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EDC inaugurates new drilling rig in Tongonan in the Philippines

Palinpinon geothermal power plant, Philippines (source: Commons/ Wikimedia)
Alexander Richter 5 Mar 2010

Philippines' Energy Development Corp. (EDC) inaugurated its new state-of-the-art rig called Rig 14, touted as the most modern in the Philippines and probably in Asia. Rig 14 is now operational in Tongonan.

In news from the Philippines, it is reported that “Energy Development Corp. (EDC) inaugurated last Feb. 25 its new state-of-the-art rig called Rig 14, touted as the most modern in the Philippines and probably in Asia. Rig 14 is now operational in Tongonan, this city.

The event is significant considering the last time EDC acquired a rig was in 1983. Imported from Texas, USA, for nearly P1 billion, the rig includes heavy equipment vehicles. The rig is numbered 14 as it is EDC’s 14th unit. The company actually has only 10 operational rigs as the other units have already been decommissioned.

The new rig has two unique features: the Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) and Amphion Integrated Rig Control System.

The VFD allows for a more accurate speed and torque control, while the Amphion centralizes control of various rig equipment into a two-joystick, four-touch-screen monitor-equipped command chair. The operator feels like he is operating a video-game console. All rig-floor equipment is controlled from this chair inside an air-conditioned driller’s cabin.

In addition, the new rig’s mud system has a 1,800-barrel capacity, or about twice that of other rigs, which can increase the rate of penetration.

The company touts Rig 14 as having superior safety and mobility features like the iron roughneck articulated hydraulic tool, which improves safety by eliminating human hands from the makeup and breakout of pipes, considered as the most dangerous part of rig-floor operations.

While old rigs use cranes to feed drill pipes to the rig floor, Rig 14 utilizes the automatic catwalk pipe-cat machine, a hydraulic device. The standard pipe-cat is a one-piece, 60-foot-long unit, while the unit supplied to EDC is a transport-friendly bespoke two-piece rig of 40-foot and 20-foot parts pinned together for operations.

Rig 14 has draw works on the ground that eliminates heavy substructure support beams and allowing a more spacious rig-floor work area.

“With this new state-of-the-art rig, we will achieve significant operational efficiency by reducing our drilling days by 40 percent to 50 percent,” EDC president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco said.

“We target 60 drilling days with Rig 14. Soon, this will shrink to 50 and ultimately 30. That last figure corresponds to roughly 100-meters-per-day average rate of penetration. Each day shorter saves the company about $40,000, including the cost of third-party contractors,” he said.

Tantoco added, “The rig’s superior safety and mobility features will also enable us to accomplish our drilling targets in terms of programmed wells per year, which is crucial as we are in an expansionary mode.”

EDC plans to drill 23 new wells this year, 14 of which are within the Leyte Geothermal Production Field.

With each well having a potential capacity of 5 to 7 megaWatts (mW), the 23 new wells translate to at least 115 mW of additional power that will avert an impending energy crisis, Tantoco said.

For the next two-and-a-half years, EDC is programming to produce 120 mW more at a cost of $420 million.

Tantoco said that while a geothermal power plant is more expensive to build at $3.4 million/ per mW, free steam supply is assured for life compared with a coal-fired plant, which is built for only $2 million per mW, but which will continually require a supply of coal.

“We continue to invest in drilling equipment and manpower because they form the backbone of our geothermal business. The new rig is a valuable addition to our assets and will enable us to meet our drilling targets especially here in Leyte, which is a vital energy project,” Tantoco said.”

Source: Business Mirror