This is the second post in Trinidad’s three-part series on top drives.
Brent Kryzanowski, the Top Drive Superintendent for Trinidad’s Canadian fleet, started as a Motorhand with Trinidad in 1996. He’s seen, first hand, how the industry has been “revolutionized” by top drive technology. (Pun intended.)
“Drilling with a top drive allows operators to reach areas and milestones in measured depths of horizontal wells that would not be accessible with conventional rotary drilling,” explained Kryzanowski.
Here are five ways top drives improve efficiency and allow drilling contractors to “go boldly where they’ve never gone before.”
1. Drilling deeper
Top drives, which have one or more motors and provide rotational torque and force to the drill bit, give us the power to drill deeper, longer wells. Here’s one of our newest examples: The top drive of Trinidad’s Rig 58 has 750 tons of static capacity and can help drill horizontal wells 7,000 to 8,000 meters in true measured depth.
2. More precision
Kryzanowski explained that top drives allow for easier steering of the drill string when using directional tools to drill high angle or horizontal wells. How?
“The top drive can turn the drill string in small measured increments to maintain or change the directional tool face,” he said.
3. Increased efficiency
“Compared to the top drive’s predecessor, the swivel and kelly bar, the top drive’s advancements are in efficiency,” stated Kryzanowski.
With a top drive, you can add up to three joints of drill pipe at one time when making a connection (i.e. adding pipe to the drill sting to reach deeper into the formation). On a conventional rotary rig, you can only add one joint at a time.
“With a top drive, you can leave the bit near the bottom (of the well) and install multiple drill pipe at one time – up to 27 meters in one connection, thus reducing the amount of time for connections to 1/3 of that of a well that is conventionally rotary drilled,” said Kryzanowski.
4. Decrease in stuck drill strings = cost savings
Kryzanowski explained that when a drill string gets stuck in a well (i.e. it cannot be worked out of the hole), it can be very expensive, as you may have to abandon that portion of the well and re-drill – not to mention the cost of losing directional tools and a portion of the drill string in the well.
With a top drive, the amount of time a drill string is not circulating, rotating or moving is greatly reduced, which means there’s less risk of stuck drill string.
5. Safer rigs
Top drives and Trinidad Drilling
Trinidad is constantly evaluating its top drive technology to find new ways to improve efficiency and performance. Learn more about how we’re integrating new innovations into our rigs.
Want to learn more about how a top drive works? Read this post.