Mercedes Benz Actros chosen for Aussie-made Gas and Oil Service Rig

Power take-off and off-road ability were clinchers for well-servicing company Nitschke Energy.

Brisbane-based Exploration Drill Rigs (XDR) chose the current generation Actros for its innovative XDR 75 rig, which is about to start work in Queensland.

Nitschke Energy (part of the Nitschke Group), based near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, is making final preparations before deploying one of its two XDR 75 Actros models to Queensland.

The XDR 75 can be used for a range of well servicing tasks. It was developed from the start with workers in mind, with some clever safety features built in, but its productivity is also a key selling point.

The design of the XDR 75 means it can be set-up and packed up faster than conventional rigs, while it can also deliver time savings once the job has started. The 8×4 Mercedes-Benz Actros 4148 was judged to be the best truck for the job, with one reason at the top of the list of benefits. It’s available with a high power continuously rated direct PTO (Power Take Off), which means the XDR 75 rig can take all its power from the truck’s 12-litre V6 engine that generates 480hp and 2300Nm of torque. The PTO can deliver 2000Nm of torque to operate the rig.

Often, truck-mounted drill rigs require a secondary engine to power the rig and these can be big and heavy power units with up to 12 cylinders. The additional engine also takes up a lot of room on the back of the truck, which can increase the size and weight of the truck and rig combination.

“At the moment, a lot of other rigs are Canadian and American and they are much larger units,” said Nitschke Group managing director, Jonathan Nitschke. “A lot of them are overweight, over-width and over-height, while this is highly mobile so it is about having the right tool for the right job. The XDR 75 Mercedes-Benz does not require any over-dimension permits to travel on Australian roads, nor does it require escort vehicles.”

Mr Nitschke, has worked closely with XDR to fine-tune the rig to suit the Australian oil and gas market. He is confident the technology will be well accepted by the industry and deliver savings for him and his customers.

“Productivity wise, on set-up, pack-up and moving between sites we think we will be 20-30 per cent faster than these traditional rigs that are currently being used in the market,” he said.

The Nitschke family has had plenty of experience with Mercedes-Benz products given his father’s business John Nitschke Drilling used them regularly. “We have had 30 or 40 8×8 Mercedes trucks over the years and they are a very good strong truck, they are good off-road and the servicing and everything is pretty good for them as well,” he says. “They are a good, reliable truck.”

Nitschke Energy will also use two Actros 2655 B-doubles that carry everything that is needed to operate the XDR 75 unit. This includes large fluid tanks, well control equipment, drill annulus and rams that prevent blowouts, as well as a 20ft workshop container, site office and forklift.

XDR is the only Australian gas and oil rig servicing manufacturer that develops, makes and sells this kind of rig. They say the XDR 75 breaks new ground when it comes to efficiency and safety. The rig takes just 30 minutes to set-up and the same amount of time to pack-up, but also requires fewer workers thanks to its programmable Logic Control Computer and sensors, which “enable safer and faster rig operations with fewer personnel whilst providing comprehensive well servicing data for the benefit of the client.”

Originally published on 04/03/2016