Schramm in China: Reliability and Emergency Rescue

April 2021

In a market dedicated to self-reliance, Schramm is generating demand by proving reliability on the job and in emergency situations.

With 50 plus rigs sold to date and 3 more rigs on the water heading that way, China has been Schramm’s number one market in Asia for the past 20 years. Leading this success is Alan Watson, International Sales Manager for Russia, South East Asia, China, Mongolia, and India.

“There has been a love affair with China and Schramm rigs since 1999,” Alan says. “Some of our customers have five or six Schramm rigs, because they’re reliable and get the job done.”

Alan began his career with Schramm in 1984, and recently returned from a two year sabbatical. “I’ve been in the drilling business all my life, and I stuck with Schramm because they’re special. They’re a great company and they deliver a fantastic product,” he says.

Before the pandemic, Alan traveled to China up to six times per year, travelling to various provinces with his sales team, but is currently working remotely.

No other international company has sold more rigs in the coal, methane, shale, oil and gas industries in China than Schramm. Other international drilling companies have tried, and failed, to duplicate that success.

Alan credits James Zhao and LandPro (LPRO), Schramm’s partner in Beijing since 2004. “James and his team of sales professionals–Cindy Sun, Ares Wang and Pan Jinjian–have done an absolutely fantastic job,” he says, “They helped us get established in that market.”

In addition to sales, LandPro manages aftermarket support in China, a major piece of Schramm’s success. If a customer calls with a problem, a LandPro Schramm certified engineer in Beijing will immediately travel to the rig to perform diagnostics or repairs in the field. 

One obstacle Alan and Landpro had to overcome was Chinese self-reliance. “Some of the authorities there do not want to purchase foreign machinery. They want to buy Chinese rigs,” says Alan. “But the drilling companies and coal bureaus will argue that they must have Schramm rigs, because of the reliability and aftermarket support. We’ve built a great reputation there.”

In January 2021, an explosion at the Shandong Qixia Gold Mine trapped a group of 22 miners. The incident quickly made international news.  “Once it became known that there were miners trapped underground, the mining community mobilized,” Alan says. “They took the initiative, offered their rigs and personnel. We were all willing to work 24 hours a day. Three Landpro engineers were on site for the duration of the rescue to ensure the rigs ran smoothly.”

More than 500 people from national and provincial rescue agencies and drilling companies assisted in the rescue efforts. Mr. Kong Liang of The National Work Safety Emergency Rescue Center coordinated with drilling companies in the area to bring Schramm rigs to the site. The National Emergency Rescue Department ordered overnight transportation of a Schramm T130XD.

Four Schramm rigs were selected by the site geologists to participate in the rescue, more than any other company. “The rigs performed very well and the miners were located quite quickly,” Alan says.

The T130XD’s 152mm x 629m “life-finding” hole was completed in the shortest amount of time in the history of emergency rescue in China. The T200XD rigs at the site pumped out water that threatened to flood the mine and drilled “life-saving” holes to provide communication, food, water, and first-aid to the trapped miners.

As a result of their impressive performance during the rescue, several companies are in discussions to purchase Schramm rigs equipped for large diameter well rescues. Two companies have already requested funds from the authorities. 

The outlook for Schramm’s market prospects in China during the first half of 2021 and beyond continues looks very promising.