Drilling rig certifications extended

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) recently extended its intervals for inspections. Most significantly, the most intensive inspection, a Level IV, is now required after 2,500 operating days. It used to be 1,000.

Mark Scholz, president and CEO of the CAODC said on Jan. 16, “We did a robust analysis of certifications within our recommended practices. CAODC self-governs its members on providing direction on best practices for certification. It used to be 1,000 operating days with a 125-day extension with the approval of an engineer,” Scholz said. “API, the American Petroleum Institute, is 3,600 days for a Level IV.”

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“Is it reasonable for us to continue with 1,000 days knowing there are other international standards that provide additional flexibility?” he said.

Scholz said the CAODC took a year sitting down with manufacturing shops and engineering teams to get a feel for where the industry is at. “We landed on 2,500 with an engineered Level III at 1,250. So an engineer would do the Level III, and it will be at the discretion of the engineer as to whether or not they felt you could get to 2,500 days.”

Other intervals have been spread out as well.

Is there a safety issue with this?

“We wouldn’t have recommended it if we felt we were putting our people at risk, or jeopardizing our operations. We were comfortable with making that recommendation,” he said.

If a rig averages 120 operating days a year, that means it can work almost 21 years at that rate before hitting the 2,500 day Level IV threshold. “If the professional engineer sees any sort of defects that needs to get addressed, it will be addressed at that stage,” he said of the beefed-up Level III inspections.

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