A fun way to think about drilling projects and jobsite challenges.


This past Christmas season, I had a lot of airport layovers waiting for flights; as such, this article kind of wrote itself. I have a great game on my iPhone that helps pass the time while flying or waiting at the airport. The game was recommended to me by a co-worker, and has an addicting property to it – a nice way of saying, “I want to crush the phone while playing it!” In this game, you put birds in a slingshot and fling them toward walls and obstacles that hide green pigs. If you watch the beginning video, you find out that the green pigs invaded the birds’ nest and ate their eggs. I know, I know, way too much fly time, but stay with me here as I do have a drilling tie-in for this thought.

The game by Rovio Entertainment Ltd. is called Angry Birds, and as you move through the screens and levels, you get different types of birds. Some break into threes and smash ice and glass great. Some speed up, and torpedo through wood; another type shoots a bomb out its butt before shooting straight up. As you play, you learn that there is a bird designed for each type of obstacle. If you use the wrong type of bird, you have less-than-desired results, and you fail the level.

I like to see my 10-year old daughter playing the game because she is learning a very important lesson. She starts out by trying different birds against the assorted walls, rocks and buildings. When she fails to “get all the green pigs,” she fails the level and has to try again. If she does the same thing (same type bird, same angle, etc.), she gets the same results. It makes her think, plan and try different approaches, so she does not smash Daddy’s phone. She knows that each level can be won if she uses the right method. Many times, she will ask me the best way to clear the level, and she changes it up until she finds the right combination to win.

The developers of the game give you enough birds and the right types to match the obstacles on that level. Sometimes they give you four birds, but if you play it smart and use the birds (a.k.a. available tools) in the most efficient way, the level can be completed with only two or three. The cool part about that is that the game gives you extra points for all the birds you did not use. Are you following the cost savings and performance bonus allusions here?

For those of you who play, or have children who play Angry Birds, change up the game and screens in your head. Here is a cross reference for you to consider:

The Game   The Borehole
Birds   Rig, tooling, drilling fluids
Green pigs   Problems
Obstacles   Formation, soil types
Eggs   Your profits
Unused bird bonus   Cost savings, performance bonus
Levels   Different boreholes or the next job

So you’re out there with your bird (drill rig), and you run into a really hard wall to penetrate (sticky clay or other soil conditions). You really have to kill these pigs (the problems between you and job completion), or they will eat all your eggs (profits.) If we can use the right bird (tools), we might be able to get an unused bird bonus (cost savings) and move on to the next level (get on to the next job or added revenue). I told you I could tie this into drilling.

I should tell you that in the game each level is different. Some problems might be similar, but they have other obstacles added that can trip you up. The only way to win doing it exactly the same way is to play the same level over – or re-drill the same borehole in our case. That’s just not logical.

The developers – in our world, they would be rig and tooling vendors and bentonite companies – have given you (most) everything of what you need to win; but it is up to you to apply the right tools (birds) to destroy the green pigs (job-site problems) and save as many of your eggs (profits) as you can. If what you are doing isn’t working or you wish it were easier, faster or more cost-effectively, get a new bird this spring.
ND