John Energy rapidly expanding onland rig fleet

Vol 16, PW 8 (01 Nov 12) Exploration & Production

Delhi-headquartered Shiv Vani had better watch its back.

Rival John Energy in Ahmedabad might soon have the largest onland rig fleet in India. John has 29 rigs, 15 drilling and 14 workover.

But for now Shiv Vani can safely claim to have the largest fleet, with 21 rigs. But John is planning to buy two more rigs next year to win assignments in CIS countries Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

This will take John’s overall fleet size to 31 rigs, of which 17 will be drilling rigs. “We expect good business from the CIS,” says John.

“We might go for a combination of a 1000-hp rig and a 1500-hp rig; or 1500-hp and 2000-hp.” John is talking to China’s largest land drilling rig manufacturer Sichuan Honghua Petroleum Equipments, which uses technology from Houston-based Nabors, and to favoured rig manufacturer Houston-based Drilling Structure International (DSI).

John already owns 5 rigs made by DSI. It is also talking to National Oilwell Petroleum Engineering, a joint venture between Chinese company Lanzhou LS and US-based National Oilwell.

John, an Indian company despite its international name, has won global contracts for its rigs. Two are in Algeria with Sonatrach and another in Uganda with London-listed Dominion Petroleum.

“We were the first non-US company to win a job in Algeria,” boasts John. Baker Hughes sub-contracted the 2000-hp John-16 and 1500-hp John-17 rigs in October 2010 for a $70m three-year 55-well drilling campaign with Sonatrach.

Both DSI rigs are near desert town Hassi Messaoud. Dominion hired a John rig in April 2010 for its Ngaji (Silverback Gorilla) prospect at Ugandan Block 4B.