We designed our rigs to improve spud-to-release times—focusing on the processes and details. For example, we didn’t just design for pumping a lot of mud into the well. We designed our entire circulation system around the same capacity, so that the flowline, shakers, and augers don’t slow you down. Focusing on processes such as backreaming and by moving tasks offline, we’ve done everything possible to reduce flat time without compromising our approach to safety.

Small, incremental time savings are adding up to big money.


Thinking big to make costs small

When you’re offshore, every second counts. That’s why we’re building a modern fleet designed to tackle today’s challenges—not those encountered 30 years ago. These changes are made in the interest of reducing spud-to-release time.

  • Measuring in seconds to save days. Saving a few seconds per connection may not sound like much—until you multiply that by thousands of tubular connections per well.
  • Sizing systems around real requirements. Most downhole tools are limited to approximately 1,200 GPM. We designed for circulating 1,400 GPM into the well and 1,600 GPM out of the well to ensure capacities are consistent for the entire system.
  • Go big. We worked with NOV to develop a system allowing us to buck-up casing doubles offline on the cantilever for the CJ46 and CJ50 rigs. This allows us to substantially reduce casing run time.

Rig flat time vs. productive time

This chart breaks down one operator’s average 2013 global rig activity: 80 percent flat time versus 20 percent drilling time. Northern is working to improve all processes, reducing the flat-time portion of the well.