The technology that has swept throughout the world has left a significant imprint on the oil and natural gas drilling industry.
From the highway, the drilling rigs companies use to punch through rock deep below the surface look much like they have for decades.
But the technology that has allowed a single smartphone to replace a camera, camcorder, music player, digital recorder, pedometer, compass, level and so many other instruments has transformed a traditional drilling rig into a high-tech tool equipped with more monitors, sensors and gadgets than could have been imagined just a decade ago.
Tulsa-based Unit Corp. this week unveiled the industry’s newest high-tech rig, known as the BOSS, which is short for box-on-box self stacking. The platform follows similar upgrades on rigs by Tulsa-based Helmerich & Payne Inc., Oklahoma City-based Cactus Drilling Co. and others.
Each manufacturer has taken its own approach, but one major trend is clear: technology is being adapted quickly and liberally.
Modern drilling rigs include cameras and sensors that provide the drillers with just about everything they could possibly need to know about the operation from the top of the rig to the bottom of the well.
From a cozy seat in the enclosed driller’s cabin, an operator can see the volume, pressure and temperature of the mud being used to push the drill bit through dense rock. The driller also can use those sensors to see exactly where the drill bit is at any given time and exactly what angle the bit is traveling.