Nabors delivers advanced energy technologies
Miguel Sanchez, vice-president of international operations at Nabors Industries, talks to The Energy Year about the shifting challenges oil and gas operations face despite the uptick in activity. With operations in more than 15 countries, Nabors Industries is a global provider of advanced technology for the energy industry.
What major obstacles does the hydrocarbons sector face despite the uptick in activity?
First, the oil and gas industry faces growing pressure to lower its carbon footprint. Indeed, there will be an energy transition, but it will be gradual and not happen from one day to the next. Hydrocarbons are here to stay and for a long time.
Adapting means we must demonstrate that the industry can produce and consume hydrocarbons responsibly and show we are committed to a clean and diverse energy system by investing in and embracing new sources of energy.
Second, as past cycles have proven, safety incidents tend to increase as activity increases. We are actively seeking safer and more automated operations.
The demand for digital solutions is rising, especially in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. The primary objective is to achieve automation, which removes personnel from high-risk areas while also delivering highly efficient performance. Another added benefit of automation is that it can help reduce the carbon intensity of drilling.
Finally, the workforce is still undergoing significant shifts post-pandemic. Attracting and retaining new and more diverse talent with the necessary skills to meet evolving industry demands is a persistent challenge.
As an industry, we must continue to work towards delivering safe, efficient and responsible operations. Process automation, robotics and digital solutions can help get us there. We must also lean into the energy transition by investing in cleaner technologies, diversifying energy sources and fostering collaboration with stakeholders to navigate the evolving energy landscape.
What added value does Nabors bring to automation and digitalisation?
Optimising drilling requires a series of accurately executed steps that result in minimum downtime and exceptional performance. In essence we want to deliver safe and efficient operations as consistently as possible for our customers.
Nabors achieves this through process automation, robotics and digitalisation solutions. The SmartROS rig-operating system was developed for drillers by drillers and can be implemented on any rig, enabling the execution of drilling automation software for optimal performance. Integrating advanced robotics makes complete AC [alternating-current] rig automation possible, which removes crews from high-risk areas and ensures consistent performance. With RigCLOUD customers gain access to real-time drilling data and analytics, which empowers them to make informed decisions.
Overall, Nabors contributes to automation and digitalisation in the energy industry with smart and sustainable solutions that are cost-effective and capital-light and improve operational efficiency and safety.
What solutions are you providing to reduce carbon footprints while operating?
The energy transition is critical for Nabors, and to address climate goals, Nabors, through Nabors Energy Transition Solutions, has commercialised technologies that reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. This portfolio extends beyond Nabors rigs, encompassing a range of solutions, including emissions reporting, fuel enhancers, engine management systems, energy storage technologies and highline power solutions.
Customers in the Middle East have recently conducted successful trials of these solutions. Among these solutions is the nanO2 fuel enhancer, a highly effective fuel additive designed to optimise the performance of diesel, biodiesel and dual-fuel engines. With nanO2 fuel enhancer, fuel efficiency and carbon emissions improve by 6-8% without expensive engine modifications. This technology delivers a tangible environmental impact and operational cost savings.
We have successfully installed the Canrig ILLUMIC Lighting System for customers in Saudi Arabia, which enhances workers’ visibility and overall wellsite illumination. ILLUMIC is an LED crown-mounted lighting system that increases the LED’s lifespan by over 10 years, lowers overall noise by reducing the number of generators at the rig site, saves fuel and lowers carbon emissions.
The SmartPOWER engine management system, like the auto-start-and-stop feature on modern vehicles, uses AI to analyse live rig data and automatically runs the optimal number of engines to meet the rig’s forecasted power demand.
The PowerTAP highline power transformer module, which is used to plug the rig into the local power grid, virtually eliminates Scope 1 rig emissions. PowerTAP is currently deployed on 20 rigs.
How important is the GCC region for Nabors, and how are you expanding in the UAE and Saudi Arabia?
The GCC region is extremely important for us. It’s a huge piece of our portfolio. Nabors has over 35 years of experience in the Middle East and continues to deliver energy without compromise. Nabors is focusing on deploying advanced technologies, automation solutions and digital platforms to enhance drilling operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. We recently completed DC-to-AC rig upgrades and successful retrofits in the region.
Nabors operates multiple rigs in Saudi Arabia under SANAD (a JV with Saudi Aramco and Nabors Drilling) and installed high-end edge computing at rig sites in Saudi Arabia to enable high-frequency data transmission, remote operations and data analytics, and mobilised the first Canrig Sigma top drive.
Canrig, a division of Nabors, recently opened a newly expanded facility in Saudi Arabia. This facility provides newbuilds and repair, recertification and rebuilding services, and third-party drilling equipment.
Through Rigline Training Services, we have deployed training simulators in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia led by our subject-matter experts.