PNG 301
Introduction to Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

8.6: Summary and Final Tasks



We began this lesson by discussing the life cycle of a producing field. The six stages of field development are:

  • Exploration Stage
  • Appraisal/Delineation Stage
  • Development Stage
  • Plateau Stage
  • Decline Stage
  • Abandonment Stage

We then discussed the role of the drilling engineer in each of these stages. The main point of this discussion was that whenever a drilling rig is involved in a field activity, a drilling engineer typically takes the primary role in developing the rig program (drilling fluid properties, cement properties, casing design, drill pipe specifications, etc.) and coordinating the rig activity with all required companies and agencies.

We then discussed the role of the drilling contract company in the oil and gas industry. We discussed two common contracts used by operating companies to obtain the services of a drilling company, its equipment (including the rig), and its personnel:

  • Day-rate contract (most common contract)
  • Turn key contract

We then discussed the various members of the rig crew, their roles and responsibilities, whom they report to, the company that employed them (operating company, drilling company, or service company). Later in the lesson, we saw several YouTube videos showing the rig crew personnel performing some of their duties.

We also discussed historic rigs (cable tool rigs) and modern rigs (rotary rigs). The two rotary rigs that we discussed in detail were the conventional rotary table rig and the top-drive rig. The conventional rotary rig has been the work-horse of the industry for most of the 20th century, but the top-drive rig, a relatively recent innovation, is fast becoming the industry standard.

The two major advantages of a top-drive drilling rig are:

  • The ability to handle multiple joints (two or three joints) of drill pipe at one time during connecting/unconnenting operations
  • The ability to rotate the drill pipe while tripping into or out of the wellbore to avoid Stuck Pipe during tripping operations

Finally, we discussed the mobile and fixed drilling in offshore environments. In particular, we discussed:

  • Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs):
    • Jack-up rigs
    • Semi-submersible rigs
    • Drill ships
  • Fixed drilling centers on large Production, Drilling, and Quarters (PDQ) Platforms

Final Tasks

Complete all of the Lesson 8 tasks!

You have reached the end of Lesson 8! Double-check the to-do list on the Lesson 8 Overview page to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before you begin Lesson 9.