The Walking Rigs or Skidding rigs are latest generation drilling towers that allow us to accelerate the development of unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs, more efficiently, safely and with maximum environmental care.
Walking Rigs work based on a hydraulic system with pistons working vertically and horizontally and repeat the process of “walking”, changing alternatively the support between one 'foot' and another. The big advantage is that it allows movements within the same location very quickly: in an hour and a half one can "walk" 15 meters. Prior to performing this movement the terrain is prepared for about five hours and then the transfer is made, and before drilling again, the zone is prepared for another five hours.
These rigs are operating in the Vaca Muerta Geological Formation in the Province of Neuquén (Argentina). We are the first company in Argentina to incorporate this equipment in scale and in an integrated fashion throughout an area of exploitation.
Currently in Vaca Muerta the first group of Walking Rigs is now operational. Gradually more rigs will be added up to a maximum of 15, all brand new and with an efficient life of many years.
To bring this new equipment onboard, we invested USD 1,200 million for use over a period of five years with the possibility of extension for another three years. These contracts were the result of an international price competition, where we competed directly with US operators, and for which proposals were received from 14 companies for a total of 99 rigs.
This new technology helped reduce drilling costs in each well from USD 11 million to USD 7.5 million (-31.8%). In addition, with the Walking Rigs it is no longer necessary to dismantle, transport and install the rigs, thereby reducing operating time by 50%.
They can weigh over 1,250 tons and carry tools weighing a further 150 tons. They reach a height of 45 meters plus 10 meters of platform and make perforations over 3,000 meters deep. For their operation they require 24 people, the same number as a traditional rig.
At the Loma Campana site located near Vaca Muerta, drilling time to reach the geological formation takes 20-22 days.
In addition to the Walking Rigs, in YPF we also added to the operations a dozen Super Single automatic machines and innovated in the development of Casing Drilling with Under Balance, a method that also substantially reduces drilling time.