SPE Distinguished Lecturer
Start Date: 1998
Since 1998, Geoff has contributed to the development and innovation of Schlumberger’s rotary steerable systems and drilling tools, with an emphasis on automation and control.
“Rotary steerable systems (RSS) control the direction of hole propagation while the drill string is rotated, which enables high-quality boreholes to be drilled faster and farther than is possible using other methods.
RSS have evolved continuously since they appeared in the mid 1990s. My lecture looks at factors that influence RSS design, including today’s factory and automated drilling. I also discuss the revolutionary developments we can expect to see in the next 25 years, particularly in the area of self-steering robots controlled by the surface drilling rig.”
“RSS are a more costly service compared to alternative solutions. However, the sheer technical advantage of being able to control steering at the coalface, as it were, rather than by mechanical means from the surface, has meant that wells—especially those in the ever-growing horizontal drilling market—are proving more cost effective overall. RSS wells are faster to first pay, and have smoother boreholes, less hassle and more consistent results.”
“RSS have grown steadily in commercial and competitive importance to Schlumberger over the past 20 years. Our steering-at-bit innovation is an especially exciting recent development. Most companies working in RSS put their steering actuators on a nonrotating sleeve close to the bit, whereas we allow the steering actuators to rotate with the bit—a simpler, more elegant mechanical solution.”
“Students generally ask futuristic questions about automation and artificial intelligence. Small operators currently using mud motor technologies are curious to understand the advantages of RSS. Some have had bad early experiences and are looking to see how things have improved.”