GE and Noble launch world’s first digital rig

GE and NobleThe Digital RigSM aims to unlock the potential of digital solutions for offshore drilling operations. (Image source: GE)GE and Noble Corporation plc have launched the world’s first digital drilling vessel, aiming to achieve 20 per cent operational expenditure reduction across the targeted equipment and improve drilling efficiency

In the offshore drilling industry, operators have long relied on individuals, leading to significant performance inconsistencies and variance. The downturn of the industry has challenged drillers to look for innovative ways to achieve operational excellence.

The launch of the Digital RigSM solution and the world’s first digital drilling vessel focus on expanding data-driven operations support while gaining significant efficiencies in drilling operations. The potential of digitalisation is expected to go beyond a single vessel, thus transforming the entire fleet.

The Digital Rig solution, deployed on the Noble Globetrotter I drilling vessel, has been successfully connected to all targeted control systems including the drilling control network, the power management system and the dynamic positioning system. Data is collected through individual sensors and control systems, harmonised and centralised on the vessel before transmitting in near real time to GE’s Industrial Performance and Reliability Centre for predictive analytics.

The delivered implementation and analytics on major marine and drilling equipment have already shown promising results, as the Digital Rig solution captured multiple anomalies and has produced alerts to inform potential failures up to two months before they would occur, said GE.

The Digital Rig solution combines data models from a digital replica of physical assets, known as a digital twin, along with advanced analytics to detect off-standard behaviour, providing an early warning to operators to mitigate a problem before it strikes, said GE.

Through the learning curve, the digital twin is set to enhance its predictive capability of machine behaviours and ultimately enable predictive maintenance. This means the personnel offshore can now focus their resources on maintenance activities that are truly needed and effective. The aim is to provide reduced unplanned downtime, improved revenue and significant maintenance cost savings.

“The data backbone paves the way towards autonomous drilling and digital technology is facilitating a new era of drilling and asset performance improvements that are unprecedented,” said Bernie Wolford, senior vice-president for operations at Noble Corporation plc.

“As the digital twin continues to acquire information, we will be able to learn from analytics results, which will shed new light on maintenance effectiveness as well as help us explore other possibilities to further improve drilling efficiency in marine settings,” remarked Andy McKeran, general manager at GE’s Marine Solutions.

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