In April, we posted the story of DTD’s initial mobilization effort to ship our CMS 9030 drill rig, mud system, support equipment, tooling and materials to a remote site in Alaska. Located on the Yukon River, the mobilization required several weeks. Equipment first traveled overland to Seattle, by ocean-going barge to Anchorage, overland again to the Yukon, then by river barge to its destination, several hundred miles downriver.
The ice breakup and unpredictable river conditions slightly delayed the final leg of the mobilization, but equipment arrived last week. Unlike modern urban dock facilities, the docking and equipment movement at riverside “ports” in Alaska tend to be more rustic, as shown in the photo (left). Strikes by longshoremen are less of an issue than the real potential of getting stuck in the mud while unloading, or the possible grizzly attack. Fortunately, the barge company and DTD crews were able to safely unload the barge, and move everything to the job site, approximately a mile away.
At publishing, the DTD Alaska crew is just over half-way drilled out in completing the first of the wells, each of which will average around 1000 feet in length.
Drilling at remote sites, such as this one in Alaska, require far more deliberation than a remediation job at the local gas station, or even the local refinery. Supply chains for even the most common of commodities, such as drinking water for the crew and fuel for the equipment, must be set into place – fuel comes by barge and bottled water, if procured locally, can pose a major cost for a multi-month project. These costs must be considered early in the bidding process, to prevent surprises during project execution that can kill any profitability for the contractor.