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Drill Rig Modifications On CONSOL Energy CBM Gas Site Lead To Safety Improvements

"We incurred a serious accident in October 2011 that compelled us to try to figure out how we could jointly prevent these accidents from reoccurring and to learn what could we do to cut down on the use of manual tongs," said Leon Boyd, Noah Horn Well Drilling vice president of operations.

"Just like CONSOL, Noah Horn Well Drilling has safety as its top value in operations," Boyd said. "It's very important that our employees have the safety equipment they need to do the job as safely as possible. Replacing the manual tongs with the hydraulic tongs is a huge step forward in the safety and protection of employees working on drilling rigs everywhere.

"It is our company's chief responsibility to protect our most important resources and at Noah Horn Well Drilling, we maintain that our most important resource is our employees," Boyd added.

"GEFCO is dedicated to the continuous improvement of the performance and safe operation of the equipment we design and manufacture," said Aaron Harmon, GEFCO president. "We are extremely fortunate to have customers like Noah Horn, and industry partners like CONSOL Energy, that we are able to collaborate with to find safe and sensible solutions. It is this kind of collaboration that will improve the safety of our industry."

The new system, the M80G Power Tong, features a hydraulic breakout and makeup system with approximately 65,000 ft./lbs. torque make-up, an 80,000 ft./lbs. torque breakout and an opening to accommodate an eight-inch drill collar.

"Not only does this new technology make things safer, but it also cuts down on some of the back breaking work which occurred with manual tongs," Boyd said.

NHWD and CONSOL Energy agreed to jointly fund the Virginia rig modification unveiled last month and NHWD already has plans to make the modifications to two additional rigs it operates.

GEFCO representatives see the modification being a permanent option on future rig design and a retrofit option on current rigs. It took two to three months to work out the mechanics of the retrofit after the design was completed. GEFCO representatives said future retrofits will be completed in a two to three-week turnaround.

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