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How to get more benefits with less equipment when you use a surface drilling rig

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

For most operators, improving profitability on their wells is an ongoing battle between getting the right equipment, making the job easier, and keeping a strict eye on the bottom line.

However, a common issue in our industry is that often operators don’t use fit-for-purpose equipment for the job at hand. While standard equipment may seem like the less expensive option, it ends up costing operators a lot more in the long run.

A perfect example of this is that many operators go with a full-size drilling rig for surface interval drilling because it is more convenient. Often, they are already engaged with the service provider and the equipment is already on site — so it seems like this is the most cost-effective decision. In the end, though, operators end up paying more in fuel and personnel costs, and increasing their HSE risks, with this option.

How surface drilling rigs affect your bottom line

Full-size rigs are made for constructing wells with total depths over 20,000 feet. These are enormous machines for enormous jobs. As a result, they have an enormous footprint in terms of costs and risks. When drilling surface intervals and running surface casing, a full-size rig is not the right equipment for the job. While it may seem more effective at the time, a surface drilling rig or spudder rig is the better choice.

Here’s why:

  • Less fuel consumption and lower fuel costs: Surface drilling rigs are highly engineered for surface drilling and running surface casing. They are smaller in size as compared to full-size rigs, which means they use a lot less fuel. To be exact, spudder rigs actually burn up to 50% less diesel compared to full-size rigs, which means they also cost about 50% less to operate.
  • Equipment optimization: When operators use full-size rigs for surface drilling and running surface casing, they aren’t able to reserve the machines for their intended use. If operators have a separate spudder rig, then the full-size rigs can be used for applications better suited for them, reducing overall operating costs.
  • Lower personnel costs: Typically, a full-size rig requires a crew of 16 people to operate, while a top hole rig only has a crew of nine. With a lower personnel count, there are lower payroll costs. Not only that, the costs for personnel transportation are lower as well, in addition to the HSE risks.
  • Safer work environment: With a full-size rig, operators must switch between mud systems, which means that the crew has to mix different muds on location. Handling more fluids increases the chances of spills, which is detrimental to the environment and to the crew. A top hole drilling rig uses a closed-loop mud system, so there is no need to switch between different mud systems or handle different types of mud on location.

A smaller, fit-for-purpose preset surface drilling rig is a more economical choice than a full-size rig when it comes to drilling surface intervals and running preset surface casing.

EnerCorp’s surface drilling rigs are a cut above the rest

There are plenty of service providers that can help operators with surface wellbore construction equipment, so how do you know which one is going to provide you with the most benefits?

A differentiating factor between EnerCorp’s surface drilling rigs and our competitors is the customized casing running tools (CRT) that enable us to be faster and more cost effective than other service providers.

  • Fit-for-purpose equipment: Our CRT’s are specifically designed for our RD20 XC rigs. This allows for the casing to be torqued up to proper torque specs per the casing manufacturer’s specifications. 
  • Efficient operations: The CRT allows for casing to be pumped through while running in the well bore. Running casing full of fluid is more efficient at keeping the well bore full and circulated. Pumping through the casing also allows for cuttings to be evacuated from the bottom of the hole for less restriction. This keeps the well bore open and clear.
  • Lower safety risks: Our CRT’s eliminate the need for a swedge, which is used to fill casing in standard practice, as well as the man basket to make up the swedge. This considerably reduces the safety risk for the crew on site.
  • Reduced operating costs: Casing runs with EnerCorp are included in the turnkey price that is quoted to the customer as an additional service that we provide. 
  • Better processes: Competitors use alternative methods to run casing: Wishbone style casing elevators. In this process, a tool is used to run casing on our competitors rigs that does not keep the casing full and requires a swedge to be rigged up to fill it. There is far greater exposure and risk to the man in the basket on a board suspended from the derrick. Plus, dry casing run with this method is far less efficient because each joint needs to be filled via the swedge on top of the casing, taking more time. The Wishbone is a far more dangerous method as sometimes it does not latch correctly and can cause the casing to be unsettled during the run.
  • Less personnel: We don’t use a third-party casing crew as having extra people on location significantly increases the overall footprint and safety risk involved during the execution of the job. Plus, call out times and wait times can be long, costing the operator a lot of extra money.

When working with EnerCorp, operators not only get the benefits of using a surface drilling rig, but also the additional advantages of using fit-for-purpose equipment that is highly optimized as compared to competitor options.

PDF preview for Spudder Rig download

What will you use for your next surface drilling job?

It’s clear that full-size rigs are not the right answer. For operators that want to lower operating costs, increase efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and lower personnel costs, the right choice is EnerCorp’s preset surface drilling rig.

Working with Permian Basin clients in Midland and Odessa, we ensure you have the right equipment for the job.

Want to know what other advantages there are to using a spudder rig? Download this resource for more information on how it can benefit your organization.

Download now!

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