Disturbance Rejection by Feedback Control in Offshore Drilling: Experimental Results
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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As oil exploration and development costs rise, the oil industry increases its efforts to improve oil recovery (IOR) from existing fields. IOR is achieved mainly by drilling more wells, but drilling in partially depleted reservoirs is challenging due to narrow pressure margins. Offshore drilling in harsh environments, such as the North Sea, presents additional challenges, since the heaving motion from a floating rig induces large surge and swab pressures in the well. The paper suggests a remedy for this problem using automatic control of well pressure. Taking advantage of an experimental lab facility recently completed at NTNU, a model of the drilling system is developed using subspace identification methods. The model serves as a basis for state estimation and controller design using model predictive control. Applying the controller to the lab facility, pressure oscillations are suppressed by 70-90% compared to the open-loop case, depending on the period of the heave motion.