Like just about every other modern industry, the oil drilling sector has seen profound changes since the introduction of cheap computer technology. Since the 1980s, the oil industry has been scrambling to implement automated and computer-aided solutions to the difficult problems that the industry faces, particularly around the areas of hard oil extraction. Tough oil plays, such as those found in top shale rock, buried deep below the ground or in offshore, deepwater sites, have proven to be difficult to extract by conventional means. The wide-scale deployment of highly sophisticated software has aided tremendously in the extraction of these tough to reach oil resources.
No one has done more in the oil extraction industry to promote and develop the use of highly sophisticated software systems than Nabors Industries. Under the leadership of Tony Petrello, Nabors Industries has been continuously developing some of the most technologically advanced solutions in the oil industry over the last three decades. One of these developments is its ROCKIT performance drilling software, a system that is capable of nearly completely autonomous drilling operations in tough shale and other hydraulic fracturing sites. The software has proven to be so successful that Nabors Industries has actually been able to license it out to other oil drilling companies. Currently, licensing and intellectual property make up a significant portion of Nabors Industries’ total revenues each year.
Petrello also led the company on to become one of the leading producers of directional drilling equipment. The company’s Canrig AC top drives are capable of successfully extracting some of the most difficult-to-reach oil, anywhere in the world. These systems have been widely deployed throughout North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation. It has been a crucial tool for drillers of shale oil plays, making the extraction of oil resources that were once considered impossible to be a matter of routine.