Over the years, Greg Peters said he has drilled over 14,000 wells in California’s Sierra Foothills east of Sacramento. The average depth is about 400 feet, but many wells have been in the 1,000-foot range. At one time, his company ran as many as six rigs including four TH60s, a T3W and T4W drill. Today, they run two T3Ws and one T4W. “I prefer the two engines of the T3W,” said Peters.
Fuel consumption is better on all Atlas Copco T3W and TH60 rigs built since 2007 because of the introduction of the Electronic Air Regulation System (EARS) and on demand hydraulics. EARS allows the operator to idle back the air when tripping the hole, which saves on fuel.
As compared to the old-style rig, Peters said the newer generation of the T3W is a better rig overall. “It makes more holes and trips faster with the same compressor.” He also mentioned the big sheaves that reduce maintenance by extending cable life. “Before, we would replace the cables once or twice a year. The newer T3W has run for the last year-and-a-half, showing no wear on the cable. The fact that they’re now greaseless is nice, too.”
The crew on the new T3W prefers this rig too. In addition to the CD player, operator Leon Fletcher said the comfort features designed into the truck make a difference. Tight turns and mountainous conditions also make the T3W a preferred rig for maneuvering into difficult drill sites. “The electric mirrors make it easy backing into some of the tight sites and the rig runs up and down the road like a Cadillac.”
Fletcher also cited some drilling operation features he likes better. “I definitely like the air control when developing a hole. The draw works are perfect, and the high speed winch saves time…and I like the feathering [control] on the winch.”
In this part of northern California, Peters feels the Atlas Copco Secoroc QL60 down-the-hole hammer works the best when air-hammer drilling in the 6-inch class. Everything is rock, while overburden, unconsolidated or alluvial formations require Symmetrix near the surface.
“We drill most wells with 6 1/8-inch button bit, but also do some 5- and 8-inch wells,” said Peters. “We’ve tried a lot of other hammers and keep coming back. The [Atlas Copco] QL60 is bullet proof. We get 2,800 to 4,000 feet on a bit with good bit management,” he said.
Peters orders his rigs with the 1070 cfm compressor, versus the 900 cfm option. “I like the 1070 better for cleaning the hole, which wears less on tooling,” he said.
Greg Peters has found success with the rig that fits his environment and technical needs: the T3W.