Big Data Comes to EQT – Drilling Now Done Remotely from Pittsburgh

Noble Energy drilling simulator

Back in 2015 MDN editor Jim Willis had an experience he won’t forget. Cabot Oil & Gas chief geologist Buddy Wylie gave Jim and landowner Chris Acker a personal tour of two wells being drilled on Chris’ property. Wyle is THE guy most responsible for Cabot’s enormously successful drilling program in Susquehanna County. As a reminder, Cabot (a single company) currently produces 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Susquehanna County (a single county), representing 2.6% of ALL natural production in the U.S.! Jim won’t forget Buddy regaling us with the wonders of mud logging. 🙂 Part of the tour included a visit to “the dog house”–the control center that sits atop the drilling rig. The dog house/control center is packed with computers and monitors–akin to something you might see in a jet cockpit. Just like the military now flies airplanes unmanned (drones) with people sitting in a control room thousands of miles away, drilling rigs are now being steered and controlled by a remote cockpit (dog house) hundreds of miles away. Big Data has come to the oil patch–at least it has for the country’s largest natural gas-producing company, EQT. What started as an experiment a year ago has blossomed into a control center operating all 10 of EQT’s active drilling rigs. All directional drilling, geosteering and drilling engineering, happens from a control center in EQT’s Pittsburgh headquarters. It’s really cool stuff. Beyond being cool, it saves money and time, making the company more efficient. Up next? Remote control of fracking operations…

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