Two longtime Tulsa titans are teaming up to drill for natural gas in the Rockies - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Two longtime Tulsa titans are teaming up to drill for natural gas in the Rockies

Helmerich and Payne has a new, state-of-the-art drilling rig that is being used by Williams in the Piceance Basin in western Colorado. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg went to Colorado to see how this remote mountain region is good news for Tulsa.

Williams drilling superintendent Scott Brady: "This is H & P, Helmerich and Payne rig number 273." In this beautiful corner of western Colorado, there is a beauty by oil and gas standards, the Helmerich and Payne flex rig. "Probably the state-of-the-art rig in the Rocky Mountains today." Scott Brady says this one has only been in operation for 3 weeks. They say it works faster, cheaper, and safer than any rig in the world.

Part of the secret is automation. With Helmerich and Payne's trademarked V-boom and knuckle-boom system is almost hands-free. In the past, workers had to manually drag and maneuver 500+ pound pipes on the rig. "That's where fingers get mashed and toes get smashed and people get knocked down and arms get broken and with this thing, all that just completely goes away."

The flex rig's enclosed cabin has advanced computer controls that save wear-and-tear on drill bits and save the precious time of replacing drill bits. The entire rig can also slide on skids, so it can move and start drilling new wells, up to 22 of them, while the ones right next to it can immediately be put into production. "It makes your operation a much more efficient operation where you can actually be completing and selling gas on the same location that you're still drilling wells."

The gray-colored metal is the skids that the entire rig slides on. This particular rig can move back and forth and from side to side.

Helmerich and Payne designed the rig when gas prices were low and they say nobody was doing research. Helmerich and Payne stock promptly dropped on Wall Street. Doug Fears with Helmerich and Payne: "They were perplexed because at the time, the energy business was not doing well, there was an overcapacity of rigs, but we knew this time would come."

Now gas prices are high, companies want to drill again, and they're the only ones with the new technology companies want. Helmerich and Payne's stock price has tripled in the past 2 years.

And definitely not to be overlooked is Williams. Once nearly bankrupt, the now-robust company is putting $1-billion into new gas exploration. Kelly Swan with Williams “3 years ago we had one drilling rig out here and now here we are today with more than 20. By the end of the year, we'll have 25 rigs out here."

Surprisingly, it's the first time the two Tulsa companies have teamed up, but they're making the most of it. Williams has four of the Helmerich and Payne flex rigs. Six more will be added to Piceance Basin this year.
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