Pål Skogerbø (left), Senior Vice President New Services and Drilling Systems and Bjarne Sandrib, Vice President Drilling Automation at MHWirth are heading the DEAL with Smart Modules project.

MHWirth has received funding to develop an automated and interactive control solution for increased drilling efficiency.

The idea behind the research and development project called “DEAL – Smart Modules” is to build an open architecture which allows for integration of third party software into MHWirth’s control system. The project has received MNOK 10.8 in funding from the Demo2000 program and is a cooperation project between MHWirth, Sekal and Statoil.

“This is a strategic decision. In order to build the world’s best control system, we realize that we are not the leading producer of every single part of a drilling rig. We need to cooperate with others. And our ability to cooperate with others depends on how accessible our system is to third party software,” says Pål Skogerbø, Senior Vice President New Services and Drilling Systems at MHWirth.

“The goal is to provide an open interface to our entire eco-system. Instead of locking our customers in to proprietary technology and software, we build an open interface which enable others to implement good ideas into our system,” says Bjarne Sandrib, Vice President Drilling Automation.

MHWirth welcomes software providers to introduce their ideas, applications or smart modules, which can do certain tasks in a drilling process.

“We will integrate any software that benefits our customers. We have already integrated software modules from oil companies and other suppliers. Anything that will make our system better is welcomed,” says Skogerbø.

MHWirth makes use of abstraction layers, a well-known feature from the ICT industry. An abstraction layer generates a standardized, generic interface.

“It basically makes it easier for third party vendors to implement their software into our system,” says Sandrib.

“Our main business objectives are to make more efficient rigs and lower costs for our customers. This project is at the core of both these objectives. We believe this project alone will improve drilling efficiency by 10 per cent. Based on an average well construction time of 80 days, and a cost of MNOK 500, this translates to a lot of money,” says Skogerbø.