Walking Oil Rigs Spur Cheaper, Quicker Drilling in Supply Glut

Bloomberg | David Wethe

More efficient drilling rigs that cost a third less than just a year ago are changing the shale industry in the U.S. by helping producers boost output per-rig.

Some of the newest rigs can travel hundreds of yards to the next well under their own power, lurching along like 150-foot-tall robots on pneumatic legs that raise the equipment five inches at a time, nudging forward at about a foot per minute. While that sounds slow, it is faster and cheaper than dismantling a rig and trucking the parts to a new site nearby. More efficient drilling rigs that cost a third less than just a year earlier are changing the face of the U.S. shale industry, helping boost per-rig output in the four largest fields by at least 40 percent since the crude price plunge began in 2014. 

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