Introduction to the Offshore Rig Hoisting System

In the previous article we have been acquainted with the very basics of the power system of the offshore drilling rig. And now, let us have a look at another fundamental system of any rig - the hoisting system. It is also one of the most important systems without which no drilling could be done.

The system serves a purpose of lifting the whole drill stem in drilled hole and out of it in the process of making a new well and lowering the casing down. This system itself is made of several elements, namely the substructure, the derrick (in some cases there can be the mast instead) and the drawworks, then the crown block and the traveling block equipped with the hook, and of course the drilling line.

The substructure of any rig is specifically designed and constructed to be able to effectively support the weight of the derrick taken together with the rotary table and the load of the drill stem when it is either suspended or standing in the derrick. Note that the substructure shall provide the support to the casing string during the time when they run the casing.

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Introduction to Offshore Rig Power

Power is required to run the shipboard or rig machinery. It is needed on every rig and normally comes from the internal combustion engines usually powered by diesel fuel. A rig may have from two to four engines, mainly depending on how deep the oil well is expected to be drilled. Bigger rigs typically possess three or four 1215 horsepower engines with 1200 kva generators that together may develop 4860 horsepower, or 3624 kilowatts.

The power generated by the engines is then transmitted to the rig components via mechanical or electrical drive. On mechanical rigs, belts, chains, sprockets, or pulleys transmit the power to electric motors at each of the components. Most of the rigs today are electric as they are much simpler to rig up and easier to maintain than mechanical rigs.

The rig power systems use the engines, i.e. prime movers together with the drives to generate and transmit power required for such fundamental activities as hoisting, circulating, and rotating. The rig prime movers convert the energy released by fuel combustion into the energy of motion and force. As noted above, a rig may need 2-4 engines with their aggregate power ranging somewhere between 500 and 5000 horsepower.

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First Offshore Operations in the United States

In the United States, all offshore oil and gas operations began in the late 19th century. It was Edwin Drake who drilled the very first oilwell in the America in 1859. He did it on a piece of land near Titusville, Pennsylvania. It was only thirty-eight years later, in 1897, that another enthusiast drilled the first offshore well in U.S. He drilled it offshore Southern California, immediately south of Santa Barbara...

   In the late 1800s, a group of people founded the town of Summerland, California. The founders picked the site because of its pleasant, sunny climate. Coincidentally, it also had numerous springs. These springs did not, however, produce water; natural gas and crude oil bubbled out of them...

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