Drilling through narrow beds of hydrocarbons isn’t easy -- a few feet in the wrong direction and the well won’t produce as much oil as it should. Drill too far out of zone, and you have to start a new borehole, costing millions. Unfortunately, most drilling techniques can’t look very far ahead of the drill bit, so just like a driver with no headlights, a lot of expensive mistakes are made. Better predictive analytics reduce drilling risk and drilling costs, and increase the amount of recoverable oil and gas in the well.
Most traditional drilling visualization and analytics are focused on conventional vertical wells. Designing an intuitive experience and data model to co-visualize regional geology, logging-while-drilling data, and predictive analytics in deviated and horizontal boreholes was a real challenge not addressed by existing software.
Previous software teams had attempted the problem, but found it too difficult to build real-time updating visualizations in a browser, for easy use by staff on a bandwidth-constrained (satellite) drilling site wifi, as well as geologists and explorers back at company headquarters.
Expero designed the user experience for a complex data-driven analytics package in just three months, enabling implementation for a time-sensitive customer. Expero’s strong oil & gas experience was critical in making sure the design met the common challenges in subsurface software: complex data driven visualization, coordinated displays of information, large data volumes, and competing user demands from expert personas.
Extensive product owner and user interviews & design sessions
3 months to UX design completion
5 months to production
4 person team
Agile development and prototyping process
At least three distinct personas are involved in drilling such a well: drilling engineers, directional drillers, and geosteerers. Integrating the three workflows is a challenge which, until now, hasn’t been solved. Presenting the relevant analytics recommendations in a way that served each person’s needs was a difficult design problem. Several Expero consultants with deep subsurface expertise (spanning geology, drilling, and seismic data) worked with the client’s subject matter experts to design an experience that was useful, explanatory, and attractive.
Expero’s design process relied on guided interviews with the client experts, brainstorming and design thinking from Expero’s oil & gas practice experts, and review of gradually improving designs. An Expero architect with subsurface software experience worked with the group to ensure the designs were technically feasible given the constraints of the existing datasets and algorithms.
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