15 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JANUARY 2021 Just a Few Lines of Computer Code . . . by Britt Storkson - Owner, P2FlowLLC Recently, TheStreet published an article titled “Boeing 737 Crashes Caused by a Few Lines of Missing Code”. Can just a few lines of missing computer code cause an airliner to crash? Absolutely. Let’s take a minute to explain what computer code is and how it works. Computer code is the instruc- tions the microprocessor part (“the brain”) of the computer uses to make a computer “behave” as intend- ed. Not only is the instruction itself a critical component, but equally critical is where the instruction is located. As the microprocessor runs, it encounters a series of these instructions and executes whatever the instruction tells it to do. There is zero tolerance for error here. If an instruction has even one character (letter or number) wrong or located in the wrong place, it can make something happen (or not happen) completely differently than intended. I know all about this phenomenon. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out why my code wouldn’t work, only to find a wrong letter or missing punctuation mark was all that needed to be changed to make it work. Also, the right instruction in the wrong location can be equally problematic and must be corrected. That’s one of many reasons why testing is so important. And it’s also why the fewer instructions (lines of code) the better, because diligent testing of the code becomes exponentially more difficult and time-consuming as more code is added. In another article, I read the Boeing space division revealed the computer that operated their spaceship used one million lines of code. I would consider that an admission of failure, not something that should garner respect or admiration. And, sure enough, their first rocket launch failed catastrophically after spending something like $40 million to build it. So what did these few lines of missing code and neglecting to diligently test this code cost The Boeing Company? They have been called the Most Expensive Lines of Code in History for good reason: Boeing is out $20 billion, not counting pending lawsuits; 346 people are dead; 450 aircraft are grounded, worth about $45 billion; mistrust of Boeing and the 737 Max will last for years. These numbers are just for one model of aircraft from one aircraft manufacturer. Extrapolate these figures across all industries and one might wonder whether computers are even worth having around given all the death and destruction they have caused. I assure you that, indeed, computers are worth having around, but we need to work smarter, not harder. Britt Britt Storkson may be contacted via e-mail to email@example.com Hybrid Drill Bits Projected for Rapid Growth by 2026 Compiled by Editorial Staff, WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Drilling industry predictions indicate demand for innovative drilling methods will be the driv- ing factor for expanding the hybrid drill bit market. In the near future, North America is expected to dominate this relatively new market because of increased demand for more advanced drilling meth- ods in difficult structures like shale formations in the U.S. Although North America and Europe are expected to experience rapid growth, the Asia Pacific region should provide the greatest oppor- tunity for the hybrid drill market because of the increasing number of wells drilled each year. Conventional drill bits, each with particular strengths and weaknesses, are usually matched to specific applications. But, when there is not a clear solution to the drilling situation, modern hybrid bits lessen the difference between specific application bits, thus outperforming them in many situations. Mostly used for gas and oil drilling, these combinations of several drill bit designs can penetrate hard sandstone along with shale and siltstone while increasing speed, maintaining stability, and reducing time needed to complete the job. Currently, only a small number of manufacturers are producing hybrid bits for the world market. However, quite a few are involved in finding solutions through more research and development of this ever-evolving technology. Since 2013, industry leaders have steadily launched increasingly more efficient hybrid drills, culminating in mid-2018, with $160,000 saved on a well drilled in Southeastern Turkey. This was facilitated because the rate of penetration (ROP) increased by 43% as compared to other similarly- drilled wells. In the Middle East, a major operator facing losses due to a difficult interbedded section accepted the recommen- dation to use the Kymera XTreme hybrid drill bit and finished drilling ahead of time, saving about $100,000. Another study, testing polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC), tungsten carbide insert (TCI), and hybrid bits in the same application, yielded remarkable results. Using PDC bits on a nonhomogeneous carbonate formation resulted in major impact damage, slowing the ROP. When hybrid bits were used in this same situation, the ROP doubled, reducing the operator’s time almost 3½ days, and saving more than 70% in drilling costs. Indeed, this versatile new generation of hybrid drill bits allows today’s operator to access a larger range of applications never before imaginable with conventional drill bit technology. Matching the right drill bit to a certain application has become much easier for those who choose to employ this game-changing innovation. G&O Hybrid bit combines features of roller cones and PDC bits. Photo courtesy of bibonius. https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en.