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Drilling Services: a comprehensive offering to the UK market

Top drive system overhaul underway
Drilling top drive system overhaul underway

The oil and gas sector has faced a tumultuous few years. Just as recovery from the 2014 downturn seemed to be stabilising the industry, the pandemic hit, bringing with it chaos for companies and individuals alike. 2022 didn’t hold back either, and the geopolitical landscape continued to have a drastic impact on the ever-turbulent oil price. As a result, the industry and those working and operating within it have had to adapt, make difficult business decisions, and shift strategies.

With those changes, we saw new businesses come onto the scene, technology innovations and the rapid adoption of digitalisation, but the ability to tap into knowledge, expertise, and skill sets, as well as adapting market offerings, has allowed Sparrows Group to remain at the forefront of the industry.

In late 2022, the business committed to investing in its drilling services offering in the UK, bringing back a service offering that has continued to flourish in other regions, and hired Sandy Main as Drilling Services Manager - Europe, to lead the service.

A comprehensive offering

When you think about Sparrows in the oil and gas sector, often you think about cranes.

But, this would be a common misconception.

With over four decades’ experience working across the sector, globally, Sparrows has built an expert team who are on hand to support customers with unique or common challenges that they face across large asset equipment.

With services extending across design, equipment rental, maintenance, inspection, operation, refurbishment and more, it is safe to say that Sparrows has seen it all.

The last decade has been difficult for the oil and gas industry, but Sparrows saw an opening to support its customers. Leon Bickerstaffe, Global Head of Drilling Services, commented: “We were already working on drill rigs. We were sending people onto these assets to conduct maintenance or inspection of cranes and we saw a huge opportunity to provide additional support elsewhere on the rigs through value addition.

“If you look at the skillsets of people working on cranes who are doing inspections and rebuilds, there was a huge overlap of skills with those working on other large-scale equipment, and many of our current personnel already have drilling equipment maintenance experience, with backgrounds in these services. We realised that we could take advantage of this untapped knowledge and upskill our already highly competent people, as well as recruiting the best technicians to support with our services expansion.

“That’s something that Sparrows does well – we hire the right people, with the right skills, and then we empower them to do more. The benefit? We have some of the best working for us, and our customers benefit too, saving money whilst still ensuring they receive the highest standard of maintenance for safety critical equipment.”

Interested in working for Sparrows?

How do our customers benefit?

During the pandemic, there was a need to reduce the number of people on assets. If operators use Sparrows’ wide breadth of service capability, project efficiencies can be increased, and, in some cases fewer people can be sent offshore in situations where multiskilled personnel can be used to cover a range of drilling equipment. This isn’t just good for operators' bottom line, but it also incrementally benefits the environment, through reducing the transportation required – all of which is becoming more and more important as companies need to track and report on their ESG impact.

But it’s more than just the people we provide – our drilling services offer benefits beyond just workforce improvements.

Planned downtime can have a drastic impact on profitability, so businesses must have sensible and considered maintenance schedules. Outside of planned turnaround or shutdown periods, equipment often requires unavoidable maintenance, and by offering a comprehensive service offering, Sparrows is allowing operators and contractors to plan their equipment maintenance schedules to reduce the amount of downtime – ultimately resulting in overall increased uptime and therefore less profit loss.

Re-entering the UK market

Sparrows’ drilling services – or drilling equipment maintenance – offering isn’t new. In fact, we’ve built a highly comprehensive offering across the Middle East and Asia, and it was also a service that was offered in the UK in the past.

Leon said: “The UK is quite a different market from the Middle East. We have and continue to offer our service on a more specialist and individual basis in the UK, offering all the individual elements of our drilling services offering in other regions, but on a more segmented basis. In the Middle East, operators were keen to reduce the number of suppliers that they worked with, and they wanted more holistic services from the suppliers that they worked with. So, we focused on building out our drilling services package there.

“But the changing landscape of energy, due to either energy price or decarbonisation as we strive to achieve net zero, means that operators are tightening their belts. They need to think smarter, not harder when it comes to finding solutions and suppliers that work best for them.

“We’re already working with a large percentage of operators within the UK, so now it’s about education and demonstrating the full breadth of our expertise.”

Sparrows drilling services offering

Our multi-discipline technical team is at the core of our services offering and allows us to deliver comprehensive services for drilling equipment inspection, maintenance, repair, overhaul, and recertification. Using the latest techniques, tooling and equipment, our specialist teams ensure the safety and reliability of drilling equipment including:

• Onshore and offshore drilling rig recertification packages

• Hoisting equipment

• Travelling equipment

• Drawworks

• Top drives

• Mud pumps

• Cranes

• Iron roughnecks

• Power tongs

• Rotary tables

• Deadline anchors

• Jacking systems

Sparrows’ range of services also includes project management and parts procurement. Our goal is to help our clients extend the life of their equipment, reduce downtime, and improve safety and performance. We work closely with our clients to develop customised solutions that meet their specific requirements.

For more information or to speak to our expert team about how we can support you today, please contact Leon Bickerstaffe or Sandy Main.

Dismantling of drawworks low clutch
Dismantling of drawworks low clutch

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