Former SAIT students receive provincial honour for project focused on improving oil drilling efficiency

04, Oct, 2023

EDMONTON, Oct. 4, 2023 – Two former SAIT petroleum engineering technology students have received a provincial honour for a project that may save downtime in the oil and gas industry and ultimately leave a smaller carbon footprint. The former team of Vik Kalsi and AndrĂ© Fugissawa has been recognized as a finalist for the Capstone Project of the Year Award, which is presented annually by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

The former teammates created a guideline for the most effective use of a new software app developed by Precision Drilling© called Z-Torquetm whose function is to mitigate stick-slip during oil drilling operations. Stick-slip occurs when friction between a drill bit and rock formation causes the bit to momentarily stick then slip, resulting in damaging torsional vibrations that impede drilling efficiency and productivity.

The torsional vibrations are generated when the drill string (jointed sections of drill pipe that transmit the driving force from a drilling rig on the surface to the drill bit at the bottom of the wellbore) starts twisting back and forth, storing and releasing rotational energy. The waves of energy bounce between the top drive (a mechanical device on a drilling rig that provides clockwise torque to the drill string during rotary drilling of the wellbore) and the bit, causing premature wear and damage to the components.

With the goal of minimizing stick-slip and optimizing drilling performance, the guideline provides oil drillers in the field with recommendations on how to fine-tune the Z-Torquetm settings for certain depth intervals in challenging rock formations.

Through their comprehensive testing of the Z-Torquetm system and ability to determine the right software settings for each of the five rock formations evaluated, the former team members were successful in decreasing surface stick-slip severity levels by an average of 26 per cent, and increasing the rate of penetration (ROP) by 17 per cent. This yielded a cost savings of almost $7,000 over 376 metres of rotary drilling, demonstrating the efficacy of Z-Torquetm  when implemented correctly. Secondary benefits included reduced non-productive time (NPT) and invisible lost time (ILT) with fewer bit trips and less wear or damage to the drill string and its components.

By lowering energy consumption and minimizing carbon emissions, efficient drilling operations play a crucial role in diminishing environmental impact and advancing sustainability efforts.

“This project holds particular significance in the pursuit of a greener energy future and Canada’s position as a technology leader in the oil and gas industry,” said Kalsi.

“By using software and hardware technology to mitigate stick-slip in the oil and gas industry and reduce downtime, the former SAIT team’s project has the potential to impact the industry in a meaningful and environmentally friendly way,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh.

The former SAIT team’s project is one of nine finalists for the 2023 ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award. The winning project will be announced at the end of this month.

The Capstone Project of the Year Award was established by ASET in 2017 in response to overwhelming member interest in stories about Capstone Projects undertaken by teams of engineering technology students from NAIT, SAIT, Red Deer Polytechnic, and Lethbridge College as part of their end-of-program requirements.

About ASET
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.

Media Contact:
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET


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