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Offshore Oil & Gas Technology

Early Drilling - Percussion
The process of drilling wells dated back to several
thousand year in an effort to find water and salt.
The Chinese were the first to reach a level of drilling
sophistication, with the first spring pole drilling technique.
By 600 B.C. the Chinese were using percussion tools,
the forerunner of cable tools to dig brine wells.
The Chinese developed a method of pounding holes into
the earth using bamboo tubes and bronze bits. They
could drill about two a day by alternatively lifting and
dropping the metal drilling tool (sometimes weighing 300
pounds) in the hole.
Water was used to soften the rock formation in the hole,
making it easier both to drill and to remove the cuttings.
Several hundred of feet in depth could be reached, but
could take as long as years to complete a single well.

Chinese spring pole
Spring pole drilling a J obard drilling machine used in Brussels in 1828
Percussion Bit the constant raising and dropping of the bit drills the hole
Col Drake and the first commercial well drilled
Wooden derricks and cable-tool drills
Percussion Drilling
Percussion drilling, or cable-tool drilling, is accomplished
by repeating raising and dropping a heavy metal bit into
the earths surface, eventually punching a hole
One of the earliest methods of drilling and that Edwin
Drake used in 1859 was cable-tool drilling.
Cable-tool drilling can be effective, especially in hard-
rock formations.
But cable-tool drilling has following main disadvantages:
Drilling must be stopped frequently and the bit pulled from the
hole so that pieces of rock, or cutting, chipped away by the bit
can be removed by a bailer.
Cable-tool drilling cannot drill soft-rock formation. Splinter rock
formation tend to close back around the bit and wedge it in the
Formation caving or collapse could happen in soft formations.
Standard cable tool rig
Cable Tool Rig
The derrick is the tower that supports the components.
At the top of derrick (or mast) is the crown block over
which the drilling line run.
Power comes from an engine which is transmitted by
belt to the band wheel. This is connected by the pitman
arm to one of the walking beam which raises and
lowers the drill bit.
The bullwheel is the largest pulley on the rig used to
spool the hemp drilling rope, which has to be long
enough to reach the bottom of the hole. It is also used to
pull the tool string from the hole.
To increase the lifting ability, another spool called the
calf wheel is added, along with a multiple sheave crown
block and a multiple sheave traveling block.
The bailer is attached to the sand line and is used to
remove cutting and fluids from the wellbore.

Standard cable tool rig
Cable-Tool Drilling
From the latter half of 1800s and early 1900s, cable-tool
drilling rigs drilled a large number of wells.
Wells were often drilled to 3000 to 4000 feet depths.
Stationary cable-tool drilling rigs with their pyramid-shaped
wooden derricks were a common sight in the oil patch
from the 1860s to 1920s.
Then, the portable cable-tool rig, which are smaller and
contained many steel components, became standard.
1950s all but disappeared from the scene largely
replaced by rotary drilling.

The early so-called standard rigs had very poor safety standard. There
was no clutches or transmissions between the engine and the rig. The
only way to interrupt the power was to stick a board between the
drilling rope and the bullwheel, or by pulling a cotter pin that the
pitman arm to be slipped off the moving band wheel crank. That as a
result had caused accidents. Despite their drawbacks, cable tool rigs
were used all over the world as the demand for oil grew.
Rotary Drilling
The concept of rotary drilling is not new. The Egyptians,
were boring into the ground using a rotary motion in
3000 B.C.
The first rotary drilling rig was developed in France in
1860s. In 1860, patents were issue to Leschot, a French
engineer for the use of diamond bit for drilling holes in
hard rock for a tunnel construction project in the Swiss
Alps. The rotary drilling system was complete with a
circulating system of drilling fluid to dissipate the heat
generated by the scraping of the diamonds on hard
But rotary drilling did not catch on at first because it
was erroneously believed that most petroleum was
associated with hard-rock formation, which could be very
effectively drilled with cable tools.
Rotary Drilling
In 1880s, the Baker brothers, successfully drilled water
wells in soft formation of the Great Plains of USA, an
area where cable-tool rigs were not having much
success. The Bakers rig has a fluid-circulating system to
bring the cuttings to the surface. The Corsicana oilfield
was discovered while drillers were search for water.
Around 1900s, several unsuccessful attempts were made
with cable-tool to drill the great Lucas wells in Spindletop
due to formation caving.
In 1901, the great Lucas well at Spindletop was drilled
successfully using the Hamill brother using a rotary
drilling rig brought from the Corsicana.
The previous experience of these men with the rotary
drilling process and their understanding of using mud
circulation for drilling soft formation subject to caving or
collapse were the key to success.
The Lucas Gusher at Spindletop. J an 10, 1901
Rotary Drilling
With the success of the rotary drilling at Spindletop,
many oilmen began to switch from cable-tool to rotary
In rotary drilling, the drilling action comes from pressing
the teeth of a drill bit firmly against the ground and
turning, or rotating it.
At the same time as the drill bit was rotated, a fluid,
called the drill mud is forced out of special openings, or
nozzles in the bit. The mud jets out of the bit nozzles
with great velocity, displaces and move the cutting made
by the bit teeth away from the teeth, and in the process
continuously expose fresh, uncut rock to the teeth.
The mug also lifts the cuttings off the bottom to surface
for disposal
This way, drilling does not have to stop in order to
remove cuttings.
Rotary drill rig
Rotary drill rig
Rotary Drilling Rig
Rotary Drilling Rig
A rotary rig have five major system
essential to the operation:

