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GE, Maersk team up on drilling technology

Companies will create a 'digital twin' to help cut costs and improve efficiency.

By Daniel J. Graeber
GE and Maersk Drilling to collaborate on digital technology to help improve drilling productivity and efficiency. File Photo courtesy NASA
GE and Maersk Drilling to collaborate on digital technology to help improve drilling productivity and efficiency. File Photo courtesy NASA | License Photo

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A new data-driven drilling program could increase the productivity of operations for Danish company Maersk, a marine division of GE announced.

GE said it was working with Maersk Drilling on a pilot program that uses advanced algorithms and sensor data to potentially increase productivity as well as cut maintenance costs by up to 20 percent. The program would create a so-called digital twin of the drilling operation and use advanced programming to help spot potential inefficiencies or failures ahead of time.

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"With the fast-paced changes of globally connected economies and shifting regional opportunities, marine operators need to transform themselves to be efficient, predictable and nimble," Tim Schweikert, the president and CEO of GE's Marine Solutions said in a statement. "Drawing critical insights from operational data is a crucial first step."

The collaboration with Maersk comes less than a month after the oil and gas division of GE acquired a 62.5 percent stake in oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

With both sides looking for signs of recovery in a market where some companies are reluctant to spend on the type of services Baker Hughes supplies, the combination gave both sides a win. For Baker Hughes, it's touting itself as a "new" company, while GE avoids the costs of a full acquisition.

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GE's oil and gas business has built up its position through acquisitions so that it's now one of the stronger divisions within the parent company.

The pilot program with Maersk will be carried out over the next calendar year.

"Currently, the project has reached its first milestone, with data collected from the rig currently being processed and analyzed online," GE said.

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