Delivery Assurance for ERD, Complex & U-shaped Wells

550+ Projects Successfully Delivered in 52 Countries

World-Class Drilling Engineering Advisors

Independent Delivery Assurance In Drilling Operations

Merlin advisors support swift identification and resolution of drilling risks and opportunities, assuring high performance operations with minimal downtime whilst maximising asset value.

Whatever stage you’re at in your project, Merlin is ready for your call.

Speak to an advisor

Why choose Merlin for operations support?

Because we can…

  • Add a wealth of technical competence and hands-on experience in drilling operations to tackle operational challenges effectively.
  • Elevate team performance, operational efficiency, and overall project success, making a significant contribution to your results.
  • Respond swiftly to unforeseen challenges, thereby minimising downtime and ensuring uninterrupted drilling operations.
  • Provide in-depth analysis and performance assessments for your drilling project, enabling you to identify and address issues proactively.

What are we doing out there?

If you’ve never worked with one of Merlin’s advisors, you might not know what they’re doing out there. In a nutshell, they are there to support your drilling supervisor. Merlin advisors understand the risks and opportunities associated with your project and they have more time to spend in the doghouse, at the shakers, with the mud engineer in the lab, in the logging cabin, with the DD’s, than drilling supervisors typically do. They are there to question, interpret, consult and provide recommendations to your rig team – assurance to them and you that the plan is appropriate and is being executed with a level of detail which drives success.

Merlin’s first job on the rig is to get to grips with the drilling program and models and to work out where the risks and opportunities are in each phase of activity. Merlin’s advisors are on location to ask questions, interpret data, consult key personnel and then recommend an approach to the drilling supervisor which leads to efficient, low risk well operations.

Drilling Supervisor

Merlin Advisor – Drilling Supervisor

Drilling supervisors have a lot of demands on their time, as a result their expertise is spread thinly, which makes the Merlin advisor an invaluable asset. Our advisors understand the physics of what’s happening down hole and limitations of the machinery at the top of it, whilst being able to knowledgeably interface with all of the key stakeholders on the rig. Their aim is to support and advise the drilling supervisor to ensure that drilling progresses as efficiently as possible, BHAs return to surface and tubulars get to bottom without any problems.

Mud Engineer

Merlin Advisor – Mud Engineer

We firmly believe that “what gets measured, gets managed”, so our advisors track the key drilling fluid properties such as the low end rheology over time and depth, to ensure they remain within preplanned limits and to allow negative trends to be identified early. The Merlin advisor will work closely with the mud engineer to make sure they are both aligned on the upcoming risks and challenges, like wellbore instability, differential sticking or compromised hole cleaning to ensure the mud system is properly prepared to mitigate these risks.

Mud Logger

Merlin Advisor – Mud Logger

The mud loggers are the eyes and ears of the rig. If the advisor is not on the drill floor or at the shakers, there’s a good chance they are in the logging shack with the geologist and loggers. Cuttings shape and size are important indicators of hole cleaning efficiency, as is cuttings volume over time during clean up and back reaming operations. Working closely with the mud loggers ensures that data is available when the drilling supervisor needs it, to support proactive hole condition monitoring, instability identification and drilling performance management.


Merlin Advisor – Driller

When the risk profile increases the Merlin advisor will be in the dog house, right next to the driller. Their objective is to make sure the driller understands why the risks related to a pack-off, destructive vibrations or differential sticking for example are increasing and how his actions can reduce that risk. In general, the advisor is there as an educated second pair of eyes watching the gauges and using all available data to make sure nothing is missed. During quieter periods the advisor will coach the driller and assistant driller on first response to problems and operating limits etc.

Operations Geologist

Merlin Advisor – Operations Geologist

Knowing where they are in the section, what they are drilling and what they expect to encounter before the next connection is key input data for the Merlin advisor. Proactive decision making, in conjunction with the wellsite geologist ensures problems are already being managed or anticipated before they occur. The advisor will work with the geologist to ensure there is a consistent approach to the interpretation of cuttings samples to get valuable information on hole cleaning efficiency and wellbore stability, as well as ensuring that cavings are identified and classified correctly.

Directional Driller

Merlin Advisor – Directional Driller

Understanding the capability and limitations of current drilling tools is a vital component of success at the rig site. Knowing tool specifications and operating modes, BHA configurations and common directional assembly limitations allows the Merlin advisor to take an active role in avoiding or managing dysfunction in the drill string. Many of Merlin’s advisors are highly experienced directional drillers in their own right, with decades of experience. They are fully prepared to support the resolution of difficult drilling situations whilst providing unbiased advice and opinions for both the tool provider and operator.

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Client Testimonials

Discuss your next project with Merlin

Experience by your side

Below you can see just a few of Merlin’s skilled operations team. With a substantial global presence, they have collaborated with independent, major, and national oil companies, establishing a track record of success.

Iain McCourt – Lead ERD Advisor

“I have 35 years’ experience in numerous drilling operations & senior engineering positions, all around the world. I deliver the full spectrum of Merlin’s services. I have always believed that personal integrity drives the highest service possible”.

Ali Blair – Engineering Manager

“I’ve been involved in drilling complex wells since 1995. I’m now responsible for making sure the advisors get the technical support they need when they are in the field. It’s satisfying when we can put the pieces of the downhole puzzle together and solve what would otherwise remain a “rig mystery”.

Al Burnett – Senior ERD Advisor

“I first went offshore in 1997 and since then I’ve been everywhere….twice! I still enjoy the challenge of getting a BHA to surface or a casing string to bottom in a difficult hole section.”

Tony Oliver – Senior ERD Advisor

“I’ve worked in drilling operations since 1994, supporting operators drilling complex wells from the office and at the rig site. I enjoy using data to paint the picture and guide the team to make the right operational decisions.”

Neil Armstrong – Engineering Director

“Our advisors are like flankers in rugby or sweepers in football; they work tirelessly to ensure that nothing gets through the gaps. They use their knowledge and expertise to identify gaps or potential drilling risks and consult with the key players at the rig site to make sure the right action is taken to avoid a train wreck. Enlightened drilling supervisors do not want to drill challenging wells without them. Their insights and recommendations ensure the plan is not just followed but finely tuned for success”.

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