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№ 6 (June 2008)
A heavy duty drilling rig is traditionally considered to be one of the most complicated types of oil and gas equipment.
A heavy duty drilling rig is traditionally considered to be one of the most complicated types of oil and gas equipment. Over a hundred enterprises were involved in creating the BU-4200/250 EK-BM (Ch), a new drilling rig that was manufactured for Gazprom by Uralmash–Burovoye Oborudovaniye (UrBO), a member company of the Integra Group. And at the end of May, Integra organized a formal party to publically present the equipment at UrBO’s production based in Ekaterinburg. Oil&Gas Eurasia was among those company invited to the event.
Specialists from 52 Russian oil and gas companies as well as representatives of national oil companies of Belarus and Turkmenistan showed an interest in the rigs, which are capable of operating within a 40-degree temperature range (both plus and minus).
Urals specialists managed to achieve obvious success in many ways due to the purchase of Uralmash–Burovoye Oborudovaniye by the Integra Group three years ago, a move which laid the foundation to revive the domestic machine building industry for heavy duty drilling units. During this period, the largest in Russia engineering center with 246 design engineers was created at the enterprise and combined more than 60-year experience accumulated in developing drilling equipment. All this contributed to implementation of a large-scale production modernization program within a short period. Four hundred and twenty new jobs were created, and average wages of employees increased to 32,600 roubles ($1,387 at May 2008 exchange rates) in 2007. As part of the expansion of UrBO’s production, a Tyumen branch was set up in 2006 on the basis of the Tyumen shipbuilding yard and industrial complex.
This helped to make the new venture independent of its traditional supplier, Uralmash Machine Building Corporation (former Uralmashzavod and once the same company.)
Integra made a good choice by investing in Russia's machine building industry: today, demand for drilling equipment is fast out pacing supply. Vitali Tkachev, Integra Group’s Executive Vice-President of machine-building and Uralmash-VNIIBT’s President, told journalists during last month's presentation that the plant’s capacities make it possible to manufacture 25 heavy duty drilling rigs annually. According to Tkachev, 28 rigs are operated today and the plant plans to ship 16 more rigs in 2008.
For representatives of Turkmenneft, the presentation was even more special because it also marked the signing of a contract between Turkmenneft and Integra Group to supply eight drilling rigs to Turkmenistan.
Four more heavy duty drilling rigs manufactured by UrBO are designated for Rosneft. But the key customer is Gazprom. Eleven drilling rigs BU 4200/250 EK-BM (Ch) will be supplied to Gazprom’s extractive enterprises, nine of which will be employed to develop first fields in the Yamal peninsula and two for operating in the Novyi Urengoi region on Zapolyarnoye field. A contract with Gazkomplektimpeks is the UrBO’s largest contract for the last five years: in 2005 the enterprise manufactured only 2 rigs per year. In his speech at the presentation Tkachev underlined that Uralmash–Burovoye Oborudovaniye is an enterprise with a solid engineering and production resources. He said: “Professionalism and high efficiency of UrBO’s engineers and designers enable us to strictly perform the contract terms and comply with the customer’s rigid requirements. At the request of Gazprom we found a way of manufacturing two more units ahead of schedule; these will be delivered to the area of Novyi Urengoi. In addition, three units will be shipped to Gazprom during the summer shipping season for operation in Yamal.”
Attendees of the presentation decided that a lovely-made drilling rig may, as a ship, bear a female name, and the new drilling rig developed by joint efforts of designers and drillers was named ‘Yekaterina’, a derivative name of Yekaterinburg. But unlike Yekaterina, Peter the Great’s wife, who never visited her namesake city, Integra's 'Yekaterina' was presented to its future owners and a general audience including Russia's energy press in Yekaterinburg.
Installed on the production base site, the powerful drilling rig resembled a ship not only because of its female name. A painted in blue stretched multi-bank unit with a high mast appeared to make a good impression on specialists attending the presentation. This drilling rig is designated for Burgaz, and as Burgaz’s General Director Andrei Rossinski said, “As the customer we are fully satisfied with the work performed by Uralmash–Burovoye Oborudovaniye to fulfill our order.”
Developed on the basis of drillers’ comments, the drilling rig is designed to operate in complicated geologic and technical conditions including drilling branch holes and can be used for grouping of wells with a nominal drilling depth of 4,200 meters.
A modular package helps reduce the time it takes to drill a cluster of wells because there is less assembly to worry about while transferring a whole train from one well site to another, including derrick and drawworks units with drill-pipe sets installed on setbacks, and blowout preventer equipment. Specialists also note the following advantages: centering and alignment of the derrick unit in the course of drilling, reduced periods of the first assembly and re-assemblies, and transportation of the drilling unit modules from one cluster to another by semi-trailers and general transport. Environmentally sound drilling is ensured because of the elimination of mud pits as well as elimination of potential leaks of mud, water and other fluids under the drilling rig. An optimum drilling mode can be selected due to a 100 percent variable-speed drive that enables the setting of various combinations of rotary speed (RPM), drilling mud delivery and axial weight on the drill bit.
Drilling rigs can be powered by Caterpillar diesel-electric power units (see OGE No 5, 2008, “NG-Energo and Cummins Join Up to Power Drilling Rigs in Yamal” or http://www.oilandgaseurasia.com/ru/articles/p/73/article/614/). The drilling rig is equipped with a Varco TDS-9SА top drive system with a capacity of 363 tones (400 tones according to API). A modular grouting complex included in the drilling rig train is another important feature. Owing to the mentioned and other technical innovations, the whole unit can be serviced by a team of three people.
Competitive advantages have made it possible for UrBO to get to windward of foreign companies (borrowing again from our shipping analogy) and returned the former reputation to the enterprise. Since in Soviet times Uralmash produced rigs not only for the internal market, they were competitive abroad as well.
It looks like the positive experience of Urals specialists was also highly appreciated by Integra itself. The service and production company with dynamic management and global depositary receipts being traded on the London Stock Exchange is not going to rest its oars and is in pursuit of efficient development trends. According to statements made by Integra’s management at the presentation in Yekaterinburg, the Integra Group is contemplating the possibility of acquiring machine building assets abroad.