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Social Innovation

    • Manufacturing
    • Analytics

    High value and high performance: Precision Drilling is committed to delivering both while pursuing sustainability, lowering risks and costs, and improving efficiency. Operating in some of the most remote parts of the world, the large oilfield services company faces significant challenges on its digital journey to social, environmental and economic sustainability.

    Based in Calgary, Canada, Precision Drilling is a recognized industry innovator and technology early adopter that seeks to use transformative digital technology to improve its value to customers and to support its corporate responsibility initiatives. The company chose Hitachi, with its robust technology portfolio and commitment to sustainability, as its strategic partner in digital modernization.

    Using real-time data analytics, video intelligence and manufacturing insights from Hitachi, Precision Drilling has expanded business agility and increased operational efficiency. The company continues to invest in improving its rig technology, making its operations more efficient and safer for its employees and significantly reducing its impact on the environment.

    Video:Precision Drilling and Hitachi target safety and environmental excellence


    • Challenge
      In an industry where employee safety and the environment can be at high risk and every second impacts profitability, Precision Drilling needed to turn data into actionable insights that could improve performance across the board.
    • Solution
      Precision Drilling employed a broad portfolio of Hitachi’s data-driven solutions using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data integration, analytics and the internet of things (IoT) to pilot its smart rig platform.
    • Result
      Using analytics derived from real-time data, this integrated platform applies AI and ML to rig operations, providing operational efficiencies that have dramatically reduced drilling time while enabling best practices that help ensure worker safety, a reduced environmental footprint and better return for customers.
    • Vision
      Precision Drilling is focused on creating value for its customers through the delivery of high-performance services on every project, while remaining committed to generating a profit in an ethical way.


    Boosting performance, safety and environmental stewardship

    With a long history of technological and process innovation, Precision Drilling is exemplary for its commitment and intentional pursuit of practices that protect its people, the environment, its customers and the communities in which it operates.

    In the oil and gas drilling industry, greater operational efficiency leads to lower production costs and faster time to market. The company was looking for ways to streamline its operations, reduce drilling time and improve profitability while at the same time keeping its workers safe and minimizing its environmental impact.

    These strategic imperatives were especially challenging due to the nature of the drilling business. Harsh environmental conditions in remote drilling locations, along with the inherent danger of working long hours with heavy equipment, amplified the need for insights and best practices that could help the company meet its strategic digital vision.

    “In most industrial applications, you’re in a factory, you’re in a controlled environment. You can see the work,” explained Precision Drilling’s President and CEO, Kevin Neveu. “In drilling, we’re outdoors in all kinds of topography. There are many things we can’t control. The software we use has to be able to operate in this highly uncontrolled environment but still deliver a consistent, predictable, repeatable performance.”

    Already an early technology adopter and socially conscious innovator, Precision Drilling wanted to leverage new digital technology that could help the company:

    • Reduce high variance in cost and drilling time from well to well
    • Gain a singular view into overall equipment effectiveness across the fleet
    • Avoid the high cost of unplanned downtime

    The company sought a partner that would help it eliminate data silos and provide both descriptive and predictive analytics to increase efficiency, reduce operational costs and create new revenue streams. Precision Drilling was also looking for a solution that was flexible enough to integrate with the company’s existing technologies across business units and multiple phases of operations. The overarching objective was to drive business agility, productivity gains and continuous industry innovation while improving safety and environmental stewardship.


    Powerful digital solutions drive smart drilling

    Precision Drilling and Hitachi took a phased approach to creating a platform that would combine new rig data from multiple applications and sensors with historical rig data. The platform would convert the combined data into insights to help the company recognize risks and opportunities. Data management was important to the success of the platform, and an important consideration for Precision Drilling. What began as a need for rig automation reporting, data ingestion and blending has progressed to include video analytics, preventative maintenance algorithms and leading technologies such as LiDAR.

    Adopting a collaborative, agile approach to design, implementation and deployment, Precision Drilling and Hitachi teamed up to pilot an integrated smart rig platform that uses enterprise IoT, video, advanced analytics, ML and a data integration layer that offers scaling capabilities. Everything is built on a single platform leveraged from other industries such as manufacturing and transportation. These value-added solutions and services provide the foundation for Precision Drilling’s digital transformation, allowing the company to automate intelligent decision-making and process improvement.

