December 27, 2020

The birth of MHWirth dates back to 1895 when drilling pioneer Anton Raky founded the “Internationale Bohrgesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft“ (IBG), which soon had its headquarters in Erkelenz, Germany. Being at the heart of the oil business right from the beginning, he laid the foundation of today’s MHWirth.
In 1904, the company built its first mud pump, and since then, more than 1500 mud pumps in different designs have followed. MHWirth legacy of drawworks dates back to the 1950s, and also is history to deliver Pyramid masts and substructures for land rigs. In the following decades the firm added piston diaphragm pumps to its portfolio serving the mining industry as well as pile top drill rigs with Reversed Circulation Drilling (RCD) technology for the construction of foundation structures. That technology also laid the foundation for a later involvement in subsea mining. At that time, the Germany-based company was well-known in the industry under the name of “Wirth”.
In the early 1970’s, supporting the oil industry in Norway, Bjarne Skeie pioneered the drilling industry in Kristiansand. He constructed his first crane in 1968 before he established Maritime Hydraulics.
In the 1970’s, France’s CEA, conducting underground nuclear testing on the atoll of Mururoa in the South Pacific, was using a Wirth reverse circulating system to spud its 70 inches holes.
In the 1980s Maritime Hydraulics and Wirth started collaborating in oilfield projects.
In 1990, MHWirth delivered the first large-scale drilling rig for De Beers’ diamond mining vessel “Coral Sea”. This development laid the foundation for a powerful collaboration between MHWirth and De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company. Ever since then, MHWirth equipped five drill ships for De Beers to harvest diamonds off the coast of Namibia in water depths of up to 150 m. Continuous system upgrades and optimization during operation significantly improved the vessels’ performance.
The strategic partnership between De Beers and MHWirth delivered significant gains in the areas of asset utilization, equipment availability and reliability with significant improvements in mining rate.
During mining operation, a MHWirth drill bit with up to 7.2 m in diameter loosens the material from the seabed. The material is then transported vertically through a large diameter airlift drill string (up to 700 mm in diameter) to the drilling vessel for further processing. Core of this technology is MHWirth’s efficient and environmentally-friendly reverse circulation technology, also known as airlift technology. Compared to other solutions, MHWirth’s airlift technology uses only robust components with limited complexity under water, thus maximizing equipment availability and optimizing operational costs (OPEX). Thus, MHWirth drilling equipment allows the vessels to operate even under severe sea conditions.
In June 2009 Wirth Maschinen und Bohrgeräte Fabrik GmbH was known as Aker Wirth GmbH. This following the acquisition of the company by Aker Solutions of Norway. Wirth GmbH became a fully controlled subsidiary of Aker Solutions of Norway.
During that time, Aker Wirth built its first top drives. In addition to its drawworks portfolio, the award-winning RamRig was launched in 1996; a highly efficient compensating system for semi-submersible and drillship operations.
In 1999 Wirth acquired Paurat, makers of heavy duty roadheaders. In 2001 it bought microtunnelling manufacturer Soltau. In September 2007, it sold its controlling share in its NFM soft-ground TBM division, 70% to China’s state-corporation NHI, Northern Heavy Industry Group and 30% to Niko Kleuters, previously a senior executive and co-owner of Wirth.
The beginning of a new era for the company started in 2014, when the new brand “MHWirth” was established, reflecting the two strong brands MH (from previous Maritime Hydraulics) and Wirth.
MHWirth first-class drilling solutions are installed on more than 500 installations both onshore and offshore globally. Additionally, the company enjoys a first-class reputation as a supplier for infrastructure projects and to the mining industry worldwide.
MHWirth has a global span covering five continents with offices in 12 countries.
(Source and image: MHWirth – Image: Anton Raky IBG founder-MH Wirth mud pump)