IDM to Build New Rig for Union Drilling Using Quick-Move Technologies

IDM Group, a Houston, Texas-based manufacturer of drilling systems, recently was awarded a construction contract from Union Drilling, Inc. to provide a 1600 horsepower AC QuickSilver drilling system. Upon delivery, expected in June of this year, the rig is slated for operations principally in Pennsylvania targeting the Marcellus Shale formation.

The QuickSilver drilling system is the latest innovation in quick-moving drilling rigs. Available in ratings of 1000hp, 1200hp and 1600hp, this innovative design allows the operator to be more competitive through economy of movement, safer operations and reduced rig-up/rig-down time. The QuickSilver is designed to rig down, then rig up on a new location (within 100 miles) in less than 48 hours. Elevated components are raised with hydraulic cylinders; no cranes are required.

According to Byron Dunn, IDM's Chief Executive Officer, "In addition to employing IDM's QuickSilver self-elevating, quick-move technologies, this rig has been designed to allow easy retrofitting of our QuickSkid drilling system. QuickSkid technology features the ability to reposition or "skid" the rig on an integrated rail track in single or bi-directional planes from the initial well to other positions along the skidding track. The skidding system eliminates the need for multiple rig moves where time and space are critical issues, especially in field development programs and where environmental considerations may limit operational access to specific locations."

Christopher D. Strong, Union Drilling's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Union Drilling owns many of the largest rigs currently operating in the Appalachian Basin. We have a history of horizontally drilling the deeper formations in this area. Substantially more powerful rigs, like those we use in the Barnett Shale in Texas, may drill long horizontal sections in deeper formations more efficiently, but their design is not well-suited to the Northeast.

"Often, the cost of flattening uneven terrain for larger rig locations and time consuming rig moves due to infrastructure constraints -- such as low bridge heights and weight limitations -- can more than offset the advantages of having a larger rig. We have worked closely with the engineers at IDM to modify their standard quick-move drilling system, so that later we can accommodate skidding drilling applications as they arise. Coupling these two technologies will create a first-of-a-kind hybrid rig that we believe will be highly effective in the Appalachian Basin market."