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Lux Research

Drilling Robots Battle Low Oil Prices

Lux ResearchLow oil prices are driving operators toward innovations from robotic drilling to advanced seismic imaging, as they restructure and streamline operations to cut down non-productive time (NPT) and shave costs, according to Lux Research.

“Contingency costs arising from NPT typically account for about 10 percent to 15 percent of total drilling costs, and can rise as high as 30 percent, so start-ups with technologies that reduce NPT can make for attractive opportunities,” says Colleen Kennedy, Lux research analyst and lead author of Identifying Ways to Reduce Drilling Budgets in the Low Oil Price Environment.

In the report, Lux Research assessed technologies available to reduce oil drilling costs and rated 21 companies on the Lux Innovation Grid, based on their Technical Value and Business Execution. Among their findings:

Robotic drilling solves key problems. Robotic Drilling Systems enables robotic rigging in land and deep-water operations, reducing human deployment in adverse conditions. The unmanned technology cuts cost by reducing health, safety and environmental incidents, earning the company a “Dominant” position on the Lux Innovation Grid with high technical value and strong business execution.

Waveseis leads “High-potential” firms. Firms in the “High-potential” quadrant have strong technical value but lag on business execution. In this category, Waveseis is poised to be a long-term winner with its advanced seismic imaging for subsalt structures which can improve well planning and aid in mitigating drilling hazards.

Skynet, Matrix, Tesla are long shots. Three diverse companies landed in the “Long shot” quadrant with low technical value and weak business execution: Skynet Labs, Matrix Drilling Fluids and Tesla NanoCoating. Skynet develops mobile apps for calculating drilling parameters; Matrix sells specialty chemicals for drilling and completions; and Tesla creates non-corrosion coatings.


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