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SkyStrat™ drilling rig

SkyStrat™ drilling rig

Picture a drilling rig. Now, picture a flying rig. Sound hard to believe? It’s a Cenovus innovation that allows us to fly a drilling rig into a remote location one piece at a time. And since everything is flown in, no roads are needed. That means limited disturbance of the forest and no additional traffic.

Why use a flying rig?

The challenge was to find a way to drill test wells year-round, while also reducing our footprint. We drill these test wells each year to gather information about the geology in a certain area. The information we get tells us if a well in that area is worth pursuing – basically it helps us see what’s underground.

Our solution was simple and yet effective – adapt equipment used in the hard-rock mining industry to develop a rig that’s smaller and lighter than a conventional rig and can be broken down into pieces. Each piece of the rig is transported by helicopter to site. No access roads need to be built because nothing is trucked in or out.

We’re seeing the benefits from this innovative thinking. We’re able to have year-round access to our drilling locations, creating long-term job opportunities for workers, improved safety, increased efficiency of our operations and a smaller environmental footprint. The need to build temporary access roads is eliminated, which reduces our footprint.

See our flying rig in action