Autonomous Directional Drilling for Oil Platforms

New technology has been introduced by Oilfield services giant Schlumberger, namely the ”Autonomous Directional Drilling” which includes solutions to steer autonomously through any section of the wellbore. This intelligent and dynamic downhole automated control system instantly interprets and acts on data, enhancing well construction performance, according to Schlumberger.

Autonomous Directional Drilling is a significant leap forward for the industry digital transformation, helping our customers achieve new levels of well construction efficiency, consistency, and sustainability. Our autonomous vision continues to evolve, with the latest technological innovations enabling a self-steering bottomhole assembly (BHA) capable of drilling through any well section. As one of the four pillars of Autonomous Directional Drilling, downhole automation capabilities drive steering adjustments as conditions are encountered to significantly increase rates of penetration (ROP) and improve borehole quality, which leads to greater production potential and emissions reduction.” 

Jesus Lamas, President, Well Construction, Schlumberger

To achieve downhole automation, Schlumberger has introduced a downhole automated control system—described as an advanced and intelligent closed-loop control unit— that acquires, interprets, and acts upon data to drill better wells, faster. 

“The system performs corrections immediately. This ensures drilling trajectory accuracy and removes data-to-surface delays to improve decision latency—resulting in greater overall directional drilling efficiency. Current Autonomous Directional Drilling applications include auto-vertical, auto-tangent, and auto-curve,”.


According to a Schlumberger case study, a North Sea operator used Schlumberger’s PowerDrive Orbit RSS (rotary steerable system) with autonomous downhole control technology and auto-curve capability, increasing performance on curves on three wells in three different fields and three different hole sizes. As stated by the company, downlinks to the RSS reduced 33% on average as compared with offsets using manual mode.

Source: Schlumberger