The revival of Red Raider No. 1

ConocoPhillips’ equipment donation helps Texas Tech get idled test well pumping again

It’s hard to keep a good well down.

Red Raider No. 1 is a testament to this. It’s a test well at Texas Tech University’s Oilfield Technology Center, a facility designed to give students hands-on experience in the design and operation of oilfield equipment.

For various reasons, including equipment theft and vandalism to its electrical power system, Red Raider No. 1 fell on hard times and had been shut in since 2008. Thus, a revival was in order. A functional well would enable the university to teach students the concept of artificial lift and conduct artificial-lift research.

To get Red Raider No. 1 working again, Texas Tech needed a variable speed drive with well controller for the well’s pumping unit. However, obtaining the equipment proved to be a challenge. The university needed help.

ConocoPhillips donated this variable speed drive to get Red Raider No. 1 operational again.

After learning about the issue, ConocoPhillips, a longtime supporter of Texas Tech University and its engineering program, stepped up to help get Red Raider No. 1 back in action.

ConocoPhillips employees Jason White, Permian Wells superintendent, and Larry Hain, asset engineering advisor for the Mid-Continent business unit, approached Stu Mussler, stakeholder relations director for Mid-Continent, for help in obtaining the equipment.

The three collaborated on a solution. White and Hain handled the technical side of the issue, while Mussler worked the financial side. In short order, they successfully sourced and purchased the equipment from Baker Hughes and donated the equipment to Texas Tech.

After the equipment was delivered and installed this spring, Red Raider No. 1 was back in operation.
The test well plays an important educational role at the training facility, said Denny Bullard, an instructor with Texas Tech’s Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering.

Denny Bullard, instructor,  Texas Tech’s Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering

“It permits us to demonstrate how fluids are lifted from a well and sent to a tank battery for processing,” Bullard said. “The donated equipment is state-of-the-art and will assist us in teaching students how to design and operate beam pumping systems. We greatly appreciate what ConocoPhillips has done for the petroleum engineering department at Texas Tech.”

In a thank-you letter to ConocoPhillips, Bullard included a video clip of the well in action.

“You probably don’t get excited about seeing a pumping unit working,” Bullard said, “but this one is special. Red Raider No. 1 is working again, thanks in large part to your efforts. We can pump from the well to the battery and recirculate back to the well now. This will be a great teaching tool for years to come.”