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Moncla rig headed to Alaska's Cook Inlet drilling sites
20-Jun-2013 / The Advertiser / Ken Stickney / View Article

PARKS — Moncla Companies’ first platform workover rig, finally complete after months in the making, won’t be long in Louisiana.

The company will break it down, pack it up and ship it to Alaska, a 4,500-mile journey over land and sea that starts next week and is scheduled to end July 3 in the Cook Inlet, a busy drilling area.

Mike Moncla, chief executive officer of the Lafayette-based company, said Wednesday the rig will do heavy-duty maintenance and repairs for Hilcorp Alaska, a subsidiary of Hilcorp Energy Co. in Houston with whom Moncla Cos. have had a working relationship. Moncla will staff both the Moncla 301, which was on display Wednesday, and a second platform workover rig nearing completion in Parks that will be owned by Hilcorp.

Although Moncla Cos. have never worked in Alaska, Moncla said the company has “a comfort level with us” from previous work in the Gulf. About a year ago, Moncla said, Hilcorp initiated talks with Moncla about contracting with them in Alaska. A rig that Moncla owned would not weather the Alaskan cold, so Moncla ordered a new rig — it will cost some $5 million including Moncla’s labor, he said — from Superior Derrick Services in Parks, which is also building the rig that Hilcorp will own.

Preparing the Moncla 301 was “like a giant Lego project,” said co-owner Marc “Spook” Moncla. The company is equally owned by brothers Mike, Mark and Matt and their uncle, Buck Moncla. Marc Moncla said the project encountered “many hiccups and bumps in the road” because not only did the rig need to endure the cold, it needed to withstand the seismic activity common to Alaska.

The Monclas also wanted to shield, heat and protect their approximate 50 company employees from the cold.

Mike Moncla said the workover rig, which only works on existing wells, will be responsible for such duties as replacing or repairing holes in tubing or casing in wells, or working on wells that are plugged and ready to reopen. The rig can work on several wells on one platform. Hilcorp acquired platforms from Chevron in 2012.

Marc Moncla said the last truck will leave Parks with the Moncla 301 rig around June 19-20. In Seattle, the rig will be loaded onto a steamship bound for Anchorage; from there, it will be transported by truck to Nikiski, Alaska.