A Look into Land Drill Preparation

After surveyors have selected a site for oil drilling there are a number of things that go into the process of preparing a drill site.  Mounds of logistical hurdles and physical obstacles are encountered along the way.

First the surveyors will determine the boundaries of the site and arrange environmental impact studies of the location, should they be required.  From the oil company’s side of things, they’ll need to sign lease agreements in most cases as well as right of way accesses and titles for access to drill the area on land.  Offshore, legal jurisdiction of the site will have to be arranged.

Once legal issues are cleared up there the drilling team can prepare the site for the drilling procedure.

On land, crews will have to:

  • Make sure that the land is cleared and leveled.  If unaccessible, access roads will have to be built for equipment to get to the site.
  • Find a water source.  Because drilling requires a water source there will have to be one that is made available to the site.  If there isn’t a natural source nearby, the crew prepares the site by digging a well.
  • Dig a reserve pit.  A reserve pit is used to dispose of any excess rock and mud that comes from the drilling process.  To avoid harm to the environment the pit is lined with a sturdy plastic sheet and should the site be in an ecologically sensitive area, the remaining rock and mud will be disposed of in a safe location and placed in a mobile truck.
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Cellar

The hole must then be prepared by digging a cellar.  You can see an example of what a cellar looks like to the right.  It is dug around the actual location of the hole in a square or rectangular fashion.  This, paired with a succession of other holes around the site, allows the rig to rest safely on the ground and provides a work space for those near the hole made for drilling. 

A small truck then usually takes the drilling responsibilities on first.  Because the first hole will be shallower than the main section of the drilling, a small truck handles the responsibilities before the main rig then comes on.  This first hole is a shallow and larger hole from what will be the final product.  Other holes will also be dug nearby to help store equipment.  After this initial process the land rig is brought on to finish the remainder of the drilling.  You can find a numbered key here to see the different pieces of equipment on your average land rig.

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Land Rig Parts

How equipment is brought to the site is determined from its remoteness.  It isn’t uncommon for equipment to be brought in by helicopter or barge and in some cases barges become the drill site, as they are able to access inland water.  An example of this would be a lake or a marsh.

For even more information on the preparation process of oil drilling be sure to conduct this source.

Finally, enjoy the following video from Industrial3D for a visual representation of the process.