WorldWide Drilling Resource

21 DECEMBER 2021 WorldWide Drilling Resource® RENEW - SUBSCRIBE NOW! E-loop Solves Service Loop Downtime Issues Adapted from Information by Scott Parker, igus Product Manager for Energy Chain Systems in Canada A design alternative to service loops is helping a Canadian rig operator survive high winds and harsh conditions, enabling reliable operation in any weather. AKITA Drilling retrofitted its rig in Bethune, Saskatchewan, Canada, with an e-loop system. The new system relies on an energy chain that serves as a cable guide for the rig, ensuring a defined bend radius of the cables while also withstanding vibrations and shocks. AKITA drills for potash, a group of minerals and chemicals which is an important ingredient in fertilizer. It supports plant growth, increases crop yield, and enhances water preservation. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of potash with Saskatchewan holding almost half of the world’s potash reserves. While AKITA’s rigs worked well under normal conditions, high winds frequently forced machine downtime. Cables on service loops became snagged, disrupting operations and forcing temporary shutdowns. In January, workers retrofitted the AKITA rig with the e-loop. The next day, a blizzard swept through, knocking out power lines and causing power outages throughout the region. Wind gusts were the highest ever recorded in nearby Regina during the month of January, reaching 88 miles per hour. In the past, those circumstances would have required a work stoppage. “Even in those extreme conditions the loop functioned very well,” said Darren Hrynkiw, a senior manager for K+S Potash Canada, owner of the mine. “I am always pleased when an engineered solution can be found to eliminate a safety hazard as this is far more effective than procedural safeguards. We expect little to no maintenance given its design and there are no productivity impacts with the installation of this protective system.” Service loops supply energy for electricity, hydraulics, and pneumatics. Most, however, are made with steel and require continual maintenance. They are also susceptible to corrosion. There were also safety concerns due to the high-voltage cabling. The e-loop solution combines the advantages of a self-lubricating energy chain with a Dyneema rope, which absorbs the high-tensile forces and passes them through to mounting brackets in the support structure. The design relieves cables of any strain, and withstands vibrations and shock. Although this application was for potash, the solution could be used in any rig. “What a rig drills for doesn’t matter,’’ said Justin Amoyette, a field superintendent with AKITA. “The e-loop solution could be a huge benefit on any drilling rig.” The igus energy chain is able to operate in the toughest weather conditions. The energy chain replaced the service loop on the rig and was installed in an 8-hour retrofit. The service loop frequently snagged and work had to shut down in blizzard conditions. MIN