What do you look for in a drilling rig? Do you choose a rig because of its capabilities to drill the majority of your business, or do you choose a rig that is capable of working outside your core scope of business? Do you look for new technology or stick with what has worked for the last 30 years? It is important to consider safety, ease of use and reliability. All three factors complement each other. Reliable equipment that is easy to use increases safety, when used within manufacturer recommended limits and operated correctly. Choosing the right drilling rig for your business is no different from choosing the right tool for any job. You can easily install a drywall nail with a six-pound sledgehammer, but at what amount of risk? The same scenario goes for trying to break cement with a nine-ounce drywall hammer. The job can be completed, but how much time will it take?
Three questions need to be answered when investing in new equipment:
1. What type of drilling job consumes 85 percent of my business time?
2. What kind of geology will be encountered more than 85 percent of the time?
3. Where does 85 percent of my business take place?
The first question to be answered is, what is 85 percent of my business? The rig required to do 85 percent of your business will be more productive than purchasing a rig that is designed for specialty projects. Sure, a big rig can drill any size hole. But at what cost? The next question is, what kind of geology will be encountered more than 85 percent of the time? Mud rotary is productive in high water table areas with consolidated and unconsolidated formations. Dense formations with low water table or fractured zones are more suited for air rotary. The downside to a smaller rig is the air compressor capabilities. A downhole hammer is invaluable in hard formation, especially when several hundred feet of hard formation will be drilled. The last question is, in what type of location does 85 percent of my business take place? Do you drill in the middle of fields, housing developments or urban areas? An ideal rig can be on and off location in less than an hour. The bigger the job, the more move in and out time is needed. However, the bigger the job, the more likely there will be a road built for access. Once all three of these questions are answered, it is time to choose the right rig for your business.