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Offshore Oil & Gas Technology

Hoisting System
• The derrick (which is more than 150 ft tall) is a part of
the hoisting system.
• Because the drill pipe, drill collars, and the drill bit need
to be lifted in and out of the hole, a hoisting system must
be designed to lift loads which often weight several
hundred thousand pounds.
• The drawworks is a large spool of cable driven by the
rig’s engines to raise and lower the pulley system that is
hung in the derrick. The drawworks also contains heavy-
duty brakes to restrict the speed of lowering heavy
strings of pipe into the hole.
• The crown block is the upper set of stationary pulley
mounted at the top of the derrick. The lower set, the
traveling block, is moveable and is suspended in the
derrick by a wire rope called the drilling line.
Hoisting System
Source: Gerding, Fundamentals of Petroleum, 3
• The drilling line is usually threaded six or eight times
(depending on the weight if needs to support) around the
crown block and through the traveling block.
• The fast line is the part of the drilling line which runs
from the drawworks to the crown block, and which
moves as the traveling block is lowered or raised.
• The deadline runs from the crown block to the storage
reel and is secured by the deadline anchor. Extra line is
kept on the storage reel by the side of the rig.
• The hoisting system is used to suspend the drill string in
the hole, maintaining the proper weight on the bit. It is
also used to pull the drill string out of the hole and to
lower it back to bottom – the process is called “tripping”
or a “tripping operating”.
Hoisting System
• Tripping is the process of removing and/or replacing the
drill string when it is necessary to change the bit or other
piece of the drill string, or perform some other operation
in the borehole or wellbore, e.g. coring, etc.
• Tripping out or making a trip is the process of pulling
the drill string and bit out of the hole
• Tripping in is the process of reassembling the drill string
and its replacement in the wellbore.

Tripping out the drill string
Source: Berger, Anderson, Modern Petroleum - A Basic Primer of the industry, 3
Adding a new joint of pipe
Source: Berger, Anderson, Modern Petroleum - A Basic Primer of the industry, 3
• Fishing refers to the attempt to recover tools or pipe lost
in the hole during drilling operations.
• Anything which in the hole is known as a fish.
• Drill pipe or drill collar are the most common type of fish
lost in the hole because they occasionally break during
Source: Giuliano, Introduction to Oil and Gas Technology
Blowout Prevention System
• A blowout can be defined as an uncontrolled influx of
formation fluid which has sufficient pressure to cause
damage to rig equipment and injury to rig personnel.
• A kick is an unwanted flow of formation fluids into the
well bore hole which may (if not controlled) develop into
a blowout.
• Well kick occurs when the hydrostatic pressure
exerted by the mud in the hole is below the formation
pressure exerted by the well fluids in the formation.
• A blowout preventer (BOP) is a device placed on top of
a well to prevent high pressure fluids from flowing out of
the well in the event of a well kick.
• BOPs must be installed on the top of the well before
drilling commences.
Annular surface blowout preventer
Source: Berger, Anderson, Modern Petroleum - A Basic Primer of the industry, 3
Annular blowout preventer
Source: Dawe, Modern Petroleum Technology, Vol 1, Upstream
Ram-type blowout preventer
Source: Berger, Anderson, Modern Petroleum - A Basic Primer of the industry, 3
Ram-type blowout preventer
Source: Dawe, Modern Petroleum Technology, Vol 1, Upstream
• A BOP is basically high pressure valves which seal off
the top of the well in the event of an influx.
• There are two types of BOP –
– Annular preventer – made up of rubber elements,
which, when compressed vertically, will seal off the
annular space between the preventer and the drill
– Ram-type preventer – made of hydraulic rams,
which, when required, are driven across the wellbore
to seal off the annular space.
• Normally, both types of preventers are used on a well
and are stacked up, one on top of the other, to form a
BOP stack.
Blowout Prevention System
BOP Stack
Source: Giuliano, Introduction to Oil and Gas Technology
BOP Stack
Source: Gerding, Fundamentals of Petroleum, 3
• Sort out legal aspects of drilling a well – leases, drilling
contracts, contracts, etc.
• Well design process – a drilling engineer will design the
process to drill the well on the basis of the following
– Objective of the well
– Depth (onshore or subsea) and location (longitude
and latitude) of target formations
– Geological cross section
– Pore pressure profile prediction
• The drilling programme contains all of the information
that is required to safely and efficiently drill the well.
Drilling Operations
Drilling Programme
• The drilling programme is used by various parties
involved in the drilling operation to select the appropriate
tools to drill the well, order the required equipment and
schedule the operation.
