Houston-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. (NYSE: MHR) has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Alpha Hunter Drilling LLC has taken possession of a new Schramm T500XD robotic drilling rig. The company plans to utilize the Schramm T500XD drilling rig to drill exclusively company-owned wells planned in the Utica formation located in Southeastern Ohio for the next three years. With the addition of this new drilling rig, Alpha Hunter's fleet has now grown to five rigs.
Unlike traditional drilling rigs which are on rails and only allow movement from left to right or front to back, the T500XD has a walking subbase which lifts the entire rig six inches above the ground allowing the rig to turn and rotate. The rig can walk at a pace of 30 feet per hour and move a full 360 degrees. The T500XD implements the Load Safe XD automated pipe handling system, which racks drill pipe horizontally for easy loading and offloading, dramatically improving operator safety. The T500XD is capable of drilling up to a total depth of approximately 19,000 feet, offers best in class 35,000 foot-pounds of top head torque, third party directional steering interface and 80,000 pounds of hydraulic pulldown capacity. These characteristics provide the company with maximum flexibility to utilize the drilling rig in a number of different shale plays actively being drilled in the U.S.
Gary C. Evans, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Magnum Hunter, commented, "The T500XD is scheduled to spud its first well for Magnum Hunter on June 1, 2013. Operating in the Appalachian Basin typically requires a drilling rig with fewer truck loads and maximum flexibility to meet the difficult terrain conditions prevalent in this region. Pad drilling is also the wave of the future in the shale plays in order to properly exploit leasehold positions. We have recently constructed one pad site in Ohio that can handle up to 16 new drilling locations, eight in the Marcellus and eight in the Utica. With a significant lease acreage position continuing to build in both the Marcellus and Utica Formations which now exceeds 150,000 net acres, we have plans for many years of future drilling opportunities."
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The company will be carried in the initial vertical test well and participate in future development with a 20% working interest.