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Engineering

How are Drill Rig Companies Coping During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

As doctors began to announce the very first case of Coronavirus infection in the United States, together with other affected nations across the planet, many of us paused for a moment to ruminate on how this global health concern would be affecting our lives. 

The gravity of the situation and the escalating number of COVID-19 casualties is gradually creating a drastic change in the course of our lives. Now several weeks after the US and other neighboring countries confirmed their first COVID-19 casualties, the global business climate took a 360-degree shift to abnormal conditions. 

Drill rig companies say that in cathodic drilling, when you drill anywhere around a functioning live gas or compressor station, they’d see that as “abnormal operating conditions”. Under this scenario, regular drilling tasks are not going to pose immediate threats or are not likely to put neither life nor property in harm’s way. However, if there occurs even a slight deviation from the plan, it will be highly disastrous eventually.  

drill rigs

So what kind of preparations can we take up before working under abnormal operating conditions? We begin by coming up with procedures that intend to minimize possible hazards, securing the safety of involved crews. After this, we need to implement the procedures by offering upskills training to the crew and staff. Finally, we make a careful evaluation of our implemented procedures, calibrating the same as soon as new information comes available.  

Conceptualizing a procedure intended primarily for COVID-19 AOCs is a daunting task if you intend to do it on your own. But we are in the 21st century and the network of global drill rig companies is one of the most highly resourceful communities, they work continuously together. 

The National Ground Water Association or also known as the NGWA, drafted a framework or guideline that can be used as a good reference for operating procedures while the threat of the corvid-19 pandemic is still lingering around us. This effort was headed by Jeff Williams, a former NGWA president, Walter Wells (vice president of Spafford and Sons Water Wells), and finally David Henrich (vice president of Bergerson-Caswell Inc.).  

While Williams is preoccupied with putting a structure to his company’s measures against COVID-19, he also made an effort to reach out to others in the industry online to discuss with them what their plans are and implementation structure. 

Given the repercussions of the coronavirus plague, Williams volunteered to offer us the following best practices which contractors need to observe to customers and crews as safe as they should be.  

Q: Jeff, following the days of the spike in COVID-19 cases, how were you able to create a procedure?  

A: My topmost concern has something to do with immediate service. As a company owner, you don’t want to expose anyone from your team to someone infected and have the whole organization quarantined for 14 days. 

Hence, we need to step up because we realized we have a dire need for a procedure that will help keep my employees and customers safe. So we came up with a plan.  

Q: What kind of plan did you come up with? 

A: We begin by isolating our staff and crews. Our two-person staff was confined to just one vehicle. Then we went further ahead and separated our teams to have their respective bays right in the shop. 

Next move, we closed our office. So, that provides for no walk-in traffic. Nobody from outside would be coming into our office, but we indicated signages why we need to lock up our offices. Isolating will help us run our operations since we need to fix water systems for many people.  

Q: So, you mean to say you drafted out a concrete plan just so you can continue to render your work?  

A: Exactly. The survival of our organization, and anyone’s for that matter, would be depending upon a good plan in place. It took us more or less 48 hours to come with a solid plan for this. 

Q: Were your staff and crew worried that would be self-quarantined?  

A: Not at all. They are fully aware that we have a good, solid plan in place and that we are reactive only to whatever new information that comes available to us every day. We know we are on the right track now, and if someone from our group needs to undergo quarantine, they will be taken care of.  

Q: Do you believe this is going to be our new normal now?  

A: We have come up with an interim policy in place, but we are also going to put in place a long-term contingency plan that will help us should we come across an emergency. Such a policy framework in place, we’ll be able to adjust and adapt.  

Q: In a viral situation like what we have right now, the COVID-19 pandemic, water plays a significant role in cleanliness. What practical advice can we share with other drill rig companies? 

A: Times like this calls out for everyone to become a forward thinker, knowing the best time to plan and be strategic.  While we are being strategic here, we must not be oblivious to the environment but be good stewards of it.  We need to service water systems, and proper procedures in place, we won’t have a hard time mitigating the involved risks.