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Nabors retrofits robotics module onto existing land rig to achieve full automation

Nabors has launched its Canrig Red Zone Robotics (RZR) Rig Floor Module, a modular rig upgrade that automates routine drilling activities. Nabors retrofitted an existing rig – X29 – with the RZR module and has drilled multiple horizontal wells for ExxonMobil in the Permian Basin. The companies had previously collaborated on Nabors’ fully automated R801 newbuild rig last year.

RZR is electric powered, allowing precision control and digital workflows. It enables completely hands-free pipe handling and eliminates the need for a crew member to be positioned on the floor and in the derrick. The system autonomously performs repetitive tasks on the rig floor, including making drilling connections, and tripping in and out of hole. The module enables offline stand building and handles casing in upper, intermediate and production sizes.

All Nabors RZR features are enabled through its proprietary rig operating system, SmartROS, which can be installed on existing rigs and control third party rig manufacturer’s equipment. RZR is modular and may be deployed on most standard rig configurations to optimize drilling operations.

Nabors equipped X29 with RZR at a fraction of the cost of a newbuild rig. These capital-light upgrades can be used today to elevate drilling performance on existing assets instead of building fully automated rigs progressively over time.

“R801 proved fully automated land drilling is possible. Now RZR has demonstrated those same levels of automation can be scaled across existing assets at a fraction of the cost of a newbuild. This rig floor automation module is a game changer for the drilling industry as it seeks to increase safety and achieve true factory drilling. We are excited to integrate RZR on our high-spec rigs over time and offer the system to any drilling contractor,” said Anthony Petrello, Chairman, President and CEO of Nabors.

“Retrofitted automation capabilities, like what the RZR Rig Floor offers, are an efficient way to support safer operations, increased drilling performance and meaningful opportunities to upskill our workforce. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Nabors on advancing innovative drilling-automation capabilities,” said Jesse Chando, Permian Basin Drilling Manager at ExxonMobil.

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