Weatherford plans to up its digital game despite Chapter 11

New Production Intelligence 4.0, Victus managed pressure drilling solution announced as company seeks protection from creditors. Forbes analyst sees warning to ‘whole oil services sector’.

Like a flower blooming before it dies, Weatherford has been busy in the digital domain as the company heads off into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A new ‘Production intelligence 4.0’ solution sees Weatherford’s ForeSite lift control and production optimization solution deployed at the ‘edge’ i.e. the well site. ForeSite is available in both hosted and Google Cloud-based installation, along with CygNet IoT/SCADA software and MQTT data feeds.

Weatherford also unveiled Victus, an intelligent managed pressure drilling solution based on the company’s experience in some 7,600 MPD operations. For floating drilling vessels, Victus includes a new automated MPD riser system that has cut installation time from two days to less than 20 minutes.

Weatherford’s ForeSite and CygNet platforms monitor and optimize 460,000 wells around the world, along with 125,000 miles of oil and gas pipeline and some 30 billion daily data updates. Not enough however to save the company, which has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A Reuters report has it that Weatherford ‘never recovered from the 2014 oil price collapse’ despite efforts sell assets and pare debt. The company recently disposed of its surface data logging and laboratory services businesses (see Done deals).

Forbes analyst Dan Eberhart sees this as a warning to the whole oil services sector which he describes as ‘in the tough position of being the first to get hurt when oil prices plunge and the last to profit when a recovery finally happens’. Eberhardt reports that share prices for bigger, stronger rivals like Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes are ‘trading at multi-year lows with dismal earnings outlooks’. Weatherford plans to continue operating its businesses ‘without any disruption to its customers and other partners’.

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