The drill string and bit
The fluid circulation system
The hoisting system
The power plant
The blowout prevention system

Rotary Drilling Rig
Personnel involved in a drilling operation
Drilling Personnel
Drilling Superintendent Overall manager of field drilling operation.
Supervises the activities of several drilling rigs and personnel working
in a given area.
Toolpusher second in command. Direct field supervision of drilling
operation, generally responsible for one or more rigs to make sure
that proper materials and personnel are available to accomplish
necessary jobs.
Driller the employee in charge of the rig and crew for a given tour
(or shift of duty) and who primarily operates the drilling equipment.
Roughneck sometimes called the rotary helper, this worker is part of
the crew who assist the driller in floor work, i.e. jobs on the rig floor,
including making connections, pulling pipe, and rig maintenance and
Derrickman the crew member whose work station is the pipe rack in
the uppermost part of the derrick (also known as the monkeyboard)
when the drill pipe is being raised from or lowered into the hole.
Mud engineer the person responsible for maintaining the proper
chemical composition of the drilling mud.
Drill String and Bit
The drill string and bit - the most crucial part of the
rotary drilling system that physically creates the hole.
As the term rotary drilling applies, the rotation of the
drill string and drill bit rotates thereby applying a cutting
action against the rock at the bottom o the hole.
The rotating action is achieved through the operation of
the drill string and bit system.
The swivel is latched onto the hook at the bottom of the
traveling block, and serves the dual function of
supporting the weight of the drill string and allowing the
string to rotate.
Attached to the swivel is a four or six sided piece of pipe
called the kelly. The shape of the kelly allows it to
transfer the rotating motion of the rotary table to the drill
Drill string and bit
The kelly is mounted in a similarly-shaped opening in a
device called the Kelly bushing. The kelly bushing is
held in the rotary table on the rig floor and supplies the
necessary torque from the rigs power system to turn the
drill string. The kelly is free to move up and down
through the rotary table, while it is being turned. In this
manner, the drill string is allowed to steadily move down
the hole as it rotates and drill deeper.
Attached to the kelly is the drill string, comprising the
ordinary drill pipe and the heavier drill collars. Drill
pipes are comes in 30 ft section, called joints, and is
threaded on each end to allow the sections to be joined
together. Below the drill pipes and immediately above
the drill bit are the drill collars.

