The Drillbotics Team of the University of Mines and Technology has topped the Virtual Directional Drilling Rig Simulator Design option for the 2022/2023 International Drillbotics Competition organised by Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) under the auspices of Society of Petroleum Engineers to accelerate the uptake of automation in the Oil and Gas industry.
The 2023 Drillbotics contest attracted 13 teams across the globe with 7 countries from 4 continents participating. UMaT represented Africa as the only participating University from the continent. Together with 5 other teams, UMaT competed in the Virtual Rig category with options to choose between Well Control and Directional Drilling. 4 of the participating universities accepted the challenge to design a directional drilling simulator, whereas 1 team, the University of Stavanger (Norway) opted for the well control design. After the first round, only UMaT was able to sail through to Phase II in her category with a virtual rig with its corresponding control scheme to drill directional wells to autonomously hit the target subsurface within the constraints of safety and economics. The Drillbotics report validated the innovative work done by the team UMaT to design and drill a difficult well trajectory with ease.
The UMaT Drillbotics team is a multidisciplinary team, made up of students from 3 departments namely Joel Adu-Awuku and Adu Gyamfi Owusu, Final Year Petroleum Engineering, Miss Precious Sagoe, Second Year Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, Aaron Ontoyin Yin, Second Year Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Eyram Dela Kuwornu, Final Year Computer Science and Engineering and Joel Mensah, Team Lead and a graduate of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. The team seeks to come up with innovative ideas to influence the growth of the Oil and Gas industry.
The Drillbotics is an international competition sponsored by SPE, where students have the ability to design their own lab-sized drilling rigs and compete against each other. In recent years, the competition has been expanded to include the development of a drilling simulator, where students can implement different models and learn how they interact and implement their own modeling and control ideas etc.