I admit I was a little puzzled and more than curious about hearing the news, during the summer, that Diamond Offshore Drilling had launched its Blockchain perforation service. Until then, blockchain had, in my mind, equaled the cryptocurrency trading, and this evoked visions of a person decked out in their jammies and ragged slippers hiding behind the laptop screen to look for bitcoins as they dreamed of their riches.
Diamond Offshore added Bit Mining to its service portfolio, I thought. The answer is no, but what the company did by embracing digital technologies was the ability for its customers to reduce their total cost of ownership.
So what's the blockchain and how does it apply to hole making?
Matt McGinsey of McKinsey & Co. in a podcast of Digital McKinsey described blockchain as a shared database or "distributed ledger" shared on a number of network participants, and at every moment, every member of that network simultaneously holds an identical copy of that blockchain database on your computer.
Speaking at the conference and exposing the 2018 IADC Advanced Rig technology, William Fox, Data Gumbo Corp. chief product officer, explained that blockchain allows all parties involved in a transaction to have a version of the truth in the distributed ledger. Sitting above these registers are "smart contracts" that automatically execute the terms of a contract without human intervention, noted Fox.
"The automation of contract execution eliminates accounting expenses, delays, inaccuracies, legal fees, distrust and disputes, while increasing audibility and profitability", stated in his presentation. "It aligns the incentives of all the participants in the drilling industry towards a common goal".
An example that often hears is how much it takes to see the payment of a ticket for services.
"So the job is done, but it takes seven or eight days to insert the paper ticket into the system that will be scanned and emailed to someone for checking," he said. "So he enters an ERP [enterprise resource planning] system where there is an authorization order and multiple agreements before the ticket is ever approved for payment. "
Blockchain and smart contracts can help speed up this process as some aspects of the payment process can be automated if all parts of the contract are agreed.
"When a transaction is placed in a blockchain system, it is completely transparent and completely verifiable," he said. "Our approach is that if there is a payment that is triggered by a ticket, everything that supports that transaction to activate a payment goes to the blockchain so that all parties keep a copy that is not lost in the shuffle."
Data Gumbo and Diamond Offshore have developed the Blockchain perforation service. The cloud-based, scalable service consists of five modules to improve efficiency and eliminate waste, including supply chain and logistics management, planning, expense tracking, real-time bottleneck monitoring and a system of performance tracking that monitors the key operational performance indicators, according to a print publication.
According to a press release, the platform will be used in the procurement phase through the construction, completion and production phases. Monitoring, planning and optimization of wells through each phase offer the possibility of reducing expenditure, eliminating waste, improving processes and better aligning all the parts necessary to provide a good result. The service will be implemented on Diamond Offshore drilling platforms, creating the first Blockchain Ready Rig fleet in the sector.
The Drilling Technologies column by Jennifer Presley was originally published in the November 2018 edition of E & P.