Drilling for petroleum resources in remote and harsh environments requires new technology and operational methods. Recent innovation demonstrates feasibility of having future drilling rigs placed directly on the seabed. In this vision, the drilling rigs are controlled remotely from either an onshore control centre or an offshore supply vessel. Autonomous decision making and advanced control are likely to play a significant role in the realisation of this vision. Powerful methods and constructs brought by the multi-agent paradigm can ease the design and development of such systems. In this thesis we give an introduction to this type of technology, the drilling domain and outline one approach to autonomous control system for drilling rigs. Feasible aspects of this first attempt to address autonomous control of drilling rigs are demonstrated through an experiment conducted in a laboratory setting.