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David Wethe, Bloomberg Business
Have you ever seen an oil rig walk?
Some of the newest rigs can travel hundreds of yards to the next well under their own power, lurching along like 150-foot-tall robots on hydraulic legs that raise the equipment five inches at a time, nudging forward at about a foot per minute. While that sounds slow, it is faster and cheaper than dismantling a rig and trucking the parts to a new site nearby.
More efficient drilling rigs that cost a third less than just a year earlier are changing the face of the U.S. shale industry, helping boost per-rig output in the four largest fields by at least 40 percent since the crude price plunge began in 2014. While helping producers pump more oil, the new rigs have a downside. Companies such as Helmerich & Payne Inc., Nabors Industries Ltd. and Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. that provide the equipment face investor concern that the improvements they’ve made might translate into fewer sales in the future. Continue reading…