Case Based Drilling Curriculum

CIG: Case Based Drilling Curriculum: Integrating Real Time Collaboration Center with a Hardware-in-the-Loop Drilling Simulator

Mehran Mehrabi, Mitch Pryor, Pradeep Ashok, Eric Van Oort (PI, not pictured) 

College of Engineering

World energy consumption is on the rise, and, as the oil and gas exploration area goes through a period of transformative technological change, there is an increased need for safe, environmentally friendly, low-waste drilling practices. The Case Based Drilling Curriculum: Integrating Real Time Collaboration Center with a Hardware-in-the-Loop Drilling Simulator creates a case-based curriculum for students in the field of oil and gas drilling. The curriculum exposes students to realistic oil and gas drilling scenarios that prepares them to engage a rapidly modernizing industry.

The case-based curriculum teaching methodology involves presenting students with problems (cases) inspired by real life scenarios and getting them to play the role of the decision maker. The Cockrell School of Engineering integrates drilling and completions case studies with the recently established Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) drilling simulator and the Real-Time Collaboration Center (RCC). Once the students analyze and study the cases, they execute their decisions and observe the system’s response to garner realistic feedback.

The HIL simulator provides a realistic surface experience; an advanced downhole model will be integrated to further improve the realistic feedback for the proposed case-studies. To maximize understanding of the cases, this project requires the inclusion of a downhole dynamics model that ideally accounts for flow, torque/drag, pore pressure, wellbore stability, vibration, Rate-of-Penetration (ROP), and geological models. The student has access to a real-time data visualizer which outputs data to the screen from the backend server. The students’ control input is based on their evaluation of the existing circumstances, and understanding of the parameters to modify for optimal results.

Case-based studies are attractive to industry, as they prepare students better for an industry career. Moreover, being exposed to realistic field cases may motivate students to better focus their studies and build industry contacts, possibly leading to earlier graduations. This project dramatically improves the Cockrell School of Engineering’s drilling curricula and provides a model for extending case-based teaching across the College.