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New land rig design targets fast-moving shale drilling

Posted on 24 March 2010

“Innovation in Motion” is the motto paired with Global Energy Services’ (GES) new drilling system, the Ultra. With advancements such as using hydraulic cylinders to rig up and rig down and a four-axis rig walking design. GES unveiled the Ultra on 12 March 2010 at the GES corporate office in Houston.

“The industry knows that the shale plays in the United States are the future. The Marcellus, the Barnett, Fayetteville, Haynesville, and Eagle Ford – that is where the gas future of the US is,” Mike Stansberry, chief operating officer said. “If we drill in those areas the way we need to be drilling, the US can become energy-independent, and that’s important.”

The Ultra uses hydraulic cylinders to rig up and rig down, a four-axis design which allows movement in eight directions and can move and setup in under 48 hours.

The Ultra uses hydraulic cylinders to rig up and rig down, a four-axis design which allows movement in eight directions and can move and setup in under 48 hours.

The Ultra derived from an amalgamation of GES’ Quicksilver and Pioneer rig systems, as well as the ideas and needs of GES customers and drilling contractors. Mr Stansberry identified factors in developing the Ultra system as safety, mobility, efficiency and economy.

“The number one feature we looked for is safety. Safety is the most important thing on all of our equipment. These rigs are the safest available because everything is done at the ground level, you don’t have people in the air,” he said. The system allows hydraulic cylinders to raise the rig without cranes, keeping the crew numbers down to five or six versus ten or more. Less crew involved in raising the rig means less possibility for incidents at height.

The system includes a four-axis design that allows movement in eight directions. It also features mobile walkers and walking system which allows the operator to drill up to 20 wells in the same area without rigging down. This improves utilization and reduces program cost. GES has reapplied the purpose of a cement boom in construction for a remote controlled mud boom on the rig. This enables the rig to reach, at max, 120 ft away from the mud systems.

“The faster you move, the more money you save the contractor and the more quickly they can drill wells,” Mr Stansberry said. “These rigs, because they move more quickly, and they are more efficient they save fuel and they reduce trip time are much more economical to operate.”

The Ultra can rig down and be moved 100 miles in roughly 24 truck loads and rig up in less than 48 hours. The sophisticated drawworks software, Speed Drill, on the software platform reduces trip-time, fuel utilization and emissions up to 25%. The floor-mounted drawworks allows for simpler maintenance and cleaning,

GES’ presentation also emphasized the importance of utilizing local labor to build these rigs in order to stimulate the American economy and energy independence.

“We think that’s important. We control our quality we control all the aspects right here. We do our own designing. We are in total control of our own destiny, and we are creating jobs right here in Houston, Texas,” Mr Stansberry said.

GES said a new ultra rig can be ready in 9 months from order submission. More information about the system can be found in the May/June issue of Drilling Contractor. Animation video of the Ultra system and an exclusive interview with Mr Stansberry are available below.

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