Many years of research at IRIS has led to the world’s first permanently installed automated drilling system for conventional drilling. It is a step change within drilling automation, an area with large potential for increased safety and reduced cost.

Automated drilling has been part of the company’s research strategy since 2008.

The permanent installation of an automated system offshore at Statfjord C in 2014, is a breakthrough in drilling automation. The system is an example of successful commercialization of research. Sekal is IRIS’s partner for commercialization of this product and Statoil is the operator at Statfjord C.

A number of factors make this research possible – unlimited access to one of the world’s most advanced virtual laboratories being one major reason for IRIS’s success.

– State of the art laboratories combined with our full scale drilling rig on-site (Ullrigg), enable our scientists to quickly verify and test different automation technologies, says Research Director Helga Gjeraldstveit.

The main advantage is, nevertheless, the human capital characterized by competence within mathematics, physics, cybernetics and software engineering, and a thorough domain knowledge within drilling.

– Commercialization of research is part of our culture, and is as important to us as sharing knowledge through conferences and scientific journals. This has resulted in some very successful spin-offs, and takes our research further, says Helga Gjeraldstveit.

IRIS focuses on drilling automation within different areas, such as the detection of drilling problems and the fluid mixing process. The next step is to develop and instrument the rigs with robust sensors minimizing the need for human input.