Rising 162 feet above the rolling dunes outside of ‘Ain Dar is the latest addition to Saudi Aramco’s drilling rig fleet. It is the first rig to be designed by Saudi Aramco engineers and built according to the company’s specifications, and it will be a key component as the company moves toward greater localization of drilling services through our two new joint ventures (JVs) with Nabors Industries Ltd. and Rowan Companies Plc.
The rig started drilling the first well and will give its crew of Saudi operators and engineers an opportunity to test out the capabilities of the most up-to-date drill rig in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region.
On the drill rig floor, perched 45 feet above the ground below, rig project leader Khaled Al-Said watched with pride as a driller uses a joystick to direct a length of pipe into position, with the guiding hands of some skilled rig-men.
Above is a monkey board, where a length of drill pipe is moved into position automatically, without a danger to rig workers. “This device protects our people, and it saves lives,” Al-Said said, adding that the rig is an example of the company’s commitment to Saudization. “All the rig crew are Saudi employees, and the young engineers are Saudis. This is one thing we are proud of: every step, from A to Z, from the development of scope of work to the commissioning in the field, is being done by Saudis.”
Experience and excellence
While Al-Said and his team took a very close look at the drilling process and managed the design to eliminate risks, there will always be a need to have skilled people able to carry out operations, especially when automated systems go down.
One of the more experienced crew men is Mohammed A. Al-Ghadeer, a tool pusher with 17 years of experience with D&WO. “With this new technology, there is a new challenge,” Al-Ghadeer said. “No single oil field is the same as another. It is like an ocean; there are so many different kinds of wells, and each one gives a different experience.”
And this newest rig is a sure sign that the brightest days of Saudi Aramco’s drilling program are yet to come.
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