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Alaska Bound
16-Jul-2013 / THE DAILY IBERIAN / MCKENZIE WOMACK / View Article

PARKS — Acadiana-based company Moncla Offshore Operations LLC debuted Wednesday night its first platform workover rig, the Moncla 301.

Hilcorp Energy Co., the third-largest privately held exploration and production company in the United States, contracted the Moncla 301. The derrick and substructure were built by Superior Derrick Services at its facility in Parks.

The auxiliary equipment is a collaboration of many pieces and vendors, said Mike Moncla.

“These pieces include pumps, mud tank, accumulator, power swivel, generator and steam heating system. We bought metal buildings and outfitted them to hold each of the auxiliary pieces to keep them out of the cold weather. The heat steaming system will pump heat through large lines to the different auxiliary containers. The rig is also winterized with wind walls to keep the cold air off the rig employees. We are hoping that we can work the rig year-round with these winterization efforts,” Moncla said.

Moncla Offshore Operations is a family-owned company based in Lafayette. Mike Moncla is the unofficial CEO, but the company is “not real big on titles” because in a family business, “we all have to do everything,” he said.

Moncla Offshore Operations and Hilcorp have worked together for 20 years on both the land and water.

“We have a real good relationship with them. I’m assuming they wanted to work with people they were accustomed to working with. They asked us if we were interested in going to Alaska, and that’s an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” Moncla said.

A workover rig is designed to work over a well and try to make it produce again, he said.

Manager of External Affairs in Alaska Lori Nelson said the majority of Hilcorp’s focus is on repairing wells. Last summer, the company had a “Derrick Down” project to remove old derricks on old platforms to make room for more efficient pulling units to repair and improve wells and hopefully improve production, Nelson said.

“We are the largest operator of the (Cook Inlet) area. By us bringing in pulling units, it’s just a sign of us making a commitment that we’re here to stay, and produce in the area,” she said.

Moncla said Hilcorp has approximately 10 platforms in Alaska each with 30 or 40 wells that have not yet been worked over.

“Hilcorp feels there’s a lot of production over to be produced … This is a huge step for us. Through the years, we’ve kind of stepped out and spread our wings when we got into the barge business, and we got into the tube testing and swabbing business. We felt like this is another opportunity for growth and diversity,” Moncla said.

The Moncla 301 is one of two workover rigs that Hilcorp Energy will use in the Cook Inlet area. Moncla 301 is scheduled to rig up in late June and will be on the Granite Point, according to a prepared statement.

Moncla will provide the labor force, which amounts to more than 50 additional Moncla employees, for both new rigs. The second rig is owned by Hilcorp and is scheduled to be in Alaska in July.

Hilcorp has been operating in Alaska for about a year and a half, Nelson said.

The company plans to take over aging field assets and get as much life out of them as possible. Drilling new wells is more time consuming and expensive, and Nelson said the existing asset base still has a lot of potential.

“We’re going to look to that to increase production before we look into any exploratory productions … We’re excited to have the units arrive. It means more production in the long-haul,” she said.