Walking Rigs Boost Oil Recovery | VideoJennifer Joas | 9/2/2012
What once took five to six days can now take as little as five to six hours to relocate an oil rig. That`s because the industry is now using walking rigs that can be moved from one well to the next on the same drilling pad.
"It`s more than just the costs of the rig and the rig move. It`s all of the rental companies and all the personnel that are also involved in it that the time is saved. And time is money," said Kathleen Neset witth Neset Consulting.
This added efficiency is evident in the drop in active drilling rigs. Just months ago there were more than 200 rigs, now the number is down to 192.
"We`re probably seeing what the rig count is going to look like- 200 plus or minus 10 for a decade or two decades is what we`ve been predicting," said Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources.
Helms says technology is advancing so quickly it`s hard to know what the future holds. But companies are also piloting several other technologies that could extend the life of wells for many years to come.
Neset said, "We`re learning the geology. We know where to drill better, we know what zones are productive. We even have some zones that we were not drilling a little bit deeper into the Three Forks Formation that we`re getting oil out of.
So as we continue to learn these things, all these different aspects are going to continue to make this Bakken extend it`s life."
Helms predicts by the end of next year the walking rigs will increase from 50 percent to 80 or 90 percent. Helms says by keeping the rigs on the same drilling pad, there will be 400 fewer semi loads needed to drill a well.