New Drilling Rigs Being Manufactured for Oil an - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

New Drilling Rigs Being Manufactured for Oil and Gas Industry

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You see them in many parts of the country, but especially here in West Virginia.

The oil and gas industry relies heavily on drilling rigs to extract gas or oil from the ground.

Supporting Marcellus and Utica Shale areas is a driving force with oil and gas companies.

One company in Upshur County is providing a state-of-the-art piece of equipment to do just that.

The Appalachian Division of Sidewinder Drilling has had a presence since the 1950s. A lot has changed since then in drilling operations. The company tested its new drilling rig and showed it off to industry representatives on Wednesday before it was shipped out.

"It's just matter of making sure the rig everything is working before we start bringing the rig down and moving it to Ohio to start drilling Utica wells," said Doc Musselman, general manager of Sidewinder Drilling.

The $18 million rig can drill between 15 to 18,000 feet deep. One feature the rig provides is cutting down on move time.

"It can walk with the full load of pipe in the derrick, and it has actually pedestals on each corner of the rig where it picks up the entire rig up and walks several feet at a time, sets the feet down and move its again," Musselman said.

The A/C electric rig also allows the driller operator to work out of a cabin where everything is controlled by electronics with cameras and a joystick.

Company officials said these rigs are the wave of the future, and they hope this rig assembly here in Buckhannon is first of many.

"They're easy to control, their penetration rates and drilling performance is superior, they're easy to break down to move and environmentally friendly so we think this is what the future of the industry will be like," said John Cole, CEO of Sidewinder Drilling.

Company officials said the demand for equipment like this is high, which will also create a demand for qualified operators, and in turn provide an economic boost to the local community.

"They all stay in motels here, they have to buy their lunch, dinners. So they frequent the motels and restaurants here. So it's not just people that work on the rig, it's all the third parties that go along with it," Musselman said.

Officials said several customers who have acreage in West Virginia are looking at rigs like this one.

As the demand for drilling increases company officials said they're looking forward to building more of these types of rigs.