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DD-MWD-LWD Remote Operations
30 May 2020

Dear All,

Currently we are discussing internally and also with the service providers to reduce the personnel on the rig site and pursue more on the remote operations, especially latest amid COVID-19 pandemic. Initially we are targeting DD-MWD-LWD services and reduce rig site people to 3 and soon to 2 only and get support via remote operations center.

Could you share your company experiences with remote operations, not only limited to DD-MWD-LWD but other services as well?


Sinasi Eren.

6 answer(s)
SPREAD Associates
Total Posts: 146
Join Date: 05/03/08
Hi Sinasi,

I'd echo the question of Harald - are you talking about directional development wells, or exploration wells where the emphasis will be more on data gathering?

Are you looking at multiple wells in a remote location, or is logistical support close by?

Is it a dual-mast Rig so you can build the next BHA offline?

In any case, you'd need to look at a combination of things to reach the most cost-effective solution.

For example, if you can drill each hole section with a single bit & BHA, then remote monitoring should be able to reduce your headcount.

But if you need more than one bit & BHA per hole section, then you'd have to decide on the correct manning level to be able to cope with L/D and then picking up a new BHA on the trip.

In addition, in this scenario will the Operator want the memory data down loaded immediately or will they be prepared to wait until the new BHA is being RIH?

How reliable are the tools? If you have had good reliability, then this can also play a part in your decision with respect to manning levels.

In the event of a problem, how quickly can you get additional support out to the Rig? For example, if there is a problem with the tools, how quickly can you get someone out there to help with trouble shooting - I'm thinking of the scenario where there is a down hole tool failure and after several hours of attempting to remedy the problem, the decision is made to POOH.

Can the wellsite crew get enough rest before having to be on the Rig Floor to change out the BHA, or will you have to get additional people out?

On a directional well, a DD is not interchangeable with an LWD engineer and even with remote monitoring, I can't see you getting away from having to have 24 hr DD coverage.

Also, look at how much the Service Company is charging to provide the remote monitoring service - on a recent Well I was involved on, this charge would have been about the same as having an additional person on the Rig in the first place.

All the best!

Drilling Engineer
Total Posts: 3
Join Date: 04/08/15
Hi Sinasi

It depends on what exactly your requirement & location of drilling.

Remote DD operations are very much possible and nowadays many companies are adopting this.

SLB is very good in this. They are doing this for ADNOC Onshore now for many years. What you need is really nice data transmission to town like WITSML or Blue Box or equivalent.

You cannot 100% eliminate the DD-MWD crew but for sure can recede to 80%. Even in remote ops, you need to keep one experienced DD on board and full back up sets. This DD can keep track on surface set up and some down-hole trouble shooting.

On other side DD company must have full fledged RTOC center.
Based on the real time data DD in the town can give continuous instructions to the driller and that's all.

Sure question will be there like trouble shooting of down hole equipment which is most common but all can be done from town on symptoms basis.

SLB has a very nice set upon Abu Dhabi and they are even catering to US shales from Abu Dhabi. They have new RSS system NeoSteer which was first used in US Shale drilling and was remotely operated from Abu Dhabi. I can give you only SLB experience as I used them only. but for sure others can you.

Limitations: In case of downhole trouble shooting not successful, you don't have much choice and no first hand experts report and so only option is to POOH.

This type of ops are good where you have developed Oil & Gas industry where you can logistically support the ops immediately.   
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 460
Join Date: 10/01/05
Hello Sinasi

This is a fantastic question!  

At a recent v-LWOP (virtual Log Well on Paper) that we facilitated for a client in Norway, this same subject was discussed and the Business Partner (DD-MWD-LWD-ML) was setting up for remote support with a reduced crew on the Wellsite.

During the break-out discussion, it was noted that Equinor were already running remote support pre-COVID; with reduced headcount offshore.

I do also know that this was being done, in some cases, in the UK.

To slightly misquote George Bernard Shaw, and in the words of Joel Barker (Futurist),in his video "The Business of Paradigms', .....  "those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are already doing it".

I have emailed the team in Norway to see if they are willing to share their experience.

I hope they can


Sir Drilling Specialist
Total Posts: 9
Join Date: 27/03/17
How are you going to troubleshoot problems? How to change and adapt to well conditions? By video calls?  Whilst drilling some difficult trajectory, on a difficult well? How is that going to work, and risking everything, and the cost of losing the hole? 

Managing Director
International Consulting & Trading - Europe
Total Posts: 6
Join Date: 09/09/14

Just to be the devil's advocate, what EXACTLY do you mean with "DD-MWD-LWD services" ... ??

And, more importantly, what exactly are you assuming are then the deliverables of these services ?
Total Posts: 1
Join Date: 14/03/15
My Experience in remote drilling services like MWD/LMWD and RSS is positive and negative. I did both and can share my experience.

The positive, we all know: having a nice quiet office, working AC, a working coffee machine and no stress from the company man or geologist, 8 hours behind the desk and off for a nice meal and sleep in a clean bed with cold sheets. ;-)

The negative: you have no clue what's going on on the rig except the drilling parameters & surveys and you have to imagen what's going on, why did they PU from the bottom, stroke counters are not working properly and you can't get connect with the operator on the rig when you need to know more.
You can't do the daily walk around the rig and have a look at the shakers and a chat with the guys on the tanks, meanwhile have a peak what the MW really is...., etc, etc. Life on the rig can't be digitalized. The noise, the smell, the lights...... if you are not there, you don't know what's going on.

At the end of the day, it's about a satisfied client who pays less and your timesheets signed off and if the objective is reached nobody cares but when the shit hits the fan, you better be at the rig site in my opinion.

Posted by

Sinasi Eren

well engineering specialist


Total Posts: 1
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