A New Condition Monitoring System Improves the Reliability of the RCD Element During the MPD Jobs


Krzysztof Karol Machocki; Zahrah Marhoon; Amjad Shaarawi; Ossama Sehsah; Tom Dixon; Jamal uddin Muhammad


SPE - Society of Petroleum Engineers

Publication Date

September 14, 2021


IADC/SPE Managed Pressure Drilling & Underbalanced Operations Conference & Exhibition, September 14–16, 2021

Paper ID



Managed pressure drilling (MPD) is a technology that allows for precise wellbore pressure control, especially in formations of uncertain geomechanical properties (in specific: Fracture pressure and pore pressure gradients). The rotating control device (RCD) is the backbone to the MPD equipment. A new condition monitoring system was developed to improve the reliability of the RCD elements and to eliminate its catastrophic failures during MPD jobs.

The new method to increase the reliability of an RCD is based on understanding and quantifying the factors affecting the lifetime of the RCD components. The condition monitoring system was designed to be attached onto the RCD and collect data from an array of sensors during the MPD jobs.

Sensors are measuring: vibrations, acoustic emissions, rotation, pipe movement, temperatures and contamination level in the coolant fluid.

System is capable to display the measurements in the real time to the operator, giving early warnings to take actions in order to prevent catastrophic failures of the RCD during the job. Data is also recorded to allow further processing and analysis using ML and AI techniques.

The authors will discuss in detail the background and rationale to the new technology, including a review of the condition monitoring system, its elements, and functionality. The system design and intended operation will be explained including, sensors and data collection points in the condition monitoring process.

No catastrophic failures of the RCD were encountered when the RCD condition monitoring system was installed and running in the field up to date. The measurements collected from the array of sensors and presented in the real time to the MPD operators, allows to monitor changes in condition of the critical RCD elements. From the system design, sensor type, and frequency of data inputs, it was concluded that the quantification of some parameters affecting the lifetime of RCD could be successfully performed in post analysis, using advanced AI techniques.

This condition monitoring system can optimize the MPD operations, making MPD jobs safer and reducing the Non Productive Time.

The novelty of this condition monitoring system is in the approach of measuring and displaying critical values to the operator during the job and possibility to quantification of the factors affecting the RCD elements lifetime.