By October 6, 2015 Read More →

Innovative technology driving down costs for oil producers

Innovations like robotic drilling, advanced seismic imaging help cut non-productive time

Low oil prices are driving operators toward innovations – like robotic drilling and advanced seismic imaging – as they streamline operations to cut down non-productive time (NPT) and shave costs, according to a new study from Lux Research.


Photo: Robotic Drilling Systems.

“The new low oil price environment will drive innovation for reducing NPT during drilling operations,” said lead author Colleen Kennedy from Boston-based Lux Research of the report titled, “Identifying Ways to Reduce Drilling Budgets in the Low Oil Price Environment.”

“Contingency costs arising from NPT typically account for about 10 per cent to 15 per cent of total drilling costs, and can rise as high as 30 per cent, so start-ups with technologies that reduce NPT can make for attractive opportunities,” she added.

Lux Research assessed technologies available to reduce drilling costs and rated 21 companies on the Lux Innovation Grid, based on their technical value and business execution.

Among the findings:

  • Robotic drilling solves key problem. Robotic Drilling Systems enable robotic rigging in land and deep-water operations, reducing human deployment in adverse conditions. The unmanned technology cuts cost by reducing health, safety and environmental incidents, earning the company a “Dominant” position on the Lux Innovation Grid with high technical value and strong business execution.
  • Waveseis leads “High-potential” firms. Firms in the “High-potential” quadrant have strong technical value but lag on business execution. In this category, Waveseis is poised to be a long-term winner with its advanced seismic imaging for subsalt structures that can improve well planning and aid in mitigating drilling hazards.
  • Skynet, Matrix, Tesla are long shots. Three diverse companies landed in the “Long shot” quadrant with low technical value and weak business execution: Skynet Labs, Matrix Drilling Fluids and Tesla NanoCoating. Skynet develops mobile apps for calculating drilling parameters; Matrix sells specialty chemicals for drilling and completions; and Tesla creates non-corrosion coatings.


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