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Drilling Automation Research at the University of Texas at Austin

Recorded On: 01/27/2015

In an innovative move, the University of Texas under the guidance of Professor Eric van Oort has opened laboratories targeting drilling automation. The drilling automation laboratory features a drill rig simulator, the first of its kind at an American University, and students and faculty have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities that supports research, development and teaching. The talk will describe the current and future capabilities of the drilling automation laboratories, the goals of the drilling automation program at UT Austin, and current research topics such as automatic rig sensor data validation.

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Dr. Eric van Oort


Dr. van Oort holds a PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Amsterdam, and held a variety of senior technical and managerial roles over a 20-year period with Royal Dutch Shell. He joined UT Austin in early 2012 to return to his passion for teaching and R&D as tenured Professor in Petroleum Engineering. Dr. van Oort is a co-Principal Investigator of the Offshore Energy Safety Institute (OESI), is the co-founder of two start-up companies (Genesis RTS and R5 Automation) and is CEO of his own consulting firm (EVO Energy Consulting). At UT, he runs one of the largest drilling R&D groups in academia, with 15 graduate students, 10+ undergraduate researchers, 6 full-time research scientists and additional support staff. He is the director of the RAPID (Rig Automation and Performance Improvement in Drilling) consortium. He is an SPE Distinguished Lecturer and SPE Distinguished Member. His areas of expertise include: complex well construction, drilling automation, real-time monitoring (RTM), drilling optimization, rock-fluid interactions and wellbore geomechanics, drilling fluid design, cementing & zonal isolation, hydraulic fracturing and associated water management.

Dr. Pradeep Ashok

UT Austin

Dr. Ashok is a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and a Research Scientist in the Drilling and Rig Automation Group at UT Austin. Previously he was the Program Manager and Chief Scientist of the Robotics Research Group at U.T. Austin where he managed projects funded by ONR, NASA, DARPA, John Deere, Union Pacific and Intuitive Surgical. He has authored 10+ publications in decision making theory and sensor data fusion as well as 20+ technical reports on actuator design and advanced controls. He holds multiple patents in the field of data analysis, pattern recognition and decision making. His primary research focus is drilling automation technologies and the development of a visual decision support tool for enhancing human in the loop decision making capabilities.

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Web Event
Recorded 01/27/2015
Recorded 01/27/2015 Scheduled for 90 minutes.