Drill String and Bit
Drill collars differ from ordinary drill pipe in that they are
thick-walled and much heavier.
Drill collars are used to add weight on top of the drill bit,
which improve the cutting action. They are also used in
certain instances to help keep the hole straight.
The drill bit, one of the most important parts of the entire
drilling process, is attached at the end of the drill string.
Basically the job of the drill bit is to advance the hole by
breaking up and dislodging the formation so that the
drilling fluid can remove the cuttings.
All drill bits have passages that allows drilling fluids to
pass through them and sweep away the rock cuttings as
the bit drills deeper.
Drill String and Bit
Drill Bit
There many types of bits, each design to fit a particular
need dictated by the type of soil and rock encountered.
When shallow wells are drilled through soft soils and
formations, one bit may be used for the entire job.
When drilling deep wells through many different types of
rocks and soil, bits may have to changed many times,
either as they wear out or as soil condition change.
There are literally dozens of varieties or bits each
designed for a specific applications.
Factors affecting bit selection type of formation to be
encountered, use of mud motor, turbine, percussion, or
directional drilling; the anticipation of abnormal
temperatures; and whether or note core are desired.
Bits are classified by the International Association of
Drilling Contractors. The IADC lists six categories of
formation that affects bit selection.
Steel Tooth Rotary Bits There are at least nine
sub-types of these, each differing in shape bearings,
used, etc.
Insert Bits which have tungsten carbide inserts
implanted in them.
Polycrystalline Diamond Compact Bits (PDC)
have inserts of that material attached to the tungsten
carbide inserts mentioned above.
Diamond Bits bits implanted with industrial
diamonds for use in extremely hard formations.
Drill Bit
Roller Cone Drill Bit
Roller cone bit (also called a rock bit or tricone bit) is the
most common type of bit used worldwide.
The cutting action is provided by cones which have
either steel teeth or tungsten carbide inserts.
These cones rotate on the bottom of the hole and drill
the hole predominantly with a grinding and chipping
Roller cone bits are classified as milled tooth bit or
insert bits depending on the cutting surface on the
The cones of the three cone bit are mounted on bearing
pins, or arm journals, which extend from the bit body.
The journals allow each cone to turn about it own axis as
the bit is rotated.
The use of three cones allows as even distribution of the
weight and a balance cutting structure.
The major advantages of roller cone drill bit
(rock bit) design:
Improved cleaning action using jet nozzles
Using tungsten carbide for hardfacing of the teeth and
gauge protection
Introduction of sealed bearing between the cone and
journals to prevent the mud causing premature failure
due to abrasion and corrosion of the bearings.
Roller Cone Drill Bit
Milled teeth roller bit
Cross sectional view of mill tooth bit
Sealed milled tooth bit
Milled tooth bit nomenclature
Tungsten carbide insert bit
Tungsten carbide insert bit
Tungsten carbide insert bit nomenclature
Action of roller cutter
on rock surface
In the 1980s, a new type of drill bit known as Polycrystalline
Diamond Compact (PDC) was introduced. Small discs of man-
made polycrystalline diamond are bonded to a cemented
tungsten carbide substrate to produce an integral blank.
The hardness and wear resistance of diamond make the PDC
bit an obvious material to be used for a drilling bit.
The small discs used for PDC bits may be manufactured in
any size and shape and are not sensitive to failure along
cleavage planes as with natural diamond.
Effective fluid circulation across the face of the bit is very
important to prevent overheating of the diamonds and matrix
material and to prevent the face of bit becoming smeared with
the rock cutting (bit balling).
PDC bits have been run very successfully in many areas
around the world, especially when run in combination of
turbodrills and oil-based mud.
Shallow cone PDC bit
PDC Drill Bit
The major disadvantage of PDC bits is their cost.
However, they are cost effective when drilling formations
where long rotating hours (200 to 300 hours per bit) are
PDC bits have not moving parts, hence, they tend to last
longer than roller bits. This results in a reduction in the
number of round trips and offsets the capital cost of the
bit. This is especially important in areas where operating
costs are high (e.g. offshore drilling).

Diamond Bits
Diamond bits are normally used for hard and abrasive
rock drilling and when longer runs are required in order
to reduce trip time, i.e. in deep wells and in offshore
drilling, where the rig costs are very high.
The cutting elements of a diamond bit consists of a large
number of small-sized diamonds geometrically
distributed across a tungsten carbide body.
The bit does not employ moving parts.

Diamond is the hardest mineral known to man and has a
valve of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.
The thermal conductivity of diamond is also the highest
of any material, which allows the diamond to dissipate
heat from its cutting structures very quickly.
Diamond bit
Diamond bit
Diamond bit
Diamond bit
The size of diamonds used will determine the type of
rock to drilled.
Large diamonds are used to drill sock rocks, since these
rocks are easily penetrated
Small-size diamonds are used for hard rocks, since the
diamonds cannot penetrate very far in such rock.

The majority of diamond bits are currently manufactured
as coring bits. A diamond coring bit contains a central
hole corresponding to the size of core required. A typical
coring assembly consists of a diamond coring bit, a core
barrel, drill collar and drill pipe to surface.
Diamond Bits
Diamond coring bit