Unlike anything we've heard of before in the past, we recently heard about how one oil rig crew in California came together with water well rig professionals to unconventionally aid with drought relief. California, was recently in a bit of a dry spell, but one team, headed by Scott Belknap in Dinuba, California, figured out a way they could help.
After having a conversation with a salesman of Atlas Copco named Joe Beloso, Scott Belknap was able to learn that a piece of equipment called the Atlas Copco RD20 could be used as a water-well drilling device. Traditionally speaking, the RD20 is a 120,000 pound powerhouse and is fully capable of pullback strong enough for the oil fields, but it turns out that the RD20 is also compact enough to take on municipal water wells and agricultural water wells too.
Beloso got on the phone with his colleague, Ray Kranzusch after their talk, who connected Beloso with some of the top RD20 hole contractors in the oil and gas industry, and from there they developed a mutually beneficial solution for both the water and oil industries.
"Although RD20s were developed for presetting casing in oil and gas projects, Kranzusch says their use in other applications is not unusual, ranging from ventilation shaft drilling and creating grouted pilings, as well as drilling water wells," as explained to us by the Water Well Journal.
That being said, the crew was able to put the RD20 to work with no extrenuous amount of additional time or training, as they would normally with unfamiliar rigs. While working under a water well contractor, the crew was able to use a reverse circulation technique with the RD20 while making the transition. It was a perfect situation, since Scott Belknap is quite familiar with the area, since his family has lived in California for almost 100 years.
Belknap told the Water Well Journal that, "We don't need a map to tell us 7 miles that way, you'll be drilling in 'Old Faithful,' getting 1000 gallons per minute, but 10 miles this way, you'll be lucky to see 20 gpm."
With his knowledge of the land's agriculture and his connection with the local community, his history within the area helps Belknap get his done easily and efficiently. At the end of the day, the switch from drilling into water wells instead of drilling into oil patches was simple and effective for this crew using the RD20 and reverse circulation techniques. All in all, the cooperation between the water and oil professionals was great for the agriculture of this California town, as well as for some of California's driest areas, and even more drillers are showing an interest in this new innovative technique.
Although we normally say that water and oil don't mix, this tactical solution to drought relief in California shows us that when great minds come together, anything is possible.