Simple Drilling Simulation Using Python

Before you start

Make sure your python OpenLab client and credentials are up to date (see our tutorial on how to do this).

Create a new default well configuration in the web client and name it "Offshore Inclined".

Initialize and Authenticate Account

We use the default keyring method which uses our stored credentials (see our tutorial for instructions on this or the other methods if having problems).

import openlab
session = openlab.http_client()

You should see a print out confirming you have been authenticated.

Simulation Initialization

There are several mandatory and optional initialization parameters as listed below (subject to change):


  • Configuration name (must be a pre-existing configuration created in the web client)
  • Simulation Name (Whatever you wish to call the simulation)
  • Initial Bit Depth (in meters)


  • Influx Model
  • Timestep Interval (Default = 1)

We will only use the 3 mandatory parameters for now:

config_name = "Offshore Inclined"
sim_name = "Drill From Python"
initial_bit_depth = 2500

Now, we can initialize and create the simulation:

sim = session.create_simulation(config_name, sim_name, initial_bit_depth)

If you navigate to the web client, you should now see a simulation called "Drill From Python" has been created in the "Simulations" tab, and is awaiting setpoints.

In order to actually drill and advance the wellbore, we initialize with the following 4 setpoints (Make note that all numeric values must be sent in SI units) :

sim.setpoints.RPM = 0 #Hz
sim.setpoints.DesiredROP = 0.02 #m/s
sim.setpoints.TopOfStringVelocity = 0.02
sim.setpoints.FlowRateIn = 2500 / 60000 #60000 is to convert l/min to m^3/s

Advance/Run the Simulation

In order to advance and step the simulation, a setpoint must be sent to the OpenLab server with one mandatory setpoint -> timestep. We do this using a for loop:

simulation_time = 300 # seconds

for i in range(1, simulation_time + 1):

You can watch and verify the simulation is running by clicking on the simulation in the web page.

Ending the Simulation

To end a simulation through the API, a new setpoint must be sent containing the value of ShouldComplete = True. This is done automatically for you in the python client by calling the Simulation class's stop() method:


Note: When running a simulation script (i.e. not interactively in the shell), the default OpenLab session behaviour is to automatically end all initialized simulations. To toggle this feature, you can use the end_simulation_on_exiting flag of the openlab.Simulation class. Or in our case:

sim.end_simulation_on_exiting = True/False

Who is using OpenLab:

  • University of Stavanger
  • NTNU
  • Aker BP
  • Maersk Drilling
  • Equinor
  • University of Calgary