Teaching An Old Rig New Tricks



It’s a rig-eat-rig market out there, with competitors losing millions to sell their services at variable cost — often with depreciated assets stretched to the limit on maintenance and repairs. The only two ways to win in this environment are by lowering costs or increasing value to your operators. Here’s a solution that can help you do both: the Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) from Caterpillar.

The elephant in the room — fuel usage

At a high level, mergers and fleet reductions have done much to reduce costs, but what’s the solution at the operator level? Can anything be done in the short term to make a rig more attractive without requiring significant capital expenditures? The answer is yes, and it has everything to do with fuel.

More than 60% of the expenses associated with building, running, maintaining and repairing a rig go toward fuel. Fuel costs are nearly always paid by operators — they’re also fully tracked, documented and used by operators in rig selection and contract negotiations. Any drilling contractor who wants to maintain existing contracts, acquire new ones or achieve more profitable day rates knows that reducing fuel use provides immediate “next contract” value.

Double-digit savings you can track and communicate

A cursory review of offshore publications or a stroll around OTC reveals that the number-one way for a supplier to reach your drilling heart is through your fuel belly. Claims made by many suppliers are quite amazing, yet often totally unverifiable. And unverifiable means you can’t communicate them to the people who award contracts or pay increased day rates. Without compensation or recognition of the fuel-saving benefits of capital expenditures, how can a rig owner invest?

Understanding the need for low-cost, verifiable fuel-efficiency options led Caterpillar to develop the Multi-Engine Optimizer. Using proprietary performance data, MEO provides a rig’s existing power management system with the capability to select the optimum combination of engines and engine load points to achieve the lowest possible fuel consumption.

Depending on rig load profile, an MEO-driven power management system can produce double-digit savings — which can be documented against standard operating practices and communicated remotely to shore management or even to the operator.

Easy to install, engaging to use

A non-invasive solution for new builds or retrofits, MEO doesn’t displace hardware but provides performance map and algorithm intelligence to the existing power management system. The cabinet takes up less than a square meter of space so it’s easy to install in the control room or engine room. Fuel flow meters (just 20 cm long) can be mounted above or below deck alongside the engines.

Knowing that technology is only effective if people accept and use it, we designed the vessel screens, touchscreen display and cabinet to motivate the crew to take action. MEO information is integrated into the rig’s data system, allowing the crew to see the benefits of — and just as important, the consequences of ignoring — its optimization. Typical information includes:

  • Actual savings percentage
  • MEO maximum potential savings percentage
  • Day/trip/lifetime fuel savings
  • Day/trip/lifetime lost savings due to partial use of MEO
  • MEO recommended engine use
  • Implement MEO recommendations button
  • Week-by-week fuel savings, lost savings and percentage of MEO usage

Bringing MEO on board a rig is like having an expert lead engineer available 24/7 to parallel engines operating at different independent load points — all without the requirement of coffee breaks or a good rig cook. Talk to your local Cat® dealer to learn more about it.




Multi-Engine Optimizer

Multi-Engine Optimizer

Multi-Engine Optimizer (MEO) works by advising an offshore rig’s power management system on which engines to operate and at what load to operate each engine.

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Offshore Drilling & Production

Offshore Drilling & Production

We know reliable rig power is vital to keeping your drilling and production operations running quickly, safely and efficiently.

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