The engineering and design of an innovative drilling rig, particularly tailored for cheap / slim hole drilling in mature areas, is presented in the paper along with results obtained by the prototype in field trials.

The project has been defined according to a specific scenario in Italy, which includes marginal gas fields both onshore and offshore. The market is very mature and standard rigs, suitable for slim hole application, are in keen competition, nevertheless the candidate fields are not economically developable if conventional technologies are applied. The ongoing project activity focuses the attention to land operations although offshore can be very attractive for the proposed technological solution.

Innovation has been targeted not only to reduce dimensions and volumes related to the drilling activity but it considered the requirements of high mobility (situations where drilling time is comparable to mob-demob) and reduction in personnel.

The main innovative features concern the hoisting equipment and the automatic pipe handling including a vertical pipe racking system.

The technology has been implemented from an existing water well rig in use since several years, obviously not applicable as it was to oilfield operations. The prototype was assembled in order to provide adequate information regarding equipment reliability, necessary improvements and limits of the proposed technology to design and build a target rig.

Results are related to the experience gained in drilling three wells in a very well known area.

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