When you have a drilling project and need a drilling contractor, where do you start?

There are a number of factors that come into play when picking a drilling contractor. Typically, it comes down to your drilling needs and what the project objectives are. Let’s go over three things to keep in mind when sifting through a list of possible drilling contractors:

1. Pick a drilling contractor with experience.

Nothing is more important than experience. Formal education is great and guarantees are a comfort, but nothing speaks louder than experience, as experience teaches you more than formal education ever could. Some good indicators of an experienced drilling company include expertise–expertise with drilling practices, equipment, and the challenges specific to their geographical location–as well as good financial standing. You want a company with a clean track record as evidenced by its knowledge and financial health. When looking for a contractor for your oil or well drilling needs, don’t skimp on a drilling company without years of experience and plenty of successful projects under their belt.

2. Oil and well drilling is dangerous work, so pick a contractor with a clean safety record.

Safety needs vary from project to project–mostly on the type of drilling and scope of the project–but nothing is more important than safety in the dangerous world of energy drilling. When selecting from a list of qualified contractors, make certain to go over the specific needs of your project and the safety requirements involved. Search for a record of their safety infractions and certifications if needed, but do not move forward with a drilling contractor until you are confident in their ability to keep you, your worksite, and all workers safe from harm.

3. Get clear on the expectations

Before moving forward with a drilling contractor, the operator needs to determine how the job will be structured. Is it a turnkey, footage, or daywork operation? With Turnkey operations, the contractor agrees to drill to a set specification for an agreed-upon price. However, with straight footage jobs, the contractor is paid per foot of depth drilled, so it’s wise to have a range of depth that you expect to drill or you could end up paying much more than you bargained for. With these two options, you want to make sure you argue for a reasonable rate based on the contractor’s reputation and your available budget.

Daywork drilling contracts are different as the operator bears most of the risk of drilling. In this scenario, the quality of the drilling rigs used is crucial. All components of the drilling rigs must be able to handle any foreseeable conditions found on the drilling site. At the same time, you don’t want the rigs to be so large that you spend too much money moving or installing the rigs at the drill site. Make sure that whatever the cost, you don’t settle for a drilling rig that is inefficient for the needs of your drilling project.


Drilling contracts are complicated and it is impossible to foresee every eventuality beforehand. The most important step in your contract drilling project is that you select a drilling contractor that works for you; one that is experienced, safe, fair, and reasonable in working out the specifics of the project so that you can complete the project without breaking the bank.

Norton Energy Drilling is a third-generation energy drilling company that has been operating in and serving the Permian Basin with high-quality energy drilling at a fair price for nearly 20 years. If you are looking for a drilling contractor with experience, a clean safety record, and excellent customer satisfaction rates, start your drilling contractor search with Norton Energy Drilling.