this process, it's important that we not only work with, for example, the Safe Influx team in this case but also with potential clients like Transocean, a rig contractor. Transocean has been engaged in this process to make sure that the requirements of the end-user are brought into technology development and how it interfaces to the rig systems.
Safe Influx is a very young startup organisation that literally was only founded a year ago. This is their first venture into an operational environment and it's really reassuring to see the progress that they've made in such a short space of time.
There are a couple of factors in play from an efficiency point of view and also from a safety perspective. Well control situations are one of the worst things that can happen in a drilling environment; significant potential for loss of life and damage to the environment, so trying to make sure that we reduce that likelihood and reduce the occurrence is of paramount importance to the industry and therefore something that we're very keen on from an OGTC perspective.
Secondly, it's that whole piece about efficiency. Automation allows us to improve the way that we undertake our operations and brings a lot more control to this industry around ‘how we manage’ and take away any human errors and even factor occurrences.
It's really important to recognise the way that Safe Influx has been able to integrate this new type of technology into what you’d class as 'an old traditional type of rig system', so I think that bodes well for the existing infrastructure. The North Sea and the oil industry, in general, have a lot of existing older mature rigs that this system can be implemented on as well it' the capability to interface seamlessly with new rig systems.
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