A new drilling service model for a new era?

OWI awards AdobeStock 131105637The prevailing uncertainties of the global market mean drilling companies are having to make careful judgement calls on the extent to which they keep their assets primed for work

In an article for Oil Review Middle East, Leon Bickerstaffe, head of Drilling Services  at Sparrows Group, argues that the growth trend in short-term contracts means a long-term outlook could help them get the balance right, urging a sustainable partnership approach. 

The rig services sector seems set for growth this year and beyond, spurred not only by the recovery in activity levels, but also by the associated need to address the maintenance backlog arising from the impact of the pandemic. New contracts are beginning to materialise, and rig reactivation programmes are getting underway. In the Middle East and Asia in particular, the drilling sector is very much back in business.

Along with these trends is the sense that short-term contracts are becoming more prevalent. This presents challenges for drilling operators, but also opportunities for those who succeed in striking the right balance when it comes to investing in asset availability. 

Bickerstaff discusses how to address these challenges, such as moving to more consolidated supply chain models. Moving towards an end-to-end solution for support services applies greater control to project delivery as well as addressing administrative efficiencies, he says.

In the long term, “drillers will get more operational years out of a longer term partner; that kind of investment will save costs across the full maintenance cycle….A sustainable partnership approach makes it viable for vendors to support individual rigs as they potentially move from region to region, especially in a short-term contracts world. It creates one single point of contact for the client, regardless of where its assets are operating, and provides access to a stock of spare parts held across a network of bases.”

A sustainable relationship with a single-source provider can also help to address the knowledge gap created by the drain of experience and knowledge from the drilling sector as rig crews are streamlined and veterans retire. Drilling companies can access the vendor’s pool of experience for support as and when required.

“Ultimately, drilling companies want that sense of confidence to extend across everything their supply chain is doing for them. They want to know the work will be done reliably and safely, and the rig released on time.”

“A new mindset for the industry, perhaps, but one that looks to the future, and shifts the balance towards sustainability.”

The full article can be read in the latest edition of Oil Review Middle East, https://www.oilreviewmiddleeast.com/current-issue


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