Oil Drilling and Type of Oil Rigs


Oil Drilling and Type of Oil Rigs

About 40 percent of the world’s energy comes from oil. The U.S. uses about a quarter of the world’s oil every year. Crude oil is drilled for and pumped out of the ground, refined, and barreled. Products from crude oil include Asphalt, Petroleum, Jet Fuel, Diesel Fuel, and Gasoline. 

More than 75 percent of the oil in the U.S. comes from private land and individuals hiring or starting their own oil production. Oil wells are drilled until the oilfield is reached, then a pipeline is inserted into the drill hole to remove the oil. 

The pipeline is generally equipped with a pumpjack, downhole pump, or gas lift system to bring the oil out of the well. Pumpjacks dip into the well and increase pressure in the well to push, or pump, the oil out of the well. (Demonstration) Downhole Pumps are a pump that is inserted at the bottom of the well and pumps the oil up the pipe. Gas Lifts use gas and pressure to push the oil out of the well and then separate any mixture before final removal.

Types of Oil Rigs

Oil rigs or oil platforms are very complicated pieces of equipment used for drilling for oil underwater, generally in the ocean. Several types of rigs exist and are optimized for different depths and use including offshore drilling for oil or gas drilling.  

Fixed platform type oil rigs have steel or cement legs and are anchored to the bed of the ocean or sea. These are usually for long-term use and are feasible for depths up to about 1700 ft. 

Compliant towers are a steel-structured tower attached to the ocean or seafloor and are narrow and flexible to withstand currents with a smaller platform at the top. They are generally for long-term use and are used in depths ranging from 1500 ft to 3000 ft. 

Semi-Submersible Platforms work similar to boats and have hulls that keep them stable. They also have buoyancy tanks that allow changing in depth, and are usually anchored with chain or wire rope to the ocean floor. These platforms can be assembled on land and towed for offshore drilling, and are used in depths from 200 ft to 20,000 feet.  

Jack-Up Drilling Rigs are mobile drilling rigs that began as modified barges, they have several legs attached that can raise and lower up to 600ft to be used as a temporary drilling platform in up to 600 ft of water. 

Drillships use DP, dynamic positioning, to stay stable while drilling. They are generally used as a research vessel and can drill from 12,000 ft to a reported 23,000 ft deep. 

Tension-Leg Platforms or TLP use four anchors under the seafloor to tension the corners of the rig and eliminate any movement. They are used between 1,000 ft and 4,900 ft in depth and are one of the most stable designs. 

Gravity-Base Structures or GBS are cement or steel tanks anchored to the seafloor and are often used in fjords since they are protected there. They are held in place by gravity and the tanks that are used to store oil or gas, and are used in less than 100 ft of water.

Spar Platforms are a mix between compliant towers and TLP and are tall like a compliant tower, except are a solid tank that is used as a hull and does not connect to the seafloor, instead cables or chains connect the hull to the seafloor. These are used between 2,000 ft and 8,000 ft of water depth.

Oil is a huge part of our lives and used for many things including plastics, solvents, cars, heating, and jet fuel. Nearly 6% of oil is used for jet fuel and 28% of oil is used for industrial purposes. We don’t know how much is used for plastic but we can assume a decent amount, estimates are around 10%. The best thing to leave this on is reduce, reuse, and recycle, because there are millions of dollars being spent on producing oil and the less we use, the better. 





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