Private Forums
Skidding land-rigs on steel plates (to save R/D and R/U)
06 April 2017

Dear members,

One of the things that came up at both of the latest DWOPs here in Jakarta was rig-skidding.  The rigs involved are both doubles, truck/carrier-mounted (and non heli-portable). They are drilling from multi-cellar pads and yet they have to R/D and R/U the rig to move 10m!! This takes a minimum of 3 days.

I seem to remember that that in Papua New Guinea one of the operators and Drilling Contractors had a cunning approach to this.  The rigs were laid on a steel plate and would be dragged across as required.

If any of you are familiar with this technique and/or have a better approach, please could you share as much as possible.

Things like:

1.     Do you skid with the mast up?

2.     What additional precautions do you take?

3.     Have you skidded with pipe in the mast?

4.     Do you also skid the mud tanks and solids control package and, if not, what cunning plans do you have for flowlines and bell nipple height

5.     What lessons have you learnt?

6.     Do you have photos and/or procedures that you can share with us?

Many thanks



7 answer(s)
Total Posts: 113
Join Date: 05/03/08
Hi Dave,

I was part of a (very small!) team that looked at using doubles carrier mounted rigs for a multi-well Onshore development program in East Europe.

The basic program essentially involved driving the carrier onto a small sub base and locking it in place - the sub base could then be skidded in the 'conventional' manner along tracks with hydraulic jacks.

Flow / power / hydraulic lines were extended so everything stayed in place during the move - if I recall correctly, it was relatively easy to do for about 10 wells in a line with 6' spacing. After that, it needed more complex work on the flow-line to make it work.

We oriented the rig and direction of skidding so that the wellheads were effectively protected by being underneath the catwalk.

A problem we hadn't worked out before the project was cancelled was how to quickly / cheaply strengthen the mast so it could take the loads of skidding with the drill pipe in place.

On a similar project, we actually did some very basic modifications to the substructure on a land rig to convert it to be able to skid. Again, everything else stayed in place. In that case, we did skid with pipe in the mast, although we were only carrying about 2,000m and the mast was rated to around 4,500m.

All the best

Consultant DSV
Total Posts: 26
Join Date: 04/03/11
Hello Dave,

A 'lesson learned', particularly as a follow-up to Ian's response (#2) regarding 'quick and dirty' modifications to skid a rig.

I have had experience of this, except the rig's own power was not used, but a system of pulley-blocks attached to the subbase, a couple of stout ground-anchors, and four bulldozers. The rig was a large Lee C. Moore.

Although (after some trial and error) the system worked (the weak point was found to be the attachment onto the dozers!), the rig was not designed to be treated like this! After a three-well campaign, the rig was dismantled for a 'conventional' move, and also magnaflux inspected. A significant number of cracking faults were found in the substructure fixing pins. In hindsight, this was not surprising, as during the skidding, they'd been subjected to loads in directions along paths which would not occur during normal conditions.

In that instance nevertheless, the time saved by skidding was very considerable, and far outweighed the cost of modifications (and replacement of a number of pins!), but this problem is one which should be anticipated.

As a personal opinion, if the rig has been modified for skidding using whatever systems, and not designed for it, it would seem unwise to attempt doing so with pipe in the derrick, not just due to weight, but also additional strains and stresses that could occur and which hadn't been 'engineered in'.
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 413
Join Date: 10/01/05
This just in from a retired Hess US employee:

"Regarding skidding rigs, check with both H&P and Nabors.  We (Hess) used their rigs in North Dakota that were made specifically for this.  Some walked and some skidded.  Mostly the tanks remained stationary, but the structure moved with the mast in place.  I don't remember if the pipe could remain in the derrick, but I believe it did."

Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 413
Join Date: 10/01/05
Hi folks

Please find attached a few drawings of Rig-skid systems used in SE Asia.  They were sent to me by a friend who is a Senior Manager in one of the Drilling Contactors ("Business Partner").

Best wishes

Drilling Supt
Amni Int'l PetDevCo
Total Posts: 24
Join Date: 13/09/07
Used a landrig in Iraq that was skidded on beams using hydraulic jacks. The skidding operation took less than 12 hrs. As Jaap states, the mud plant and power plant 'stay behind'. Schlumberger 103 (or 101 or 102) land rigs can skid, if I remember correctly 80 m in total without the need to move the mud and power plant. Typically these rigs have a different lay-out then conventional land rigs. One thing to keep in mind is the distance between the 'completed' well and the well you are drilling to prevent any clashes with the rig's substructure and wellheads / X-mas tree.
Best regards,
Harald Benning
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 413
Join Date: 10/01/05
This just in from one of the guys who used to work for Oilsearch:

" Hi Dave

Great to hear from you!

I finished with Exxon (as PNG Drilling Advisor) back in 2013 and have been a full time farmer since!

Rig Skidding:
1) Cheap option
a) Install skid plate on mats & grease before rigging up sub base
b) Use skid sheaves in sub base and bridal hanging from the blocks. Run cable from bridal down through the table to the sheaves that are fixed to the sub-base beams. Then forward and out from underneath the sub base to a deadman anchor point which is located beyond that last cellar. Pick up on blocks and skid rig along to next cellar.

2) Engineered option
a) Install skid plate on mats & grease before rigging up sub base
b) Pre-install hydraulic rams that lock onto each side of the sub base. Extend Arms that lock into sub-base track.

Will try and see if I have any photos and procedures and send them through.

Hope that helps.


Head of Well Engineering
State Supervision of Mines
Total Posts: 13
Join Date: 09/11/15
Yes. It was used by KCA DEUTAG on several rigs including for instance the T46 a 2000HP rig while drilling 11 storage wells north of Madrid.
I need to check if i have any photos or drawings left in my archives as i am no longer working in KCAD.
The mudplant and powerplant are connected on long flowline cable run laid on a train of dollies. The rig stays upright.
I might even have the skid times somewhere. Between 18 hours at the start to 4-6 hours eventually, i seem to recall. No doubt contacting KCAD in Bad Bentheim will get you more info.

Jump to top of the page