Prevention is Better than Cure

Many of us wouldn’t go to see a doctor until we get sick. This not only costs more money, but also causes more pain. Preventive medical assessments may be seemingly unnecessary and unpleasant, but it can help identify potential health problems, save lives, and reduce medical costs.

We often hear of some famous physical doctors or medical experts, who have remedied illness, when troubles surfaced. As a matter of fact, we are all doctors ourselves, in a sense that we take care of our daily lives, command our bodies to certain tasks, and avoid certain activities. We, as doctors ourselves, play a big role every day in maintaining our health. We are all CEOs of our own way of life and happiness. If we do our best to keep up good habits, take care of our bodies regularly, we will save ourselves lots of trouble and money in medical expenses.

Prevention can be beneficial to drilling engineering as well. Our experiences gained and lessons learned help us make right decisions for our next well. Drilling engineering software also serves as a great tool to identify any potential problems in our existing drilling plan or make sound engineering designs.

Take an example of cementing job design. One of the key elements of a successful cementing job is good displacement efficiency (less mud channeling). We have known that several parameters such as casing standoff, flow rate, differentials of fluid properties and hole deviation affect the effectiveness of fluid displacement. Now, with the help of computer modeling, we can see the impacts of these parameters. The following picture shows the mud concentration in the annulus at the end of the cementing job, where casing standoff is 0% throughout the wellbore (casting touches the borehole).

Displacement Efficiency for Casing Standoff 0% - Pegasus Vertex, Inc.

Displacement Efficiency for Casing Standoff 0%

You can see that there are quite large red areas in track 3, indicating poor displacement efficiency.

Now, we change the casing standoff to 70% and keep the other parameters the same. The following picture shows the much improved mud concentration after displacement:

Displacement Efficiency for Casing Standoff 70% - Pegasus Vertex, Inc.

Displacement Efficiency for Casing Standoff 70%

Time and money (not to mention headaches) could be saved if drilling engineers undergo through all the engineering assessments before problems arise. Be sure to use your know-how, skills, experiences, lessons and available drilling software. Having a complete understanding of what will happen gives you a greater sense of control, reduces risks and saves money.

Location, Location and Location

There is an old joke in the real estate industry:

Question: “When establishing the value of a house, what are the 3 most important factors?”

Answer: “Location, location and location.”

In other words the area where the property is located is the one and only important matter and everything else you could say about it hardly matters.

This can be applied to a country as well. On my way back to Houston from a recent trip to Dubai I read an article about the upcoming world EXPO 2020, which will be hosted in Dubai. The article talks about the convenient location of Dubai. Two-thirds of the world’s population lives within an 8 hour flight from Dubai. No wonder Dubai’s international airport is as busy at night as it is during the day. My return flight from Dubai always leaves at around midnight, so that I can be either in Amsterdam or Paris in the morning to make my connection.

Dubai, UAE | Location of Pegasus Vertex, Inc. Drilling Software Agent

Dubai, UAE

Customers in the Dubai International Airport, 1:30 am

Customers in the Dubai International Airport, 1:30 am

As the largest city in the UAE and the center point between Europe, Asia and Africa, Dubai has become a favorite city for the biggest headquarters of oil and gas, and service companies, including Russia’s Lukoil (oversea unit), and Halliburton among others.

By comparison, Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, well recognized worldwide for the energy industry. We are fortunate to live and work in this dynamic city from which we supply drilling engineering software and support our users.

Houston is an ideal location to support users in North America. It is also a gateway to many South American countries. It is said that over 90 languages are spoken in the Houston area. Our drilling software also “speaks” various languages for instance, English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.

In spite of the hot summers, mild winters and occasional hurricanes, I do not have much to complain. Houston is a pretty good location for a drilling software provider like us.

Saving Time Using Drilling Software

Who doesn’t like savings, deals, bargains and even some free stuff every now and then? Further, who does not want to save time in our work? Generally speaking, software save us tremendous amount of time in our daily lives. We heavily rely on Outlook® for our email communication, Microsoft Word® for word processing. These software free us from repeated and often tedious tasks. And they are so common in our work places that we often take them for granted.

While we use these software as tools for our work, they are the missions of many software developers, whose full time jobs are to created them. In this society, everyone serves someone else.

Specifically, drilling engineering software has become an indispensable tool for well planning, especially for horizontal and extend reach well drilling. Being a software developer, I feel very lucky to be involved in this highly creative work, which requires both engineering background and graphic design senses.

Our goal is to create drilling software not only to solve technical problems, but also improve drilling efficiency by solving problems quickly. This means carefully designed user-interfaces so that the users will be able to save trouble and time to perform a certain task.

Time belongs to everyone. Wasting other people’s time is a crime. On the other side, saving people’s time brings benefit to them.

Our way of saving people’s time is to make software extremely easy to use.

We as software developers do not meet with our users often, but our users frequently use our software and some even do on a daily basis. For example, there are more than 500 MUDPRO (drilling mud reporting) users in US. Every morning, these mud engineers open up MUDPRO, input wellbore configuration, mud properties, inventory and type remarks. Then they will generate daily report from MUDPRO Output window. If we can add features to save one user 5 minutes in the process,  we will be able to save 5(min) x 500(user) x 365(day)= 912500(min) = 15208(hr) = 634(day) of time of those 500 MUDPRO users in a period of one year. This is as powerful as the butterfly effect. The flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas. If we make an improvements in our software, hundreds and thousands of software users will benefit, even it means that sometimes we need to spend months for certain feature. But it is worth the efforts. Spending time in software development translate into tremendous time saving for all software users. The benefit is amplified much greatly as more users join the pool.

