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The industry has come a long way over the past few decades. We’ve modernized our rigs and equipment and have created many automated technologies that reduce human intervention and increase safety. Yet, we’ve done little to address the actual drilling process, said Frank Springett, National Oilwell Varco senior research & development engineer. Now, with the new SPRED Rig, NOV hopes to do exactly that. ...

Rig concept aims to revolutionize batch drilling

 The industry has come a long way over the past few decades. We’ve modernized our rigs and equipment and have created many automated technologies that reduce human intervention and increase safety. Yet, we’ve done little to address the actual drilling process, said Frank Springett, National Oilwell Varco senior research & development engineer. Now, with the new SPRED Rig, NOV hopes to do exactly that.

Speaking at the 2009 IADC Drilling Onshore Conference & Exhibition on 21 May in Houston, Mr Springett described the development process for the new rig concept. He noted that the design inspiration actually came out of an NOV manufacturing facility in Orange, Calif. By addressing the manufacturing process and implementing a culture change – and without adding any assets – that facility was able to drastically improve efficiency. For example, it went from producing 86 top drives a year to more than 300 a year.

NOV’s SPRED Rig changes the drilling process to enable a three- to four-time reduction in the time needed to drill batch wells.

So NOV applied the same manufacturing principles to drilling, and according to Mr Springett, the resulting rig concept could potentially bring a three- to four-time savings in time for batch-drilling. The rig doesn’t include a lot of brand-new technologies or equipment; in fact, it uses many components from NOV’s Rapid Rig. What’s different here is that it identifies bottlenecks in the drilling process so that flat time can be reduced or eliminated, such as time to trip in/out of hole, run casing, etc.

Challenges that would have to be addressed with the use of this rig design would include:

  • • Well planning.
  • • Site operations.
  • • Well control.
  • • Environment/pad.
  • • Culture change.

In conclusion, Mr Springett said, even though this is a higher-cost rig, the time savings it provides will ultimately provide net savings.
A detailed article about the SPRED Rig was published in the May/June 2009 issue of Drilling Contractor.

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