Photo: Illustration; Source: Maersk Drilling

New solution from Maersk Drilling digitalises core workflows in offshore wells

Danish offshore drilling contractor Maersk Drilling has launched a digitally focused company, named Horizon56, to spearhead, support, and drive forward the digitalisation of offshore drilling processes.

Maersk Drilling reported on Tuesday that, for the past two years, it led the efforts to develop a product to support digitalisation. The solution is known as RigFlow and has now been segregated into Horizon56 to push forward further development and commercialisation.

Marika Reis, Chief Innovation Officer, Maersk Drilling, commented: “This is a natural step for the RigFlow solution and team. Horizon56 will become the first digital company that solely focuses on creating an industry-leading solution for offshore, and by doing so we ensure that it has the necessary agility to operate and quickly adapt to market trends, as well as enabling the team to independently engage with the market in the pursuit of customers, partnerships, and investors.”

Founded as a fully-owned Maersk Drilling subsidiary, Horizon56 hopes to attract strategic investors over time to further develop the company and its products and services. The purpose of Horizon56 is to develop and provide digital solutions and services to both oil and gas companies and drilling contractors, with a goal to branch out to adjacent markets outside the oil and gas sector.

Horizon56 - RigFlow
Source: Horizon56

The company’s first offering is the RigFlow solution which standardises and digitalises the core workflows involved in the well construction process within offshore drilling operations, including real-time exchange of information between energy companies’ onshore planning units, the offshore drilling operations teams operating the rig, and the service companies supporting the operations.

In addition, it also contains a convenient and user-friendly solution for providing digitalised drilling instructions, as well as automated reporting of data and insights to support quicker and deeper analysis of drilling operations.

Morten Kelstrup, Chief Operating Officer, Maersk Drilling, stated: “The RigFlow solution is a testament to our desire to push the boundaries of the offshore drilling industry. The positive operational impact from RigFlow that we have seen so far is great, supporting more competitive energy production with an overall lower carbon footprint. This remains critical for us and our customers and I’m sure that we’re still only scratching the surface of what can be achieved through digital solutions.”

RigFlow was previously called Drilling Process Platform (DPP). It was scoped and developed by Maersk Drilling’s Innovation team from early ideation and validation in 2019. The solution was designed, tested, and deployed across several Maersk Drilling rigs following extensive operational and market research. Based on Maersk Drilling’s statement, the scoping and development of this solution were carried out in collaboration with digital leaders in the oil and gas sector, including Aker BP and Equinor.

RigFlow process Horizon56
RigFlow process; Courtesy of Horizon56

Esben Thorup, the Managing Director of Horizon56, who previously led the development of RigFlow within Maersk Drilling, remarked: “From our dialogues with global oil and gas operators we see that the timing for the RigFlow offering fits well with market trends, and we expect global demand to build over the years to come. We’re thrilled to be part of driving industry digitalisation forward, and our product roadmap includes additional exciting solutions that will increase the value creation for operators and contractors even further.“

Horizon56 will have offices and employees located in Copenhagen, Stavanger, and Aberdeen, and support customers globally. It will also continue to provide RigFlow services to Maersk Drilling, supporting the delivery of more efficient, consistent, and digitalised drilling operations to Maersk Drilling’s customers, based on Maersk’s statement.

“I look forward to the continued digitalisation of our operations and of the industry at large, and RigFlow will be an important part of that journey,” concluded Kelstrup.

It is worth reminding that Maersk Drilling announced its intention to merge with its rival Noble Corporation last month. However, Standard Drilling, as a shareholder in Noble Corporation, said it would consider voting against the proposed merger, and added that “this is not a merger of equals.”

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If the merger goes through, the combined company will be named Noble Corporation and will boost a high-end fleet comprising of 20 floaters and 19 jack-up rigs.