Digital ECO platform: Kamil Zakirov Interview

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ROGTEC MAGAZINE, April 2022, Kamil Zakirov, CEO, ECO System

As the world moves towards the digitalization of oil and gas operations, we speak to Kamil Zakirov, CEO at ECO System.

In this interview, we discuss the “digital” development of the Russian upstream O&G sector and learn about at the ECO digital platform – a complete digital solution for drilling operations.

The last years have seen a big movement worldwide towards the digitalization of O&G operations. How do you see the development and adoption of the “Digital Oilfield” in Russia?

We are seeing great activity in this matter both in Russia and in the world. The industry has finally welcomed the fact that digitalization could provide a significant leap forward in improving the efficiency of all processes. No big breakthroughs in the classic three “People-Processes- Technologies” have been observed in the past, and are not expected, because “people are trained, processes are set up, technologies are close to perfection.”

Digitalization is poised to not only improve every component of this trio, but also to become the fourth, independent adjective in this equation of the struggle for efficiency. The issue of digitalization has ceased to be theoretical; it is actively moving into a practical plane – a period of creation and implementation, trial and error, a period of great changes.

Today, we see an increasing amount of “Digital Solutions” being offered to the market, especially within the well construction process. With so many potential options for the digitalization of operations – what considerations must an operator or service contractor think about, to implement a successful transformation to the digital sphere?

Today’s situation is like the Gold Rush. People believed in Digital Eldorado and together rushed to look for it. Some are thoughtful and systematic, while others are disorderly and chaotic. The fever is happening on both sides – from the developers of digital solutions, which is understandable, but also from the side of users who are looking for the best digital solutions, because they understand that this is largely a matter of their competitiveness.

The problem on the part of developers is that often, in an attempt to ride the wave of demand, developers sell a beautiful picture, seasoned with the popular phrases like “artificial intelligence”, “machine learning” and others that catch the imagination of customers, while the most of calculations made in Excel and there is a lot of manual work.

The problem on the client side is often the lack of proficiency of their specialists and therefore the inability to formulate the technical task in a quality manner. Therefore, throwings from side to side, and gallant reports that “We have already digitized everything!”

Consistency, thoughtfulness, and an integrated approach are the three main tools for quality digitalization.

Tell us about the ECO System, the concept, and its position within the digital market.

For decades, the industry has dreamed of an unmanned, fully autonomous drilling rig capable of understanding the situation, making decisions, and independently drilling the most difficult wells.

Modern drilling hardware is almost ready for this – the industry produces quality drilling rigs with a lot of robotic equipment. The challenge is to equip this hardware with high-quality logic and intelligence.

Without exaggeration, ECO is the final step towards fully automated and autonomous drilling.

ECO defines and manages the entire technical and physical part of the life cycle of an oil, gas and geothermal well – design, drilling, completion, production, abandonment. What the user typically uses dozens of different tools for is combined into a single smart product, the heart of which is a dynamic digital twin, which provides such amazing functions as automatic well planning, real-time drilling analysis, predictive analytics, and many other mind-blowing features and capabilities. All in a single, user-friendly, easy to understand and use, and inexpensive tool.

The ECO System connects and integrates the entire value chain, from operators, drilling contractor and all associated service and technology companies.


So, who’s responsibility is it to implement and run the platform? And who will be the ultimate decision maker when the systems flag a warning or suggest a change to the agreed drilling plan?

Yes, ECO unites all participants in the process: the operator, engineers, drilling and service contractors, supervisors. It creates a transparent and predictable information environment for all participants, it strengthens all participants with real-time analysis of the situation, predictive analytics, and automatically performs a huge amount of routine work. But this does not eliminate the value chain itself, it multiplies the efficiency and quality of the entire value chain. Responsibility for decision-making has not gone anywhere from those specialists who previously made them, but transparency, predictability, speed, and quality of decisions were made. Productivity has increased dramatically.

In what oilfields has the ECO System system been implemented in Russia?

ECO is actively used in the Volga-Ural region, in Eastern Siberia. We have good experience in Western Siberia. Now we are simultaneously launching new projects in the Lower Volga, the Black Sea region, and in Komi Republic.

