Idaho Finance

Jun 7 2018

Innovative upgrades by rig moving company alter status quo

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Innovative upgrades by rig moving company alter status quo

The oilfield transportation industry isn t known for its cutting-edge technological advancements when it comes to moving rigs. Most companies stick with conventional methods to transport components from one drilling site to the next.

While these tried-and-true methods do accomplish the task at hand, there s always room for improvement at least according to ATK Oilfield Transportation Inc. The Drayton Valley, Alberta-based company prides itself in coupling expertise with innovation to set new standards in rig moving.

In the past 20 years, the rig-moving industry has relied on the same technology and procedures to get the job done, says Ken Campbell, vice president of operations and buyer for ATK Oilfield Transportation Inc. At ATK we realize innovation is the key to improvement and success. We take pride in the fact that our expertise has allowed us to shift the status quo and implement some industry-leading changes.

Oilrigs sit on a specific site for varied amounts of time sometimes a couple of weeks and other times several months. When all of the petroleum or gas has been extracted from the location and drilling has been completed, companies like ATK disassemble the rig components and reassemble everything in a new location. Introducing industry-leading changes, like JCB wheel loaders and specialized trucks, to the mix, allows ATK to move the rigs more efficiently and in a safer manner.

Basically, rigs are semi permanent. They re built to be used for as long as it takes to finish the drilling in an area, and then oil companies let us know where to move them, explains Campbell. No matter the time of year or weather conditions, we re ready with our crews and equipment. Rain and shine, muddy and icy we ve seen it all. The crew s experience really shows when we re moving a rig in particularly difficult conditions, and using top-notch equipment makes the crews more effective.

Master of the trade
ATK Oilfield Transportation is solely a rig-moving company; they do one thing, and they do it well. Using a fleet of customized trucks, JCB wheel loaders and off-road equipment, the ATK team dismantles, transports and reassembles rigs for oil and gas applications. With four locations in Alberta and one in British Columbia, the company can efficiently move rigs from one location to another throughout a wide geographic area.

We re currently growing the company. With our resources now we can move up to six rigs in one day, sometimes as far as up to 300 miles apart. That s fairly aggressive for a company our size. We re an active company, to say the least, Campbell says. In the next year, we hope to double our number of employees and units, which will obviously increase our capacity.

Founded in August of 2010 by Artie Kos, the company has become a successful and trusted resource in the rig-moving trade. Kos began his career in the oilfield transportation business in 1978. By 1989, he had incorporated his own company, Artie T. Kos Trucking Ltd. which he grew into one of North America s largest privately owned oilfield transportation firms. In 2006, Kos sold his interests in his oilfield transportation business and founded Kos Corp. Investments Ltd. In 2010, Artie s lifelong passion drew him and his group together again with the formation of ATK.

Our deep lineup of experience has allowed us to introduce new processes into rig moving, while exceeding client expectations and safety standards, explains Campbell.

Redefining status quo
Traditionally, rig-moving companies rely on a variety of trucks, including bed and picker trucks, and tractors to move rig components, matting and buildings. ATK still makes use of conventional equipment but has also integrated state-of-the-art certified gin pole trucks and JCB wheel loaders into their fleets. While oilrig transportation companies do use wheel loaders, it s unique for the company to actually own and integrate them into the full process.

We basically started the wheel loader trend in the Canadian industry; they were already the norm in the U.S., Campbell says. In the past, Canadian rig movers didn t use their own loaders. We bought our first one from CERVUS Equipment of Edmonton, Alberta a couple of years ago, and we re in the process of getting three more for a total of six. The loaders will be a great addition to our new modern fleet of advanced equipment.

Eventually there will be a minimum of one JCB wheel loader in every division of the company. The loaders are primarily used to move rig matting, the portable platforms used to support drilling rigs. Once the rig components are moved, the loaders pull matting as large as 8-feet wide and 40-feet long onto trucks and stack them. ATK customized its wheel loaders with floater tires to accommodate muddy, wet ground and all-season conditions.

The JCB loaders are also handy for precisely pushing large buildings into place; we use them a lot for that, Campbell explains. Since implementing the loaders, it seems like other companies are trying to play catch up.

ATK s teams run the JCB wheel loaders several hours a day, every day. I ve personally used wheel loaders a lot, so I was familiar with the machines, but this is the first time we ve used them for moving rigs, says Campbell.
The wheel loaders have filled a unique niche in rig moving for ATK, improving both safety and efficiency. The wheel loaders easily pop matting off of muddy or icy ground, making it faster to pile it up and move it off of a drilling site, Campbell explains. In the winter, matting can be frozen to the ground and under ice, making it difficult to even lift. Before we bought the wheel loaders, crewmembers would be out there trying to hook the matting to chains attached to the trucks. Now the loader does all of the work, eliminating the need for guys to be chipping ice away and working with the truck to load each mat.

The machine itself also has some timesaving and safety-promoting features.

I like the fact that the reverse and grapple control are all one joystick, and the JCB has pretty good horsepower for its size. The machines also have exceptional visibility, Campbell describes.

The ROI of relationships
Buying the JCB 457HT Wheel Loader wasn t in ATK s initial plans. The company was set up to receive another type of wheel loader, but the delivery of the order from another dealership fell through. Fortunately, Dave Kwasnitza, a CERVUS sales representative, had made contact with ATK a few months before and came to the company s rescue.

I d been in touch with Brent Wilke, Drayton Valley general manager, at ATK, just trying to establish and build a relationship, explains Kwasnitza. When they found themselves without the wheel loader they ordered, Brent called me up, and I was able to send a JCB model out to them the same day. After trying out the JCB 457HT, the machine never came back to the dealership.

The teams at ATK and CERVUS both believe in the value of strong dealer-client relationships. ATK has a full service shop and team of mechanics to handle basic machine maintenance, but for warranty issues or when they need to borrow another piece of equipment, they rely on CERVUS s help through Dave.

The most important and rewarding part of my job is developing a relationship with my customers, Kwasnitza says. I honestly feel like a part of the ATK family when I go there.

Campbell expresses the same feelings toward CERVUS. Dave is a great guy; I like dealing with him. It s a simple matter of a phone call if we have issues. He s quick to respond to our needs and always provides a loaner machine if we need one. I can t ask for any better service really, he concludes.

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