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Drilling Rigs Evolve Seeking Productivity Gains

Photo courtesy of Schramm.
A new drilling rig from Schamm was designed to accommodate computer controls and enable more efficient moves from well to well. On this pad site in West Virginia, it is drilling wells into the Marcellus and Utica shales for Magnum Hunter Resources.

The vision of fully automated drilling rigs driven by big data gathered in real time looks so far off but there are people working on a road map to help the oil and gas industry find its way there some day.

Drilling rigs working onshore are evolving, driven by the need to manage the high cost of mass producing thousands of wells needed for unconventional development. The rate of penetration (ROP) is the most commonly used measure of efficiency, but the location and the quality of the hole can be significant variables.

The number of wells drilled per year is up as the rig count goes down with many older rigs finally being retired. The rig market overall looks soft, but demand remains strong for late-model rigs wired to handle computer controls (AC drive). While they command higher day rates than older rigs, by drilling wells in fewer days they can help oil companies lower the cost per foot drilled.

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Drilling Rigs Evolve Seeking Productivity Gains

Stephen Rassenfoss, JPT Emerging Technology Senior Editor

01 May 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 5

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