Happy running software and saving time!


I Never Felt So Good When Taking Off My Shoes

During Thanksgiving weekend, our company staff and families went to Lake Tahoe to have a retreat. Skiing was one of the activities. Quite a few of us were first time skiers. Here are some of our children expressing their experience on wearing the ski boots.

Rachel: "I felt short when taking off the shoes."

Nathan: "I never felt so good when taking off my shoes."

Nowadays, almost all our activities are enriched with high-tech equipment. Skiing is no exception. A pair of ski boots can easily weight a few pounds. Walking with them is no fun. But once the shoes are attached to ski and ski is on the slope of snow, they make us run faster on snow than on road. Technology makes wonders. Besides specific skills and physical training, more sportsmen rely heavily on gears to enhance their performance. To swimmers, it is swimming suit; to tennis players, it is racket and strings and also as the running shoes to runners. The pairs can go on.

These enabling technologies also play big role in our drilling industry, making drilling operations more cost effective and safe. Among them is drilling engineering software. Even though the drilling software does not weight as much as ski boots, it carries the significant results of research and engineering in the areas of pipe mechanics, hydraulics, casing wear, etc.

One might think the drilling software as one more package to install in computer, one more burden to carry. However, the benefits of running drilling software far out weight the cost or trouble of using it.

Download and installation of our MUDPRO (mud reporting software) may take 15 minutes. Once mud engineers start to use MUDPRO, they could easily save hours of work every day, not to mention the much better quality of report and end-of-well recap.

Sometimes, a little bit trouble, such as wearing heavy ski boots, brings tremendous convenience; sometimes, a little bit spending is rewarded with big saving.

Just as Nathan described his feeling on ski boots, our MUDPRO user might say: "I never felt so relieved when making daily mud report."

Drilling Software: See the Invisible

We just had a T-Shirt design contest. Graphic designers were asked to put drilling software in perspective of the design.

Nowadays, drilling engineering software is an indispensable tool for drilling engineers. Directional and extended reach drilling and HTHP wells challenge us with more and more technical difficulties. Software is one of the solutions to these problems. However, because of its abstract nature, it is not easy to illustrate drilling software in a T-shirt design. At least, it is difficult to have a good design without using abused images of drilling rigs and computers.

One of the submissions is a pair of glasses as shown below.

See the Invisible | Pegasus Vertex, Inc. - Drilling Software

As soon as we saw it, we liked it. It has a subtle message: our drilling software allows engineers to see the downhole condition, which is invisible to normal eyes.

Oil and gas well is created by drilling a hole of 5 to 50 inches in diameter into the earth with a drilling rig that rotates a drill string with a bit attached. During drilling process, engineers and drillers heavily rely on the limited information on the rig floor to determine the downhole condition, because they cannot see the subsurface.

Typically, only one tenth of iceberg is above water. Majority of iceberg is below water, making it difficult to determine its shape and size. Similar situation exists on the rig floor. Drilling engineers only have handful observations such as hookload, surface torque, pump pressure, ROP, RPM, etc. They can neither see what happens to drill string or formation nor accurately measure the buckling of the pipe. It is like a situation that we walk cross a muddy river: we cannot see the river bed, but our feet do their best sensing the water, mud and rock and send a message to our brains. Drilling operation is a dialog between drillers and formation in the dark. Drilling software turns on light to let engineers see the invisible.

Drilling Software: Your Hot Model

Everyone including drilling engineer seems to be busier than before – There are always more wells to be drilled, more projects to be managed, more well planning to be done and reports to be run. Let us face it: you and I are not supermen or ironmen. We are just normal John and Joe, facing the increasing demanding.

Any help would be helpful. Imagine an assistant, who could be on-call 24/7! And she does not charge overtime or complain about tasks. One might think this kind of helper is a far-fetched idea. But what is in my mind is an assistant you can actually own and this assistant is most likely a super model: drilling engineering model.

All of us hate to do repeated tasks, and that is why we invented dish washer and vacuum cleaner. From abacus, to calculator, to computer, we calculate more and faster. It might be fun to find the greatest common divisor in 3rd grade, but hand calculation of a buoyant weight of pipe in mud is more of a tedious step than an exciting destination. We have important technical decisions to be made in office and on rig floor.

That is why drilling engineering software such as PVI’s TADPRO (torque and drag model) comes handy. It frees us from repeated manual calculation and errors associated. These drilling models do not discriminate vertical, deviated, horizontal or ERD wells. Provided with proper input data, these model assistants perform analysis, run reports, show animation within a few seconds. If you are not sure about certain variable such as friction factor in open hole sections, they like many attentive helpers, even give you sensitivity study to show you the best and worst scenarios.

Sometimes, these models are just like robots, receiving orders and performing tasks. Other times, they give you crucial advices and identify potential problems, such as helical buckling or excessive downhole pressure. They are like a senior consultant who is amiable and does not charge premium.

These models are strictly trained to be friendly. They do not care much if you give them a job after 5pm or in weekends. They are very tolerant if you accidently key in the wrong data. They do not give you an eye. Instead, they kindly remind you of the error and even suggest you the correct input in many cases.

Did I mention that these models are very pretty? Their faces (what we call interface) are carefully designed so that users will not get lost and interaction creates pleasant experience.

Drilling is tough, find good software - your hot model.