From HPHT Milestones to AWOS Advancements: Aurora’s Year in Review and 2024 Roadmap

As the new year marks eighteen years of Aurora, it’s a chance for us to look back at our work in the drilling optimisation field throughout 2023. This blog post will cover the projects we completed, the challenges we encountered, the partnerships we established, and the ambitious objectives we aim to achieve in 2024.

Key HPHT drilling project undertaken in 2023

Aurora completed a high-profile High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) appraisal well for a global operator in the UK CNS. Tasked with developing the drilling strategy for the primary 17 ½” and 8 ½” drill systems to complete each section in one run, we employed our blank canvas approach – planning meticulously to achieve operational efficiency. The strategy aimed to ‘plan what to use and use what you plan’.

The 17 ½” hole section delivered improved drilling performance over the recently drilled offset well. Using a more efficient fixed cutter drill bit design (20% based on previously used design), a 21.4ft/hr improvement in on-bottom ROP was delivered with no significant change in input parameters. Therefore, this well spent 50% less time below the minimum efficiency threshold and delivered a 44% increase in ROP in the difficult formations to drill at the base of the hole section.

The success continued into the 8 ½” hole section, with a notable 2.5 days of rig cycle time savings attributed to the adoption of revised cutting structures recommended by Aurora.

Opportunities, challenges, and plans for 2024

Our recent conversations around geothermal projects are gaining momentum. This marks a significant return to this sector since our involvement in 2008 and 2009 when drilling 5000m wells with extremely high bottom hole temperatures. In addition, we are working on a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project with tight economics thrusting optimised drilling performance to the fore. We need to deliver a usable wellbore in the shortest time frame to meet the different economic models. We hope to share our learnings on this later this year.

Despite our achievements, there were challenges also. A significant hurdle was the reduced inventory for daily call-offs, coupled with increased lead times for ordering new equipment. Although most of these challenges were out of our control, by collaborating closely with our clients, we emphasised early planning to ensure timely delivery of critical components in the Bottom Hole Assembly (BHA), mitigating these challenges to the best of our ability.

Collaboration is also key for enhancing the AWOS capability, so in 2023, we kicked off a discussion with Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Our plans for AWOS will help us better serve our clients by boosting drilling optimisation outcomes.

In 2024, Aurora is committed to dedicating substantial resources to refine our AWOS software. By introducing two new features, our clients will achieve better drilling efficiency through the in-depth insights that AWOS provides. We are excited about these features as we enter the final stages of testing and implementation. Look out for our update announcement on social media and on our website in the coming weeks.

To tell us about your existing and upcoming drilling projects, email us at