NIED LLC said June 4 that it has successfully commissioned and tested its new Arctic Millennium drilling system, formerly called the light automated drilling system or LADS.
Masakazu Okamura, president of NIED, told Petroleum News that a new management team for the rig was assembled in November and the company has been concentrating on completing the rig.
Opportunities for using the Arctic Millennium rig are the next step, he said.
After completion, the rig was disassembled at the construction site in Brady, Texas, and moved a mile and a half to drill a water well. The six modules of the basic rig can be moved in various ways, depending on location, said Conrad Perry, NIED project manager.
In Brady, NIED used a Caterpillar D8 with 300 horsepower to move the modules. Perry said the rig move went well, "a single D8 pulled our heaviest module which was the drill module, fairly easily," including up a 6 degree grade hill.
And assembly at the water well site took about 26 hours, he said, compared to an estimated three days.
Once the derrick was up, he said, it took five hours to park the other modules.
NIED, a subsidiary of N-I Energy Development, describes the rig as a rapid deployment drilling system, and calls it "the first fully automated Arctic class drilling rig."
The rig requires fewer people — thus reducing exposure to safety hazards. Its performance is equal to other rigs, Perry said: "We're not touting it as being a rig that will trip faster, that will drill quicker."
What the company is touting, however, is the fast rig-up time.
The time for moving and resetting the rig is "much shorter" than conventional rigs, Okamura said.
The fast set-up is one of the side benefits, Perry said: "It is a great development drilling rig. It's a fantastic exploration rig."
Editor's note: see photo and complete story in June 8 issue of Petroleum News.