    The platform integrates machine telemetry for several operational parameters and improves the company’s visibility into the overall efficiency of its equipment. It uses data orchestration and blending from the Pentaho platform from Hitachi Vantara, video insights from Hitachi’s video intelligence solutions, and equipment data ingested through Lumada Manufacturing Insights. The platform configures and analyses the data to identify causes of rig system downtime and suggest process or maintenance changes that may increase the rig’s yield.

    “We're leveraging insights from Hitachi's IoT analytics platform to optimize our equipment performance and to identify improvement opportunities and well delivery for our customers,” said Precision Drilling’s chief technology officer, Shuja Goraya.

    To help Precision Drilling get the right information to the right people at the right time so that they can make the right decisions, this solution is deployed on premises with cloud extension capabilities for integration with cloud services. Much of the analytics and visualization happens on the edge with servers, devices and gateways on the rig and rig network.

    By using the Pentaho toolset and integrating video analytics into Lumada Manufacturing Insights, Precision Drilling now has a set of dashboards and visualizations that display the data processed at the rig site. These components facilitate faster processing of the rig sensor data, enhancing operations and sending near-real-time feedback to the operators.

    “Traditionally, our drillers have controlled all the equipment on the rig with touchscreens and joysticks,” explained James Chizen, vice president of rig automation for Precision Drilling. “With process automation control, we can tweak a process and allow the driller to focus on wellbore construction, on crew safety and on managing everything at the well.”

    Together with Hitachi, Precision Drilling can now focus on making significant progress toward its goal of autonomous drilling.



    Greater efficiencies and sustainability through smart technology

    Using smart technology from Hitachi, Precision Drilling is improving its business opportunities, forecast capabilities and value to its customers, while addressing its immediate financial and technological needs. “Everyone is looking to optimize without large capital investments,” explained Chizen. “Process automation control is our answer to that. We’re able to deploy apps and automation, new technology, at a relatively low capital investment while optimizing performance at the rig.”

    The company is one step closer to meeting its goals of improving operational efficiency, reducing operational costs and creating new revenue streams, including:

    • More efficient drilling operations across rigs and crews
    • A better understanding of equipment effectiveness, health and utilization
    • An overall reduction in maintenance and unplanned outage costs

    And it’s doing it in record time with record results. “We’re doing what we used to do in about a third of the time using about a third of the amount of the fuel and about a third of the number of hours of employee exposure,” said Neveu.

    The ability to quickly gather and analyze data from multiple sources allows Precision Drilling to make better decisions while reducing the time its employees are exposed to high-risk tasks. “Our biggest responsibility is to our employees,” stated Goraya. “We take you from your family, we send you to this remote location for a few weeks, and we bring you back exactly the same if not better than when you left your home.”


    Pioneering automation and industry collaboration for the greater good

    Precision Drilling’s consistent commitment and intentional pursuit of no harm to its people, its assets and the environment are key to the company’s vision. “All of us at Precision Drilling are committed to ensuring that all jobs will be performed without harm or not at all,” said Precision Drilling’s vice president of global health, safety and environment, Jennifer Guidry. “We are constantly searching for what can produce errors and driving it out of the system.”

    With their collaborative approach to innovation, their support of open platform development and their knowledge sharing, Hitachi’s smart technology solutions help Precision Drilling continue to be an industry innovator. The company is excited about the ways in which its partnership with Hitachi is helping drive its vision of autonomous drilling to create a safer and healthier environment for its employees, communities and customers.

    “We have to have an organization that can repeat what it does well and — at the same time — process new technologies and determine what to use, what not to use and how to bring new technologies in without putting the basic operation at risk,” said Neveu.

    By working together on a shared vision, Precision Drilling and Hitachi are contributing to a future that benefits everyone.

    Learn more about how Hitachi Social Innovation is Powering Good.

    Release Date: January 2020
    Solutions By: Hitachi Vantara

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