When analyzing root causes for minor or major problems occurring in oilwell drilling operations, investigators almost always can track past events, step by step, using recorded data that was produced when the operation occurred. In recent catastrophic blow-outs, investigators were able not only to determine the causes of the accidents but also to indicate mitigating actions, which could have prevented the accident if they were taken when the operation actually took place. This is a strong indicator that, even though the industry has valuable real-time information available, it is not using it as a tool to avoid harmful events and improve performance. Real-time data is not about well control, it is about well control avoidance. Recent catastrophic events have underscored the value of having the right kind of experience to understand and interpret well data in real time, taking the necessary corrective actions before it escalates to more serious problems. What is the well telling us? How do we use real time data to ensure a stable wellbore? Real-time monitoring, integrated with rigorous total well control analysis, is required to embrace and achieve continuous improvements — and ensure the safest possible environment. Next generation monitoring requires a step change that includes hazards avoidance as a precursor to drilling optimization. Real-time data can be used effectively in operations to avoid, minimize, and better manage operational events associated with drilling and completion. Real-time data can also provide the foundational support to improve training in the industry as well as develop hands-on simulators for hazards avoidance.

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