The gas advantage – drilling CSG

Rig 101 in its final days of commissingin in Easternwell's rig up yard in Toowoomba.

Rig 101 in its final days of commissingin in Easternwell's rig up yard in Toowoomba.

Easternwell Group is providing Australia’s first automated, technologically advanced coal seam gas drilling rigs built exclusively by the company in Toowoomba, Queensland, representing an innovative advance in Australian coal seam gas drilling.

In 2006, Easternwell and Santos entered into a joint venture with an aim to drill approximately 750 coal seam gas (CSG) wells in the Surat Basin. Easternwell was unable to source rigs that were tailored to the specific needs of the project ,therefore the Advantage Driller was specially designed and manufactured in Toowoomba.

The Advantage Driller is a modular design with automated and computer controlled pipe handlers and rig floor machines.

After the first, largely prototype, Advantage Driller rig was delivered, a number of improvements were recommended and implemented for the production of subsequent rigs.

The delivery of the second rig and the successful drilling and casing of its first well in the Surat Basin was a strategic milestone for Easternwell. The well was completed without any incidents or downtime within four days, from initial spud to rig release.

More recently, the third Advantage Driller was manufactured, assembled and commissioned in just over three months. It was deployed to work in the Surat Basin in record time and completed its first well in less than three days from initial spud to rig release with no downtime. The rigs continue to set new records, and recently set a record of drilling and completing a well within two days.

Advancing CSG technology

Key features of the Advantage Driller include automated pipe handling and rig floor machines, high mobility for ease of movement, integrated additional services capabilities and the elimination of unnecessary handling of equipment and working at heights.

The machines are cost competitive, efficient, and purpose designed for the Australian CSG market. The Advantage Drillers are setting records for well construction time and for rig move time. The wells drilled by these rigs are also setting new records for CSG productivity as a result of superior well construction.

The drillers are designed to comply with Australian road standards, and the machines are suitable to withstand Australian conditions.

Easternwell first entered the drilling industry in 2006 and has gained considerable experience in the delivery of three world class drilling rigs to the field in the last three years for Santos.

The company recently received a multi-rig contract to drill at Santos’ CSG operations in Queensland, including the Gladstone LNG project. Easternwell will build, commission, maintain and operate a number of new rigs.

Managing Director Troy Campbell said “Santos has a significant CSG presence in Australia with its world class Scotia and Fairview fields and its operated CSG production being the largest in Australia, and we’re pleased to be associated with Santos in building its CSG business.”

Safety and the environment

With each new rig built, Easternwell focuses on improving safety and efficiency on all designs. The company says that this is particularly evident with the Advantage Driller, which has received recognition for its innovative safety features.

The innovation and safety features of the driller won Easternwell the Premier of Queensland’s Smart Award in 2008.

Easternwell says the rigs have a minimal environmental footprint.

CSG drilling in perspective

Drilling technology in the industry is improving rapidly. Easternwell owns the intellectual property of the Advantage Drillers designs and computer systems, which means its technology designs can be easily adapted and modified to remain at the forefront of drilling technology. The company plans to provide ongoing drilling services to the CSG sector.

Easternwell Group is an integrated services company, which also offers a host of additional services to support the operation of the drillers in the field. These include well servicing and maintenance, logistics, training, camp management, technical support and engineering.

Enter your details to subscribe to the free fortnightly Gas Today e-newsletter

Thank you for signing up for the Gas Today Online Update.