Rig hands can spend up to half the year away from home, often working in remote locations, and sometimes in other countries. Exposed to the elements for up to twelve and a half hours a shift, they need to be well-rested and well-fed to perform their duties safely and efficiently on the rig.
Working on a drilling rig is no desk job – it can be loud and dirty with plenty of exposure to the elements. It’s also a rewarding career with high earning potential, and a work schedule that’s far from your everyday nine to five with only three weeks’ vacation a year.
If you’re considering a career on the rigs and want to know about each position, this blog is for you. Read on as we take you through crew basics, describe rig positions, and explain why Trinidad is the employer of choice among new and experienced hands. Continue reading
On a rig, mud does a lot more than land on your coveralls. The mud that circulates through a well bore is instrumental to oil and gas drilling.
In last week’s blog post, we gave you a look at a day in the life of a Derrickhand. The Derrickhand’s responsibilities include maintaining the rig’s mud systems and mud properties. This week, we want to give newcomers to the drilling business a guide to the sophisticated world of mud!
What role does mud play in the drilling process?
When a hole is being drilled, drilling fluids or “mud” is circulated through the well bore. This mud performs many functions including:
- Bringing “cuttings” to the surface (cuttings are fragments of rock dislodged by the bit)
- Cooling and lubricating the drill bit
- Controlling pressure
- Stabilizing the hole
Rig hands have their own language. In fact, we provide our green hands with a translation dictionary before they hit the field (OK, it’s not really a dictionary. It’s just a glossary). Just like any language, dialects can change slightly from rig to rig, but many of the terms are universal, so newbies will want to familiarize themselves with the basics.
If you’re a seasoned hand, skip to the second part of this post where we have provided a roundup of some of our favourite animal-inspired rig terms. Welcome to the jungle!
For newbies: Terms to learn now
The mast is one of the most recognizable parts of a drilling rig. Standing up to 50 metres (164 feet) high, our team uses QT100 advanced steel on our masts to make more space for equipment and reduce the overall weight of the structure.
Not to be confused with four-sided derricks, masts are three-sided structures with an open face.
We mention substructures (a.k.a. “subs”) a lot on the blog, often in relation to moving or walking systems. Located directly over the well, the substructure raises, lowers and supports the rig floor, derrick and other rig floor components like the drawworks.
A common substructure is the slingshot sub. They begin in a folded position and are then unfolded as hydraulic cylinders or winches raise the rig into place. On a slingshot sub, all rig floor components are installed and rigged up with the floor lowered.
The bit is on the bottom of the drill string and must be changed when it becomes excessively dull or stops making progress. Most bits work by scraping or crushing the rock, or both, usually as part of a rotational motion. Some bits, known as hammer bits, pound the rock vertically in much the same fashion as a construction site air hammer.*
Paired with the right technology, equipment and rig crews, drilling rigs have the capability to drill miles below the earth’s surface into tough formations. Learn more about rig upgrades we have underway to allow our rigs to drill deeper than ever before.
*Denotes definition from Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary