The report was prepared by Sintef in connection with the PSA’s work on digitalisation and ICT security. The PSA’s goal for this work was to help the industry give a high priority to safety and the working environment when developing and implementing digital technology in the companies.

The report summarises findings from the project deriving from: 

  • A literature review
  • A review of investigation reports
  • Gathering information from the industry
  • A review of regulations and standards
  • A workshop with selected participants

Drilling is a promising area for automation and this can contribute to increased recovery by enabling drilling in difficult wells and in formations that were previously undrillable. Automation may also promote more efficient drilling and support earlier detection of failure events. Increased automation of drilling operations can however lead to work roles changing from active to more supervisory in nature. This can be a cause of reduced situational awareness.

Clear information about the state of the system and support for the transition between automatic and manual control are consequently important safety factors. This requires high quality in human-machine interfaces and the presentation of the automated systems must be transparent to allow increased understanding of the process and to anticipate future actions.

The development of automated solutions and the opportunities they offer for operational efficiency are very much in focus. However, a lack of knowledge about and follow-up of human and organisational factors, such as training and analysis of changes in work tasks, is also being observed.

The study’s findings also show that development projects for automated systems that have focused on user-centred design generate positive feedback from user involvement. Experiences from sectors that have focused on user-centred design and human factors have demonstrated high levels of safety and effective systems with good usability. 

This knowledge will make an important contribution to the PSA’s future work in monitoring industry participants.