When something has worked for a century, tearing it down and starting from scratch is not often tabled as a viable way to search for improvement. Creating something new isn’t easy, especially within businesses where models, procedures and infrastructures have remained largely static, and where change often comes at significant cost and with significant risks.
Because of this, within Oil and Gas exploration and extraction, staged improvements to existing solutions are commonly hailed as innovations. Add each of these innovations together for over a decade and what the industry is left with is legacy infrastructure that is laced with numerous bolt on solutions, each engineered not necessarily to be the very best it can be, but to coexist with aging technology and create short term efficiencies.
This situation isn’t the fault of those looking to innovate for the industry. Each is simply playing on the field the game is currently on. However, it also isn’t the way to encourage the creation of real, game-changing solutions for an industry in dire need of them.
Raptor Rig is a new kind of drilling company. Founded in Calgary, Alberta, it has designed and is manufacturing a new and proprietary drilling platform that uses a Simultaneous Connection System (SCS) that is able to operate two drill strings in tandem and, in doing so, reduce connection time by up to 70% and an operator’s overall drilling costs by 30%.
Throughout the conception phase of the new rigs, the founders of Raptor Rig, design and engineering team, Reg Layden and Richard Havinga, and business and finance specialists, Brett Chell and Cameron Chell, were starkly aware that the best solution wasn’t always (or often) the easiest. However, in their rich, collective experience, it was companies which had looked beyond solving micro pain points that had truly disrupted and reshaped industries.
The Raptor Rig team closely studied what operators were looking for as an end result with the aim of using that intelligence to define the specifics of their product. Oil producers articulated numerous, micro pain points within their operations, but significantly, they also had elevated, aspirational notions of what they saw could form the future of their industry.
The problem the vast majority of operators were facing was, as one might have predicted, how to extract oil at a lower cost, how to find significant increases in operational efficiency and improve safety records – all at the same time.
While the core activity of bringing oil to the surface remains the same, now, in order to be competitive, it simply has to be done faster, cleaner and cheaper. The problem is, much like trying to get a vintage car to run on electricity and auto-park itself, looking to achieve the level of efficiencies needed to be truly competitive and sustainable in this new market dynamic. This simply isn’t possible for much of the legacy technology which is ubiquitous in the oil patch. For the Raptor Rig founders, it was clear that to achieve the level of change the industry needed, it meant innovating from the ground up and creating something entirely new.
The success of a company looking to disrupt often hinges on whether or not it can take advantage of an industry’s tipping point. Being able to do this is contingent on both, understanding what your customer/market will need, and knowing exactly where the best minds and technological innovation can be harnessed to facilitate it.
While incumbent, legacy practices and technologies are hard to deviate from, a fundamentally different industry dynamic must be met with a new and innovative approach to building a sustainable model.
For the Raptor Rig team, tearing down the old model of drilling rigs for the sake of change wasn’t a choice, but a necessity born from examining the picture as a whole and having the insight to innovate for the long term future rather than the short term win. The end result is an advanced, next generation drilling rig that is designed to operate in any ecosystem at peak efficiency. Ultimately, it is to help oil producers drive their businesses successfully into the future.
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