Water Wins Bucyrus Erie Cable Tool Rigs

Water Wins employs two drill rigs manufactured by Bucyrus Erie Company, a 20W 3 line drill rig that is mounted on a Mercedes Benz truck and a 22W 3 line rig that is mounted on a 1980’s Ford F-700 truck that was a former grass fire off-road fire truck. These rigs were built in the 1960’s and are prized for their durability and low cost of operation.

The 20W rig weighs only 5,900 lbs. and is capable of drilling 6” diameter hole to 700’ depth. This rig is capable of swinging a 1,500 lb. drill stem for percussion drilling.

The 22W rig weighs 8,400 lbs. and is capable of drilling 16” diameter hole and drilling to depths of 1,275’. This rig can swing 2,450 lb. of drilling stem.

We are often asked why we chose Bucyrus Erie drill rigs for drilling in Nigeria instead of the larger, faster rotary drill rigs that have replaced the Bucyrus style of cable tool percussion drilling in many parts of the world. Several of the reasons are listed below of why we think cable tool rigs are a good option for drilling in the geology of the EKA.

A fundamental principle that drives our drilling philosophy is that we are not a relief agency (a group who brings 1st world technology into 3rd World emergency situations to implement immediate relief). Our drilling ministry employees Nigerians who run the drilling operations in the EKA. Villages receiving wells pay for 18% of the total cost of a well.

Our ultimate drilling goal began this year with the purchase of a second drill rig. In the future Water Wins hopes to start a well drilling business that can be self-sustainable (in areas where Nigerians can pay for 100% of the total cost of a well) and eventually support the drilling ministry in the EKA (rural area where villages cannot afford to pay the full cost of a well).

Our drilling methods need to match as much as possible the scale of economy we are working in. Many experts advocate drilling methods such as hand digging well crews or small simple mechanical drilling methods that are affordable to the drilling companies and their customers. We need to be very careful not to show up with $350,000 drilling rigs that burn $300 of fuel per day and can drill several wells a day with a crew of two men. This system works in the US where labor is expensive, infrastructure is advanced, and time is money. A Bucyrus Cable rig can easily drill 100’ in a day and for $20 of fuel at $5/gallon.

A Bucyrus rig mounted on a truck that will weigh between 18,000 and 22,000 lbs. does not need a huge dual axle truck to transport which allows for less expensive trucks to haul the rig and shorter lighter trucks which are easier to get to remote sites.

Our Bucyrus Rigs have no hydraulic systems, so there are no expensive, difficult to find parts. This is a big deal when replacement parts are not readily available. Simple mechanical screw jacks to level the rig and mechanical gears, cable, and pulleys are employed to raise the derrick.

Along with our lower cost-lower tech drilling rigs we chose to use a state of the art resistivity meter to help find the best locations to drill for water. Some of the areas in the EKA can be very difficult to find water. We have been able to greatly reduce our dry holes with our resistivity meter which helps us not waste our valuable resources.