RHEOBOT – The Conceptual Design of an Autonomous Mud Testing Robot

Robert Koch

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Drilling fluid properties are critical for drilling operations. The drilling mud acts as the primary well barrier and is an essential parameter for drilling efficiency. It is crucial to maintain the optimum settings in order to ensure safe and efficient drilling operations. Two main parameters, rheology, and density are commonly evaluated manually at the rig site. The testing frequency relies on specific operator requirements but is currently not sufficient enough to properly support real-time decisions. Steadily evolving technological applications allow the operator to drill more complex wells, such as high-pressure and high-temperature, or extended reach wells. Together, with the increasing use of Managed Pressure Drilling systems to facilitate drilling of narrow mud windows, these operations especially require a higher frequency and transmission of drilling fluid measurements. The commonly used field-testing devices to measure the drilling fluid parameters were designed decades ago and did not keep up with the technological development of other drilling equipment. The manually testing procedures are error-prone, have low measurement frequencies, and thus cannot support the real-time decisions at the rig or remote operating centers. The drilling industry aims to develop higher degrees of automation regarding the handling of equipment and substances. The automation of drilling fluid measurements with high measurement frequencies can detect anomalies early enough to counteract and therefore reduce the non-productive time as well as the risk of any unwanted events. To provide consistent high-performance drilling operations and to perform the critical step-change to a fully automated drilling rig, a reliable autonomous drilling fluid measurement system is of great significance. This thesis presents the state of the art of drilling mud testing systems and develops a conceptual design of an autonomous mud testing robot, which increases the frequency of mud testing and provides a more detailed picture of the mud behavior during the drilling operations.
Translated title of the contributionRHEOBOT – Das Konzeptdesign für einen autonomen Bohrschlammtestroboter
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Thonhauser, Gerhard, Supervisor (internal)
  • Lettner, Anton, Co-Supervisor (internal)
Award date18 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • automation
  • concept design
  • drilling mud

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