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Heat, dust and a customised solution

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Oilfield Technology,

Bentec GmbH, a fully-owned subsidiary of KCA Deutag, needed a specialty power solution for an end user facing extreme drilling conditions in the Algerian desert. With As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of drilling rigs and oilfield equipment based on more than 125 years of history, Bentec delivers customer-focused drilling solutions and innovative oilfield systems developed specifically for harsh and hostile environments such as arctic or desert applications

Extreme is an understatement for the desert environment, with temperatures rising up to 55 °C and omnipresent dust and sand adding to the complexity of drilling operations. The equipment powering the drilling must be designed to withstand incredibly hostile conditions due to inconsistent fuel qualities and the significant impact dust, sand and the elements can have on the filters, bearings and general maintenance of the engines and generator sets.

Customer requirements

Bentec needed to power four drilling rigs with durable generator sets providing all power for the end user’s complete drilling operations. The end customer required a special frame to fit in their containers, interfaces for the alarm and safety system as well as the configuration and implementation of the pipework for the fuel system. Having successfully utilised Cat® solutions in the past, specifically the out of production Cat 3512A, the customer wanted to again use Cat solutions to power their operations and turned to Cat dealer Zeppelin Power Systems. Zeppelin was tasked with not only engineering the highly-specified technical requirements for the operations but also providing comprehensive training for the end users’ operators.

The solution

For Zeppelin, this project had several unique requirements, the first being the end user desired Cat 3512A generator sets for each rig, a power rating that is no longer in production.  The scope of delivery for the four drilling rigs included 16 generator sets, each equipped with mechanically driven Cat 3512A engines as well as a generator, cooler and frame. Each package was additionally equipped with a Cat C15 generator set for emergency power. Zeppelin worked fastidiously with Caterpillar and the Lafayette Engine Center, where Cat 3500 power solutions are manufactured to fulfill the end customer’s request and reissue Cat 3512A generator sets.

The Cat power solutions arrived as basic packages at Zeppelin’s Achim, Germany location, where their in-house engineering and construction team equipped each product with the end customer’s specific needs. To meet the demands of harsh and hostile desert environment, Zeppelin Power Systems developed a matching double-filter system, allowing for a quick change during running operation. Additionally, air and oil filters can be replaced without interrupting the power supply and stopping the production.

All equipment test runs were conducted at Zeppelin Power Systems in Achim. The commissioning took place at the customer’s location, which included testing of the entire rig. The service team from Zeppelin Power Systems accompanied the installation at the manufacturer’s location and trained the end customer’s operators for each rig. The operators also received customised, individual sessions on operation of the tailored Cat generator sets.

The entire contract was closed within only two month project phase and a delivery time of only 9-months.  Since the successful installation, the Cat generator solutions engineered by Zeppelin Power Systems run smoothly in the harsh desert environment. Pleased with the stellar Cat power solutions’ performance, the end customer has subsequently placed additional orders with Zeppelin.

Customer benefits

Bentec’s end customer received a customized solution for the extreme desert conditions, prior to this configuration, had not been a part of the standard Caterpillar portfolio. Close collaboration with Caterpillar and top level engineering competence at Zeppelin Power Systems provided for very short project phase of only two months and a delivery time up to installation of only 9 months.

Due to the A-configuration, the mechanical operating generator sets allow for easy maintenance and are incredibly operator friendly. The engines are robust and long-lasting, are easy to service and operate without special know-how in electric operation. The tailor-made specialized filter system allows maintenance during operation, serving as a cost efficient and durable solution during the operation of the drilling rig.  Each individual engine delivers 1.500 kVA at 600 Volt/60 Hz. The overall power output 24 MW or 6 MW per each drilling rig.

Adapted from a press release by David Bizley

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