ProAll At Work: Oilsands Cementing
GroundForce geoDrilling Solutions works with companies across Canada to provide specialized drilling services in the oil and gas, potash, mining and geothermal sectors. Within their Oil and Gas Solutions division they provide intermediate-sized drilling and support services for oil and gas exploration and production operations.
GroundForce has a fleet of 12 versatile rigs that can drill from 100 meters to 2500 meters deep. Along with full service engineering and support, they specialize in coring, reverse circulating, horizontal, potash exploration, water and disposal wells. However Rod Tetreault, president of GroundForce, will tell you that he is most proud of the company’s health, safety and environment programs. “We implement safety in everything we do and we have an impeccable HSE record. Our focus on delivering highly productive results safely and responsibly is the cornerstone of our operations.” Founded in 2010, GroundForce now has 200 employees and quite simply, can’t keep up with the demand for their services.
Uncontrollable, Lengthy Wait Times
Within the oilsands, there is a universal problem that every company has to deal with – not enough equipment. Wait times associated with cementing services for example, can cost companies huge amounts of money because their rigs are sitting idle until the support work can be completed. Frustrated with being unable to control cementing services and the associated wait times, Rod started thinking about how he could solve this problem. In the midst of this dilemma, he needed a concrete pad poured and contracted a concrete company. The moment they showed up with a ProAll Reimer Mixer to do the pour, Rod knew he had potentially found the solution to his cementing services problem. After some research, he found that there were a number of companies using specialized volumetric mixers for cementing projects in the oilsands.
Rod contacted ProAll to inquire about their ability to build a specialty mixer. GroundForce required a cementing unit – there was no need for sand or aggregate bins. ProAll built a unit that holds 15 tons of cement with a top cap to ensure the cement stays dry. In order to have a dedicated cementing operation, supporting equipment such as a complete pumping system, a mix tank and cement silos were added to the company’s assets.
When GroundForce has a cementing project, their mixer and supporting equipment is brought out to the drilling site. The cement is mixed with water to the desired density and delivered to a mix tank. From the tank the material gets pumped down the well. The Reimer Mixer is a perfect fit for these types of projects because it delivers a consistent blend of material – this is key as density requirements are very specific and must be tested regularly. GroundForce now has a rear/side discharge tender that they use to haul and deliver additional cement to the Reimer Mixer so that it can run continuously. Additionally, the equipment is very easy to run so the training curve for employees to do this type of work is minimal. “The beauty of this innovative solution is that we now control cementing services for our customers – we can now save rig time and lower project costs,” states Tetreault. “Our cementing equipment is over capacity at this time. We’re looking at purchasing a number of machines this year to keep up with demand.”
Having this equipment available for customer’s projects has made GroundForce’s services more marketable in the oilsands. “Other drilling companies don’t offer this service and have to rely on cementing companies and their lengthy delays to get the job done. We can look at opportunities that we couldn’t look at before,” Tetreault responds. And it’s paying off; the cementing operation has had a positive impact on corporate revenues.
Sunshine Oilsands, a client of GroundForce geoDrilling Solutions was suitably impressed with their operation. “GroundForce supplied us with a dedicated cementing unit for our preset rigs and they came prepared for the winter project with their bulk cement silos and enough product to cover the winter. Their service eliminated wait times and saved rig time which lowered our budgets for the winter. With their innovative new cementing idea they were able to complete the 68 preset cement jobs in the project safely and efficiently with no recorded incidents.”