Tomorrow’s technology, today
Leveraging more than 800 worldwide manufacturing, sales and services locations to supply solutions that best meet the quality, productivity and environmental requirements of the energy industry, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) has been dedicated to ensuring its customers receive the highest quality oilfield products and services since it was formed in 1841.
A worldwide leader within the oil and gas industry, NOV provides major mechanical components for land and offshore drilling rigs, complete land drilling and well servicing rigs, tubular inspections, drill string equipment, extensive lifting and handling equipment, and a broad offering of downhole drilling tools. In addition, NOV provides supply chain services through its global network of distribution service centres.
“What the company has been working on over the last few years is the development of integrated software and systems centered around the principle of giving our industry the ability to access a drilling rig with their own software and actually drive the rig in either an autonomous or automated fashion,” explains David Reid, NOV’s chief sales officer and senior vice president of global accounts. “What NOV has done is bring together the NOV Automation programme called NOVA™ that exists across the company and its NOVOS™ operating system to create a platform that handles applications through an online store.
“This allows operators to actually plan their well design and then input it directly to the drilling control system via NOV’s operating system. This is downloaded through a NOVOStore™ onto the rig system that will respond to drilling commands automatically. What typically happens in the field today is that someone with a well computation provides a driller with verbal directions to drill the planned well. What NOV has done is create a system whereby neither of these individuals needs to be physically involved, rather they can simply download the application and feed it into the system.”
As David goes on to highlight, anywhere there is repeated behavior, this can be turned into an application that handles the work whilst the human element works to monitor variants: “What the application will also do is flag up any anomalies or surprises within the system and provide a series of options to deal with it. In many ways it is like a cruise control concept, where as soon as the operator notices a change in acceptable conditions they take control of the system. Overall the best wells and practices will become the norm for the process with a more consistent result.”
Being at the technological forefront of the industry is something that is clearly of critical importance for NOV: “What the company strives to do on a continuous basis is look at the business it has and serve it well while always looking of a new edge that will allow it to develop new systems and add value through them,” David continues. “When it comes to other companies, the vast majority tend to work on one product with a set of engineers. What makes NOV unique is that it looks to touch upon every aspect of the drilling process by taking a more holistic view of the world around it.”
Another area that the company has recently moved into involves FPSOs: “In the drilling sector NOV has worked to overcome the overall cost problems that arise from delays and variants during the construction of complex drilling rigs by taking ownership and building all the complex elements inside a drilling package on a floating vessel. This methodology matches the challenges of FPSO construction today,” David states. “Since moving into this field the company has carried out some packaging work with an increasing number of businesses enquiring into how NOV can help reduce their project overruns. It is another example of the company’s holistic approach, introducing new technologies that are designed to work together to ultimately create a better product for the end user.”
The positive, forward thinking attitude of NOV means that the company is always looking to see opportunities ahead of it to capitalise on, regardless of whether or not the market is going through a period of growth. It is an unwavering belief held by David and the rest of the team that the industry will always require new solutions to challenges, ideas that will make processes and operations more efficient. It is for this very reason that the company is always investing heavily in new developments and technologies and takes great pride in bringing these to market.
“NOV has successfully transitioned from being a traditional manufacturer of products to a holistic solutions company. With this in mind, the next stage in its evolution is to start targeting products that target the value problems the industry will increasingly face,” David enthuses. “The industry is moving into a world where the greatest levels of operations value will stem from keeping systems up and available for use. This is one area of focus with the other being the performance side of the business, which will revolve around optimising the performance of various systems and machines.
“There are many important developments also in the pipeline, not least of which is the work NOV is carrying out on its supply chain business, leveraging the work our own manufacturing group has done to improve integration with it’s suppliers. Here it is looking to streamline its work, improving costs while also providing technologies that are smarter and can help improve overall inventory efficiency. Here the company’s approach will remain the same thus allowing it to find a holistic way to improve performance, solve problems and ultimately provide NOV’s customers with the tools necessary to make more of a profit from what they do.”
National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
Services: Drilling and production equipment and services