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Automated Land Rig Successfully Drills First Well

Nabors PACE R801 400x275

October 7, 2021

Nabors Industries Ltd., which provides advanced technology for the global energy industry, has announced that its PACE-R801 automated land drilling rig has reached total depth on its first well, a horizontal well for ExxonMobil in the Permian Basin.

The PACE-R801 combines Nabors’ proprietary Smart Suite of automated drilling software with Canrig Robotics, creating an unmanned rig floor that removes crews from red zone areas and delivers consistent, predictable drilling performance.

Similar to concept vehicles in the automotive industry, this particular configuration of PACE-R801 is built to showcase Nabors technology and push the boundaries of industry performance and possibilities, the company said. The automation, robotics and digitalization technologies are available and operational across the Nabors fleet and third parties globally.

Insights gained from the R801 have been and will continue to be used to innovate and advance the next generation of technologies, which will focus on safety, efficiency and the environment. For example, recently deployed technology for Nabors SmartDRILL and SmartSLIDE drilling automation software was developed through the R801 initiative.

“There’s nothing else in the world like the PACE-R801 concept rig,” said Anthony Petrello, chairman, president and CEO of Nabors. “Its combination of advanced automation, digitalization and robotics represents a trifecta solution for an industry pursuing the highest levels of safety, efficiency and environmental performance in order to attain ESG goals.”

Utilization of the full suite of Nabors drilling automation software reduced drilling days for operators by four in the Permian and Williston Basins, and has shown promise to reduce drilling emissions, the company said. Crew size on the R801 is similar to other Nabors rigs, but the duties change. One driller is required to supervise the operations of the rig, while others continue to perform essential tasks, such as service, maintenance, inspections and rig moves. Most importantly, Nabors said, crews are no longer placed in red zone areas.

XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobile, contracted PACE-R801 to drill three horizontal wells on a test pad in Midland County, Texas, as part of its own R&D efforts and commitment to safe, efficient and responsible operations. The first well was drilled to a total measured depth of 19,917 feet.

“ExxonMobil’s collaboration with Nabors in deploying this automated rig in Midland demonstrates the ability to optimize drilling using the combined power of robotics, automation, computing and data,” said Jason Gahr, operations manager for unconventional drilling at ExxonMobil. “This is a great example of enhancing the safety, efficiency, and environmental performance of our operations through innovative technologies.”

For more details on Nabors and its technologies, visit its website here.

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