Rig training goes well in Ghana

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, many parts of rural Ghana do not have a safe, reliable water supply. Anders Dahlsberg, an engineer with UK drilling specialist Dando, reports on a trip to the north-east of the country where he commissioned and set to work a waterwell drill rig and, just as importantly, trained the crew.

In common with other sub-Saharan regions, many parts of rural Ghana do not have a reliable safe water supply. Despite the existing sources of the White Volta River and Lake Volta, there remains a great need in many areas for fresh, clean water for domestic and agricultural use.

Dando’s long experience of well-drilling projects has shown that if equipment is selected correctly, and training is given effectively, groundwater can be a readily accessible, valuable resource in the some of the most remote rural areas of the world.

A typical waterwell drilling package covers not only the supply of the rig and necessary tooling, but also on-site commission of the rig and, most importantly, thorough training of a local drill-crew in operating and maintaining the new machine. One of the critical factors in a waterwell drilling project of the size is the selection and training of a drill crew.

In some cases, as on this occasion, in Yendi Town, north-east Ghana, the crew will have had some drilling experience. However, often the arrival of a Dando drilling rig is the crew’s first sight of a machine of this type.

Typical backgrounds for training candidates include motor mechanics or people with some mechanical engineering experience, which proves invaluable in the long-term productivity of the rig. A large portion of the training involves establishing good maintenance routines and emphasising the importance of avoiding unnecessary down-time.

The Ghanaian trainees proved excellent, since they had some prior drilling experience, although gathered on older machines of far lower capacity than the new Watertec 10 (10,000kgf pullback) waterwell drill-rig. Over the two-week course, modern drilling techniques were taught that would allow the crew to drill a 100m deep well in only a day or two, due to the rig’s powerful on-board air compressor.

The design of the rig itself is a delicate balance between ultimate productivity and suitability for the environment in which it will be used. Unnecessarily sophisticated systems often cause more down-time through failure in the harsh African conditions than they save in increased productivity, while reliable yet simple cable percussion techniques may well be trustworthy but can take many weeks to produce a well.

The Watertec 10 chosen for this project has the versatility to drill up to 300m and cope with nearly all geological formations, due to the range of drilling techniques it can employ. The rig can be expected to continue to drill for water for many years into the future.

The machine was donated by a multilateral development organisation and is involved in a programme of constructing 200 new waterwells, which will supply clean, safe drinking water to many thousands of people, alleviating severe water and sanitation problems in the Yendi Town region.

Contact: Dando Drilling International

Tel: +44 1903 7313

Web: www.dando.co.uk

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