• A typical drilling programme contains the following
– Drill rig to be used to drill the well
– Proposed location for the drilling rig
– Casing size, specifications and setting depths
– Drilling fluid specifications
– Directional drilling information
– Well control equipment and procedure
Drilling Procedures
• A survey crew goes into the field and surveys precisely
the location selected by the geologist or geophysicist.
For offshore, a survey ship uses instruments to take
bearings from orbiting satellites, GPS, etc to locate the
well site.
• The location is prepared for the drilling rig. Onshore –
the land is leveled, earthen pits are excavated and lined
with plastic to serve as reserve pits, and an excess road
is constructed so that equipment can be brought to the
site. If the location is in a swamp, it is often necessary to
dredge out a canal into the area where the well is being
• The drilling rig is then rigged up.
Spudding In & Casing
• When drilling is ready to begin, the hole is ready for
spudding in.
• Spudding in involves drilling a usually shallow, large
diameter hole (often several hundred feet deep) and
lining it with conductor casing set in cement. The depth
of the conductor will depend upon the nature of the soil
at the drill site.
• Once the required surface casing depth is reached, the
drill string is tripped out and a special casing crew moves
in to run the surface casing. The surface casing (a string
of large diameter steel pipes usually in 30 to 40 ft length
and screwed together as it is run into the hole) is
inserted into the hole. Casing accessories include
centralisers, scratcher, a guide shoe, a float collar, and
Source: Gerding, Fundamentals of Petroleum, 3
Surface Casing
• Once the surface is place, cement is pumped down the
inside of the pipe, followed by a plug used to wipe the
cement from the inside of the casing.
• Drilling mud is pumped in on top of the plug to displace
the cement to bottom and out into the annular space
between the casing and the wellbore.
• Once the surface pipe has been set, deeper drilling
begins. A smaller bit is run down the inside of the casing
through the plug and the guide shoe at the bottom of
the casing.
• The surface casing serves as an attachment point the
• Routine drilling then continues to the desired depth.
• Sometimes it is necessary to set intermediate casing, i.e.
drilling into a high pressure zone.

Cementing casing
Source: Giuliano, Introduction to Oil and Gas Technology
Casing strings cemented in hole
Source: Giuliano, Introduction to Oil and Gas Technology
• There are many reason to having to casing off formations:
– To prevent unstable formations from caving in.
– To protect weak formation from the high mud-weights
that may be required in subsequent hole section – these
high mud weights may fracture the weaker zones.
– To isolate zones with abnormally high pressure from
deeper or shallower zones which may be lower
– To seal off lost circulation zones.
• And when set across the production interval:
– To allow selective access for production/injection/control
of the flow of fluids from, or into the reservoir(s).
• One of the casing strings will also be required to provide
structural support for the wellhead and BOP.
Offshore Drilling
• Offshore operation in the petroleum industry began as
extensions to land operations.
• The first offshore well in the USA was drill in 1897 off the
coast of southern California – a wooden pier that extended
300 ft into the Pacific Ocean was built from the shore.
Near the end of the pier a drilling rig was erected, and a
well was drilled to tap oil and gas that lay in a sub-surface
reservoir below the water.
• In the 1930s, offshore drilling of exploratory wells (or
wildcats) in coastal marshlands, bayous, and shallow
bays in the Coast of Mexico involved first dredging a
channel of 4 to 8 ft deep in the marshes and bays and
then towing a barge into the channel. The barge was then
submerged and secured in place by wooden pilings, and a
rig was erected on the deck of the barge, which remained
above the waterline.
Drilling barge
Source: Berger, Anderson, Modern Petroleum - A Basic Primer of the industry, 3
• Another method of drilling wildcats in shallow bays in the
1930s involved building wooden platform on timber piles
and erecting a rig on the platform.
• The first mobile offshore drilling rig was designed in
1948. Several steel beams, or posts were attached to
the deck of a barge, an upper deck was laid on top of the
posts, and drilling equipment was placed on the upper
deck. The rig was floated out to the drill site to enter the
mouth of Mississippi River (in 18 ft of water), and water
was allowed to enter the barge hull at a controlled rate
so that the unit slowly submerged and came to rest on
the seafloor, while the posts extended the drilling desk
well above the waterline, providing a stable platform for
the drilling operation. After the first well was successfully
drilled, the water in the barge hull was pumped out, and
once again the entire unit floated on the water’s surface.
It can then be towed to a second location.
