During the earliest oil booms, wells were dug haphazardly where oil seeped to the surface. But as with all booms, once the scent of oil was in the air, and the competition for productive well locations started to heat up, more and more expertise, ingenuity and creativity bred a set of best practices that has been tweaked and added to across the decades. Today, the word “haphazard” could never be used within a mile of an oil drilling operation. Safety, precision and hard science rule the day in the modern oil and gas industry.
Competition has led to more advanced techniques, such as directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (more commonly known as “fracking”), to get to oil and natural gas reservoirs that are deeper, more remote and more difficult to access.
Erdos-Miller, a Houston, Texas-based engineering solutions provider specializing in the oil and gas industry, thrives in these challenging conditions. The firm develops down-hole devices used in the drilling of advanced horizontal wells that not only help their clients get to well-concealed natural resources, but also provide critical drilling and operational data, directly from the drill tools.
Advanced horizontal wells fall under the directional drilling method, which is the practice of drilling non-vertical wells. Directional drilling is utilized for a number of reasons, including improved production, reduced surface impact and drilling an offshore well from an onshore location. This technique calls for an advanced set of tools and communication capabilities to ensure the precision of the operation and to troubleshoot unexpected issues.
When Ken Miller began his work in the oil and gas sector, the majority of the hardware being used in these applications utilized a serial protocol.
“Based on my experience with CAN at Texas Instruments, we began designing systems that used the CAN bus protocol instead,” said Miller.