Why was ECO System chosen for these operations and why was it needed?

The complexity of the platform approach, the completeness of the functionality, the quality of the solutions implemented, the most modern technologies, ease of use and the availability of ownership are the main parameters for our clients.

And of course, the quality of our team. No overstating, we have one of the most professional teams on the market. The client very quickly sees the quality of the team’s work, and the responsibility, and the speed of response to their requests.

What proven benefits and gains were achieved in these operations as a direct result of the ECO digital platform?

Our users report strong results, both in terms of speed and quality, and in economic terms. The most obvious ones are an increase in the drilling speed by 15% or more, a decrease in accidents by 30% or more, and so on. There are already published independent reports available. One important thing to understand here: the results achieved are not final. ECO helps the user to run a model of continuous improvement and constantly improve their results using the experience and data already gained, and use them further, getting even better results with each subsequent well.

In short, the effect of using ECO is not one-time, and not one-vector.

Can the ECO system be integrated with other digital solutions currently implemented by operators or drilling contractors?

This is probably the key question. We have many examples where the user is an oil company, and there are many where the user is a drilling contractor. However, the best performance is achieved when users are simultaneously all participants in the well construction process – operators, drilling contractors, and service companies.

In this case, everyone works in a single analytical environment, in the most constructive, transparent, and predictable atmosphere, in a mode of maximum cooperation. And this model achieves the best results.

What are your plans for the distribution of this platform beyond Russia? Are you focusing any efforts internationally?

Our product is as international as possible. It is designed for English, Russian and Chinese speaking users. Since its inception, the system has been successfully launched and tested on four continents. Today we work on locations in the USA, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. We are deploying in two European countries before the end of 2021. The launch is scheduled for early 2022 in the Middle East.

Please summarise the key benefits for implementing the ECO System during the well construction process.

As succinctly as possible:

● In the short term – maximum transparency and predictability and significant improvements across a wide range of indicators;

● In the medium term – the cost of drilling one well is reduced by up to 30%;

● In the long term – transition to fully automated, and therefore trouble-free and inexpensive drilling.

Москва, 29 янв — ИА Neftegaz.RU. О цифровых решениях в бурении рассказывает Камиль Закиров — сооснователь цифровой платформы «ЭКО», выпускник Самарского государственного технического университета, Оксфордского колледжа энергетических исследований и Бизнес-школы университета INSEAD, в прошлом — вице-президент Weatherford International в России и странах СНГ и генеральный директор ГК Таргин.

Камиль Закиров
проекта ЭКО
— В нефтегазе, как практически во всех других индустриях, вопрос цифровизации является, пожалуй, самой модной и горячей темой. Мы понимаем, что само слово цифровизация может означать что угодно от цифрового документооборота до систем анализа больших баз данных и сложных математических вычислений с использованием элементов искусственного интеллекта. Чем конкретно занимается Ваша компания?

Большинство изобретений в материальной части нашей индустрии были сделаны годы и десятилетия назад. Во всех трех направлениях на сегодняшний день решения близки к идеальным: индустрия обладает огромным опытом и обширными данными, на которых строятся все следующие решения; оборудование и технологичное, и надежное; уровень оптимизации бизнес-процессов на максимально высоком уровне. Подавляющее большинство последних изобретений и нововведений находятся на уровне «улучшайзинга», каждое из которых улучшает общую экономику на доли процентов, и кажется, что больших революций не предвидится.

Где найти возможность получить действительно значимые изменения, способные одновременно повысить качество и безопасность буровых работ, увеличить скорость строительства скважин и уменьшить общие затраты на строительство скважин на 20 % и на 30 %?

Большой прорыв следующего уровня нам даст цифра. Не просто абстрактная цифра, а я бы сказал, умная и комплексная цифра, способная моделировать, анализировать, предсказывать и управлять. Мы видим, что с развитием технологий наиболее слабым звеном агрегатно-механических систем становится человек, этими системами управляющий. Человек не способен производить массированные и бесперебойные вычисления, он может забывать или ошибаться, человек устает. Ну и просто не во всех средах человек может находиться и работать.