Directional drilling technology has been lagging behind other technical advances which led to the tremendous growth of horizontal drilling in North American shale plays. The most significant directional drilling problem in the unconventional plays has been the inability to consistently follow a prescribed well path, and to hit and stay within the targets identified collectively by an oil company’s geologists, geophysicists, and engineers.MOTIVE Drilling Technologies is a company defined by a singular focus: providing unique technologies and services that lower the cost and improve the accuracy and performance of drilling horizontal wells.
The firm offers a guidance system that uses Decision Automation to provide turn-by-turn instructions for optimized directional drilling of horizontal wells. The decisions are driven by algorithms that leverage data analytics, real time dynamics and economic modeling. Over the course of development, the system has been issued 14 US patents with 12more pending for different components, and has drilled more than 2 million feet in over 200 directional wells throughout the major North American unconventional plays.
Automating the Decision-making Process Associated with Steering the Bit
The MOTIVE™ Directional Drilling Bit Guidance System automates the decision-making process associated with steering the bit while drilling horizontal wells. Performing the standard directional drilling calculations that were previously done by the directional driller, the system provides these calculations continuously and much faster than is humanly possible. Moreover, the system provides a tremendous amount of additional analysis, and automatically presents the driller with detailed intuitive step-by-step steering guidance based on the dynamic analysis of data together with parameters set by the operator.
Adjustments to the steering guidance are made in real-time in reaction to the driller’s actions; and the system provides real-time feedback to help improve the driller’s performance. The system operates with a high level of automation which is possible only by using advanced algorithms & high end computing , resulting in much improved performance.
Also, through its distributed 2D and 3D visualization interfaces, dynamic reporting, and automated email and text notifications, the system keeps the entire decision-making team (on the rig and remotely) continuously informed about past, current, and dynamically-planned future directional drilling activities. By providing complete directional drilling transparency to the entire team, regardless of location, the system returns operational control back to the operator.
A High Tech Leader Leading from the Front
Motive’s CEO, Todd Benson, spent the majority of his early career within the high technology space, servicing many industries and working for a number of leading edge technology companies including Motorola and Texas Instruments. He has a BS in Engineering from Colorado school of Mines.
When considering industries to focus his career, Todd recognized that the oil and gas sector, and more specifically the drilling of horizontal wells, had lagged many other industries in the application of software optimization and automated workflows. This presented a unique opportunity to develop some high value, industry disruptive technologies. Todd currently holds 27 US patents related to automation in the oilfield and other industries.
Consistently Improving the Driller’s Ability
The automation provided by MOTIVE has been consistently improving the driller’s ability to reduce drilling time and the risks associated with excess tortuosity, while increasing the hydrocarbon production potential of the completed well through better accuracy. With the kind of service MOTIVE provides, the clients now understand that the guidance system removes the variable human-element which leads to the large variation in performance in directional drilling seen today, and instead provides consistency of high performance somewhat independent of the experience level of the directional driller. This added consistency also allows reduction of headcount, redefining roles, and improved safety in operations. MOTIVE is the only supplier of technology that considers both the costs associated with directional drilling decisions and the consequences of those decisions related to future hydrocarbon production.
Constant Access to Domain Experts
MOTIVE has had constant access to domain experts and has received continuous feedback during the development of the product from within an oil and gas operator. The individual members of the Motivemanagement team have had unique and diverse backgrounds associated with high technology development, directional drilling, and business development within oilfield technology startups. MOTIVE’s clients also like the fact that rules and guidelines in the system are defined by the customer. The result is a single set of guidance instructions that deliver the best financial results to each operator.
Emerged through the Initial Struggles
Some initial struggles for MOTIVE were related to getting personnel in the field to accept that a machine could perform analysis and make decisions faster and better than a human. However, after seeing the technology in use over a number of wells, most clients saw both an improvement in performance along with more consistent results from well to well.
‘Lower for longer’
“We believe that ‘lower for longer’may apply to the future price of oil and gas. If this is true, there will continue to be more focus on “factory drilling” and automation of processes, decision-making, and mechanization. Motive will continue to focus on the automation of the decision-making processes to capitalize on this trend,” shares Bill Chmela (VP Business Development)on the industry scenario.
Clearly, MOTIVE is the leader in automated decision-making associated with directional drilling. Competitors are starting to develop technologies to compete with Motive, but the years of development head start and continuous improvement will always allow them to continue to lead the pack.