Should we own or should we rent drilling equipment?

Posted by Frode Bjørheim 23.04.2015

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Whether we're talking about well bore clean out tools, drill pipes, tubing, steel valves, hole openers or any other stock item used on a drill string - or even the entire drill string as a complete assembly - the question is often asked by oil and gas companies:

"Should we buy or should we rent our drilling equipment?" 

The short answer is: "It depends." There is no one-size-fits-all here. To make sure that you make the right decision, you need to ask yourself some deep-drilling questions (pun intended):

1. How long do you plan to use the equipment?

If you have a long term need, purchasing the drilling equipment is usually a good option financially speaking: It will be cheaper than renting.

On the other hand, if you only need the equipment for a short time period, renting it is obviously the most sensible solution, avoiding heavy upfront investment and the risk of overcapacity.

However, no matter what your time frame is, there are other aspects you need to consider before making your final decision.

2. How will buying vs. renting affect our response time?

How important is it to be able to respond to your clients schedule quickly and effectively? Time is always of primary concern for offshore projects, and we bet it is important for you also.

You therefore need to make sure that you have quick access to everything from individual stock items (like pups, subs, valves etc.) to complete drill strings, when the need arises, and where it arises - whether your rig is located in the North Sea or in the Middle East. Can and should your organisation handle tools logistics, or would a rental company be the best choice?

3. What about inspections and maintenance?

Inspection and maintenance of the drilling equipment is a necessary and on-goings activity requiring a lot of time and highly competent people to perform it. Consider if this is a responsibility you would like to take yourself or if it is more sensible to outsource this.

Professional rental service providers are used to adhering to the most stringent client requirements and will save you the headache of making sure that all equipment is inspected in accordance with the proper standards at all times (NS-2, DS-1, API).

When considering a rental supplier, make sure that you chose one that only rents equipment that is “as good as new”. Also be sure to ask them about how they keep up with the latest technology. Although the oil and gas industry is conservative in many ways, new technology is being invented that will – if not revolutionize – make drilling operations more safe and cost-effective.

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Topics: Drilling Equipment


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By: Frode Bjørheim

Frode Bjørheim is a specialist in drill pipe standards and lifting equipments with more than 30 years' experience in the oil & gas industry, both offshore and onshore.

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