Drilling a well beneath the surface of the North Sea is a similar
to drilling a hole in a piece of wood at home. The major difference
is in the size and strength of the drill bit as it will be boring
through some very hard rock formations. The depth of the well will
depend on the site of the reservoir and can be from a thousand metres
to a few kilometres deep. Lengths of drill pipe, on average 9 metres
long, are attached to the drill bit and some drilling operations
can take many hours to complete. The use of fluids, usually called
drilling mud, to lubricate the drill bit can make the process very
dirty and working on the drill floor means exposure to all types
of weather conditions.
As the well is being drilled, a casing to prevent the hole from
collapsing will be cemented in. Appraisal wells are drilled at the
exploration phase and, following the decision for the field to go
'on stream', production wells are drilled. As technology advances,
the technique of directional drilling is being used to maximise
the performance of the reservoirs. In many locations the drilling
is horizontal, which means that the well is more than 80 degrees
from the vertical.
This role is generally unskilled manual labouring.
The roustabout helps with the drilling activities and maintenance
of the drilling area.
More skilled than the roustabout, the roughneck/floorman
is directly involved in the drilling process under the supervision
of the assistant driller. This position involves hard physical work.
Working about 90 feet above the floor of the rig
in the 'derrick' (the distinctive high tower), the derrickman handles
the section of drill pipe under the direction of the assistant driller.
The assistant driller co-ordinates the activities
on the drill floor, reports to the driller and communicates instructions
and information from the driller to those working on the drilling.
The driller is responsible for the drilling team
and controlling the rate and continuity of the drilling. This is
highly skilled as the drill may have to penetrate many different
types of rock.
The toolpusher oversees the drilling operations at
night. He also ensures that the necessary equipment and materials
The rig superintendent has overall responsibility
for the drilling operation.
The drilling engineer specifies the drilling program,
what kind of 'mud' should be used and the casing required for the
Current drilling jobs
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