Why are Hydraulic Catwalks important and what should I look for when purchasing one?
Announcement: Oil and gas drilling is expected to grow at a gross average of approximately 1% from 2021-2026. Although prices have plunged over the years, our dependency on fossil fuel is still a major economical drive in many places. Drilling for either gas or oil is a multibillion-dollar industry with huge demands. Each rig is equipped with state-of-the-art tools and machinery, not only to secure investments and safeguard the product but to also protect the workers’ safe being. One of these is the hydraulic catwalk. It is important to understand the key difference between the different rigs and how they ultimately affect work at a site.
If your crews’ safety is one of your primary concerns then it’s pivotal to have a Hydraulic Catwalk. A Hydraulic catwalk is hardware that comes in different sizes and shapes. It’s normally made out of steel and used primarily in the staging area for rig and drill string tools. They are mainly used by the rig crew to pick up parts – casing, tubular, drill pipes, HWDP, drill collars, and large equipment. In essence, these tools not only decrease the amount of manpower required to hoist heavy equipment to the rig floor but are also essential in keeping your team safe.
By minimizing the direct handling of large oil drilling equipment hydraulic catwalks help to safely transport pipes during pick up and set up. They are a key component in any rig which subtract from your overall cost, by reducing associated costs to transporting equipment and potential injuries and their subsequent consequences.
Hydraulic Catwalks are an integral part of every gas or oil rig supply chain.
What to consider when purchasing Hydraulic Catwalks.
Hydraulic Catwalks come in all shapes and sizes. Each worksite is unique and requires certain personalized tools. In many cases, manufacturers sell custom-built equipment that can operate at peak conditions, but only at your specific site. They are carefully built to the requirements of your rig/derrick. Every meter-sized and measured so they fit seamlessly into your work area and project.
Some rigs, when buying whole already come with a hydraulic catwalk that’s been tailor-made for that structure.
The main considerations are:
What type of company and resources are you working with. We’re not just talking about financial cost and budget but talent and capabilities. Each rig needs a carefully selected labor pool, they require certain facilities and skills to keep it running and working at tip-top shape.
How much time will the plant take to manufacture your catwalk? That’s a critical question you have to ask yourself. When the market is low or in decline inventory is high and manufacturers can create rigs and parts in a matter of weeks. When it’s the market on the other hand high, inventory is low.
Technology improves your ability to drill more productively. The newer rigs are generally more efficient and provide more reliable uptime. They are more durable and easy to handle. They are also up-to-date with most mine site safety requirements. Older hydraulic catwalks might need to be overhauled or updated and in that time you might lose the drilling contract.
Rig with mechanized rod handling has to pay less in insurance, and less in manpower. They save a lot in staffing and labor cost and an extra crew is not needed to manually handle rods. When the technology was first introduced it was incredibly slow and productivity suffered, however nowadays loaders and rigs work at optimal speed.
Each rig is designed to meet certain key specifications. These critical factors go hand in hand with the worksite. It’s not the same mining or drilling underground, as it is at an offshore station. The same goes for the equipment being used and transported. Hydraulic Catwalks move these tools from point A to point B and they are carefully selected and made for the unique site on which your crew will work.
In oil and gas drills the word tubular is an umbrella term. It’s made to describe any hollow product mainly made of steel. The most common types of tubular are pipes, that is why hydraulic catwalks are also called “pipe handlers”. Their main function is ultimately to transport pipe around the rig.
When talking about a hydraulic catwalk, it is important to note its capabilities as far as pipe handling is concerned. What’s the maximum tubular/pipe length it can handle? Where does it top on tubular diameters? How much can its hydraulic support as far as weight? These are all critical questions you have to ask yourself.
Drill Floor Height Range
The Catwalk transports your tubular from the site’s floor to the drill itself. It’s important to have that height carefully mapped out otherwise you will come up short. Always overcompensate by a few meters.
Each catwalk has a specific cycle time. How long it takes to transport a tubular along and cycle through. Rod handling is a key factor.
Each catwalk is designed for different load capacities. It’s paramount to understand what your load will be. Whether you will be working in a shallow mobile land rig and higher substructure or a heavier hoist.
Which Catwalk Should I Buy?
Well, it depends. It’s critical to note all the specifications listed above because they will end up saving you time and money. Contracts are time bases and any sort of reconfiguration or accommodation you have to do to your rig, onsite, that wasn’t on the schedule, will end up costing you.
Knowing the right specs’ is critical in any job. Each tool is unique to the task… The same can be said for Hydraulic Catwalks.