Tesco Corporation

1996 Winner: Outstanding Leadership In Alberta Science

Top Drive System Expands Oil and Gas Drilling

Tesco Corporation, which carries on a major component of its business under the name of Tesco Drilling Technology (TDT), is an Alberta-based corporation which has developed, and currently markets, the world’s first truly-portable, full-featured top drive system for use on land, and offshore, oil and gas drilling rigs. TDT pioneered the concept of renting these top drive systems for use, on a call-out basis, around the world.

Beginning with the initial involvement of the three key founders, the business expanded to 3 employees in 1993 and to over 400 employees in nine countries in 1996 over 300 of whom work in Alberta. Through innovative product design, hard work and a willingness to take risks, TDT has become a world-class oilfield service and technology company in just three years. Prototyping the TDT portable top drive system began in Alberta during the mid-to-late 1980’s. After several years of development on south-east Alberta shallow wells, the first commercial rental of the system was undertaken in July 1992. A second prototype unit was built in early 1993, and began work in Indonesia where it attracted significant international interest. Four additional units were built in 1993 for deep foothills drilling Canada; for horizontal underbalanced drilling the United States; and for further international work in Southeast Asia.

From the beginning TDT designed a top drive system that would fit the greatest number of rigs without requiring costly and time-consuming rig modifications. By developing a unique torque track, by supplying an independent power unit, and by packaging the system for quick installation, TDT dramatically expanded the market for top drives. From its headquarter and manufacturing facilities in Calgary, TDT has dramatically improved land and offshore drilling practices. These improvements result from a practical and operational approach to equipment design and to its innovative rental service approach. In 1994, TDT displayed its innovative systems at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas. At this show, the largest of its type in the world, TDT was awarded the prestigious ‘Meritorious Award for Innovative Engineering’ by Petroleum Engineer International Magazine.