Whether we’re servicing a repeat customer or a brand new one, we inevitably get the question… “What else does Double H do?”. Don’t get me wrong, we’re happy to tell you about how we’re world class in trucking, forklifts, and rentals. You can usually see their eyes light up as they think of all the headaches they’re dealing with when it comes to their current service providers and all the ways they want us to solve their problems, but the one that we get the most head scratches with when we mention it is our laydown services line of business.
Laydown Services? Laydown what? What are you servicing?
Again, we LOVE walking customers through step by step on what laydown services are but I decided to crack open the old laptop and write this article to have a single place to point people to for knowing exactly what a laydown is, why you might use a laydown, what are the typical costs of a laydown, and, of course, why we’re the only laydown service provider to use in Enid Oklahoma!
What are laydown services?
So let’s get down to it. What are laydown services?
Well, the name is pretty self explanatory but I’ll hold your hand anyways. When you’re drilling an oil well the pipe is being fed into the ground. These aren’t just your everyday PVC pipe either, these are 30ft pieces of steel that weigh 200-300 lbs a piece. There’s plenty of different ways of drilling a well but for the sake of keeping this short just imagine you’re drilling a hole thousands of feet into the earth and stacking the pipes on top of each other all day every day until you hit oil… or not. Either way something had to stand all that pipe upright and get it into place.
Your drill pipe gets loaded onto the pipe rack (I know… we’re using rocket science terms here), basically the storage area for all of the drill pipe that are going to be fed into the ground. Your laydown machine operator loads a single drill pipe onto the machine and it gets raised up and fed into place upright and ready to be fed down hole. There’s plenty of nuances like the angle that the pipes are getting raised up (but that’s for another article).
Everything I just mentioned is for removing the pipe but basically in reverse. Since we’re not the environmental heathens that some people think, we can’t just leave hundreds of these pipes in the ground and call it a day.
So that’s where your laydown machine comes in. Pipe comes out of the ground, gets swung over to the laydown machine and the machine…. Well… slowly and in a controlled manner lays the pipe down so it can then be stored in the pipe rack. I know I’m throwing out all of these fancy terms like laydown machine and pipe rack but bear with me here. Use your imagination!
What is the history of laydown services?
I did a little history search on the laydown machine and the original patent was filed in 1981 after over a hundred years of roughnecks smashing their fingers loading and unloading hundreds of pipes.
Why would you use laydown services, what are the benefits?
So you might be asking yourself, why use a laydown service? Well, it’s no secret that working in the oilfield is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet just speaking from an injury per man hour worked standpoint. I feel that we as operators have an obligation to do everything in our power to reduce that risk for our workers.
The first benefit of using a laydown machine is obviously the massive reduction in worker injuries. It is estimated that close to 40% of all lost-time incidents are hand and finger injuries that doesn’t include strained backs from pulling and lifting. These injuries can be avoided by using quality laydown equipment and working with the right team who delivers excellent service.
The second benefit of using a laydown is time. Laydowns can place a joint of pipe to the wellhead in as little as 15 seconds, and the best part is it never gets tired. This allows the operator a quick return on investment, reducing headcount, lowering the risk of exposure and outsourcing for better efficiency.
Now that we got the obligatory safety benefits out of the way, the next benefit is cost (the one your operator might care the most about!). You may be asking… “How in the world does paying Double H to come out to my rig to pick up and lay down drill pipe help my costs?!”
The answer is in these three simple points. Cost of the machine, headcount, and liability.
See, these machines are crazy expensive.
Our laydown machines can cost around $400,000. We’re typically used on non-conventional wells where the operator doesn’t want the laydown built into the system so you can imagine having to buy one or more of these laydown machines for every time you drilled a small horizontal. It’s much cheaper to hire a third party that’s nimble and get work only when you need them.
The next point is the impact it has on the head count of your staff on the rig. By hiring out a third party laydown service, you get a turnkey expert solution for an entire line of your operation instead of having to hire/train/manage the employees on staff to manage the laydown machine. This is both a reduction in the potential of employees getting hurt on your dime and wages and all of the loaded costs that come with those wages.
The last is liability which goes hand in hand with the headcount point. Look.. we all insurance costs for your operation are absolutely insane and the more machinery you add to a rig the higher risk you are and the more it’s going to costs from an insurance standpoint. As a non conventional well you need to be lean and mean and a lot of the time that means having only your wheelhouse operators and rig hands on staff and hiring out third parties for the rest.
At the end of the day you’re liable for your guys and your guys only. If you, as a non-conventional well operator, work with fully insured third parties as many risks and insurance costs are moved off of you as possible and you can sleep well at night especially in the boom times where 24/7 drilling is going on.
What is the cost of laydown services and what impacts the price?
Laydown services, especially in the STACK, can fluctuate wildly. One, based on the competency of the guys you’re hiring and two, based on your needs as a client. We’re seeing hourly rates from $120 to $180/hour with the biggest differentiating factor being if you’re hiring out for a single day vs a whole week. Obviously a single day being one the higher end of the spectrum due to the time it takes to setup and get the equipment out there being the same whether a third party is out on the rig for 1 or 7 days.
How do you know who is a good laydown service provider?
There’s probably a million little details that make a good laydown services provider from showing up on time to fair pricing but those details are true for any business. Let’s focus specifically on laydown services in the STACK. Remember up there where we talked about the more equipment you have the higher your costs and liability are? Well, ask yourself…. What are all of the moving parts in a laydown service?
- You need to haul the drill pipe to the rig
- Pipe needs to be loaded from the truck to the pipe rack using a forklift
- Pipe needs to be loaded from the pipe rack to the laydown machine with said forklift
- Laydown machine needs a licenses, insured, and experienced operator
- Your laydown machine operator needs to be experienced enough to project manage and integrate with your on staff rig team
- And everything in reverse when the pipe is coming out of the ground
Next, ask yourself…. How many of those things do I want my laydown service provider to be able to do? If the answer isn’t “all of them”, then I’m not sure we should be having this conversation! This answers the question of what makes a good laydown service provider. You want a turn key solution for every aspect of the process. You don’t want the “cheaper” guys that are going to make you haul your own pipe and own your own forklift and staff your own lift drivers. You’ll end up paying more for those things than finding a turn key full service laydown service provider.
And that’s where Double H comes in. You knew this was coming didn’t you? Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush here. We’ve spent over a decade in trial and error mode architecting what makes the best laydown services provider in the world. We’re a turnkey solution that handles every single step of the process with vetted, insured, and trained experts that will integrate seamlessly with any rig that will give us a shot.
If you’re even close to being in the market for laydown services in the STACK or specifically in Kingfisher county give us a call. We’re here to help any time you need us.