Drillmec has designed an automated drilling rig called AHEAD, Advanced Hydraulic Electrical Automated Driller. It reduces the rig footprint by approximately 50% compared with conventional 1,500-hp land rigs, according to the company. Construction of the first rig is expected to be complete in early 2015.
The rig’s trailer-mounted components – 21 loads – provide it with fast-moving capabilities. The substructure can be a slingshot or a hydraulic self-leveling, elevating system, which allows a fast and safe rig-up without cranes. The hoisting system is based on a telescopic mast with a double hydraulic piston and equipped with an integrated Drillmec ETD series electric top drive.
AHEAD will be equipped with a fully automated offline system to make up stands of two Range 3 drill pipe (or three Range 2 drill pipe) directly on the mouse hole. The offline system will be able to handle casing joints positioned at ground level. The system includes a vertical and horizontal pipe handler and a modular vertical pipe rack with a total capacity of 5,000 m of 5-in. Range 3 drill pipe. The AHEAD series can also be equipped with a walking system, as well as Drillmec’s data acquisition system and drilling monitoring system.
The new rig series was designed to be equipped with Drillmec’s Heart of Drilling (HoD), a package combining a continuous circulation system, a high-resolution flow rate monitor and an anti-friction device. The continuous circulation of drilling fluid in the wellbore, combined with monitoring of the flow rate, can play a key role in drilling wells that are characterized by a very narrow pore/fracture pressure gradient, the company stated.
The HoD package includes an anti-friction device integrated in the continuous circulation subs or in the drill pipe tool joints, which reduces top drive and string stresses while drilling high-angle or horizontal sections of extended-reach wells. The combination of these three tools ensures a continuous dialogue with the bottomhole, the constant presence of two safety barriers on the well (mud circulation and BOPs) and the optimal working conditions for the top drive, with reduced drilling and connection times.