Design and Experimental Validation of a Machine Learning Estimation System for Down-hole Drilling Performance


Jacob SACKS, Kevin CHOI, Kathryn GREENHILL, Jiann-Cherng SU, Stephen P. BUERGER, Byron BOOTS, Anirban MAZUMDAR

Key Words:

Down-hole Sensing, Machine Learning


Stanford Geothermal Workshop







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2131 KB

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Achieving robust and efficient drilling is a critical part of reducing the cost of geothermal energy exploration and extraction. Drilling performance is often evaluated using one or more of three key metrics: depth of cut (DOC), rate of penetration (ROP), and mechanical specific energy (MSE). All three of these quantities are related to each other. DOC refers to the depth a bit penetrates into rock during drilling. This is an important quantity for estimating bit behavior. ROP is the simply the DOC multiplied by the rotational rate, and represents how quickly the drill bit is advancing through the ground. ROP is often the parameter used for drilling control and optimization. Finally, MSE provides insight into drilling efficiency and rock type. MSE calculations rely on ROP, drilling force, and drilling torque. Surface-based sensors at the top of the drill are often used to measure all these quantities. However, top-hole measurements can deviate substantially from the behavior at the bit due to lag, vibrations, and friction. Therefore, relying only on top-hole information can lead to sub-optimal drilling control. In this work, we describe recent progress towards estimating ROP, DOC, and MSE using down-hole sensing. We assume down-hole measurements of torque, weight-on-bit (WOB). Our hypothesis is that these measurements can provide more rapid and accurate measures of drilling performance. We show how a multi-layer perceptron (MLP) machine learning algorithm can provide rapid and accurate performance when evaluated on experimental data taken from Sandia’s Hard Rock Drilling Facility. In addition, we implement our algorithms on an embedded system intended to emulate a bottom-hole-assembly for sensing and estimation. Our experimental results show that DOC can be estimated accurately and in real-time. These estimates when combined with measurements for rotary speed, torque, and force can provide improved estimates for ROP and MSE. These results have the potential to enable better drilling assessment, improved control, and extended component life-times.

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