Offshore Drilling
Drilling Rigs
• Drilling barges are useful for shallow protected water
such as lagoons and canals up to about 25 ft. Barges
differ from ship in that they are not self-propelled, but
must be towed to and from the well location by a tug.
They are not suitable for deep water or for areas where
high waves might occur. Barges also house supplies and
provide quarters for the crew.
• There are four main types of mobile offshore drilling rigs
used to drill wildcats or exploration wells: Submersibles,
Jackups, Semi-submersibles and Drillships.
• Submersibles and J ackups are bottom-supported rigs.
• Offshore drilling operations and equipment are similar to
those on land. The major difference is a top drive and
the platform upon which the rig is mounted.
Wave Caused Motion
• All floating structures (drill rig, drill ship, or production
facility, etc) are subject to current, wave and wind action.
• Winds, waves and current all give rise to steady
components of forces or moment, tending to displace or
overturn the system.
• A floating structure has six degrees of freedom of motion
– three displacement and three rotation.
• The displacements are
– surge,
– sway,
– heave.
• The rotations are
– pitch,
– roll,
– yaw.
Six degrees of freedom of motion
Six degrees of freedom of motion
• Posted barge – a drilling barge for shallow water and also
the earliest submersibles. It is designed to be sunk and
rested on the bottom while drilling. The drilling deck is
mounted on posts to keep it above the surface of the water.
• Bottle-types submersibles – an early design that has
several steel cylinders, or bottles, on top of which a deck is
laid for drilling equipment. When the bottles are flooded
with water, the rig submerges and comes to rest at the
seabed. To move the rig to the next, water is pumped out of
the bottles until the unit floats on the surface and then
towed to the next site.
• Arctic submersibles – They are unique in that they have a
steel or concrete caisson that rests on the seafloor and are
designed to withstand impact from large floating icebergs in
cold arctic water. Arctic submersibles can drill in water
depths of up to about 150 ft.
Submersible Drill Rigs
• Jack-up rigs are more widely used than submersibles,
suitable for use in a large lake where many sites are to
be drilled, or in shallow offshore areas.
• J ack-up rigs have watertight barge hulls that can float on
the surface of the water while the unit is being towed to
the drill site. Once the site is reached, three or four legs
are jacked down until they rest on the sea bottom,
leaving the working platform well above the sea level.
• With a sufficient air gap between the hull and the surface
of the water, operations can be carried out unhampered
by tides and waves.
• J ack-up rigs can also have two barge-like hulls, the
bottom hull sits on the seabed and is floated with water.
• J ack-up rigs are generally used to drill in water depths
up to 350 ft.
Jack-up Drill Rigs
A jack-up drilling rig
Source: Dawe, Modern Petroleum Technology, Vol 1, Upstream
Jack-up rig
• For deeper water drilling, a floater, i.e. drill ship, and
semi-submersible, is used.
• A semi-submersible is a floating, rectangular-shaped
drilling platform, also known as a column-stabilized unit.
• Semi-submersibles consists of two of more pontoon shaped
hulls to which are attached several vertical columns. The
deck is laid across the top of the columns, where the derrick
and other drilling equipment are placed.
• The pontoons are partially flooded so that some buoyancy
remains such that the pontoons are below the water
surface and drill deck is above the water.
• Because most of the flotation is below sea level in the
pontoons, the rig is very stable even during high seas and
winds. They can drill to water depth up to 10,000 ft.
• In relatively shallow water, the semi-submersible is
anchored on station with a mooring pattern of anchors and
chain radiating out of the rig. In deeper waters, it uses
dynamic positioning to keep it in station.
Offshore drill rigs
drilling rig
Source: Dawe, Modern Petroleum Technology, Vol 1, Upstream
Drill ship
• Essentially, a drill ship is a ship with a drilling rig mounted
in the centre and drills through a hole in the hull called the
moon pool. The ship floated over the drill site.
• A drill ship is differs from a ship-shaped barge in that the
drill ship is self-propelled and uses dynamic positioning
to stop it from drifting off the drill site by constantly
recalculating the drill ship’s location via navigational
satellites or GPS.
• Some drill ships have the capability of drilling in water
depth of 10,000 ft.
• Drill ships are very expensive. For efficiency, some
modern drill ships have the equipment and ability to drill
two wells at the same time from the derrick – the derrick
contain two traveling blocks and top drives, and the ship
has two independent driller’s and driller’s assistance
stations and two set-back areas to rack the pipe.

A drillship
Source: Dawe, Modern Petroleum Technology, Vol 1, Upstream
Drill ship –