Distinguished Lecturer - Rotary Steerable Systems: Current Trends & Future Directions

When:  Jan 13, 2020 from 11:00 AM to 01:00 PM (ET)
Speaker: Geoff DowntonSchlumberger
Time: Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, 11AM-1PM
Location: Schlumberger-Doll Research (1 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA USA)
Registration: Registration is required. Please RSVP with the link below and arrive 15 minutes early.


Rotary Steerable Systems (RSS) support a multibillion dollar directional drilling market. The ability to continuously rotate the drill string whilst the RSS controls the direction of hole propagation, enables high quality boreholes to be drilled faster and further than other methods. The internal intricacies of most RSS are confidential and diverse. Nevertheless, a useful discussion on the numerous steering principles employed, can still proceed when aided by a simple technique for understanding the likely response of any directional drilling system; be it rotary, bent housing motor or RSS. The design of the bottom hole assembly (BHA), impacts RSS steering performance and borehole quality in many subtle ways. For example, the positioning of sensors and actuators along the BHA; the speed and latency of communication channels between surface and BHA subsystems; can degrade borehole quality and promote instability, like spiraling, by adding undesirable delays into the steering control loop. The key supporting role played by complex simulations in designing RSS, will also be covered. RSS systems have undergone continuous evolution since their first appearance in the mid 1990’s, today’s new necessities like factory and automated drilling, are still driving new innovations as will be explored in the presentation. The one idea to take away is: that the science of RSS technology has been 25 years in the making, it underpins a highly competitive market environment, so expect further revolutionary developments in the next 25 years.


Geoff Downton is a Schlumberger Fellow and Senior Technical Drilling Advisor resident at the Schlumberger Stonehouse Product Centre facility in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. He has a PhD in Cybernetics, a Masters in Systems Control with distinction and an Honors Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

He is a member of the SPE, IEEE and the Institute of the Measurement and Control and is registered as a Chartered Engineer and European Engineer.

Since 1998 he has contributed to the development and innovation of Schlumberger’s rotary steerable systems and drilling tools with an interest in automation and control and has over 50 patents.

He is a founding member of the SPE’s Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section, a serving officer and past chairman.

Before joining Schlumberger, he was a program manager in the nuclear industry developing robots to inspect and repair reactors and prior to that he developed inertial navigation systems, sensors and control systems for the aerospace industry.


Schlumberger-Doll Research
1 Hampshire St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
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Chang-Yu Hou