Look-Up-Table Based Drilling Automation System

Physical Sciences : Petroleum

Available for licensing


  • Pradeepkumar Ashok, Ph.D. , Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
  • Eric van Oort , Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
  • Adrian Ambrus , University of Texas at Austin
  • Parham Pournazari , University of Texas at Austin
  • Roman Shor , Petroleum Engineering

Background/unmet need

Numerous oil projects are cancelled because they are uneconomical to drill. This drives a growing need for a method of automation that can reduce the cost to drill and extract in oil and gas. Current technologies require differential equations from various domains, which make it unsuitable for integration, rapid adaptation, and visualization for troubleshooting purposes. These complicated automation algorithms also require someone with an advanced degree to monitor automation efforts. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a user-friendly automation system, named Look-Up-Table Based Drilling Automation System, which enables seamless data integration, real-time performance, and easy visualization for real-time troubleshooting.

Invention Description

The Look-Up-Table Based Drilling Automation System is a methodology based on lookup tables and allows data from multiple sources (operators, service providers, drilling contractors, rig owners, etc.) to be combined in an efficient manner. This system allows for rapid development, deployment, and adaptation of automation and control algorithms. It also eliminates the need to solve differential equations, and thus makes it possible for someone with vocational training to be a monitor of automated drilling operation. The visual aspect of the methodology makes it very user-friendly, gives the driller a better understanding of how the computers control the rig, and ultimately streamlines real-time troubleshooting.


  • Real-time performance
  • User-friendly
  • Rapid development and implementation of a control algorithm
  • Fine-tuned to a particular rig and a particular well


  • All models: steady-state, dynamic, equipment are represented as lookup tables
  • Seamless data integration
  • Easy visualization and interpretation for real-time troubleshooting
  • Allows for rapid adoption and large-scale implementation

Market potential/applications

Oil and Gas Exploration and Drilling Operators such as Shell, Apache, ConocoPhillips, Pioneer
Service companies such as NOV, Schlumberger

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed