Have you ever wondered how drills work? Or how something so pure and precious like gold was extracted from the ground? There are different processes through which gold, gas, and others can be extracted. The two most common ones are drilling and manual digging.
It is not new to anyone that there are a lot of valuables on land and sea that can only be reached by certain exploration processes like drilling, mining, and the likes. These valuables have contributed to the development of human civilization amd technological advancement. Some of these valuables include oil and gas, gold, metal ore, diamonds, coal, and lots of others. Apart from using these resources or valuables to produce other important materials and products, the revenue generated also contribute to the technological advancement of any country that extracts valuables from its natural environment.
Drills: Brief overview
Drilling is a process in which a drill is used to cut circular cross-sectional holes in solid materials. There are different solid materials a drill can be used for. The type of material to be drilled influences the type of drill to be used. There are different types of drills which can be classified based on their function or how they operate. There are drills that work on metals, wood while there are drills that can only be used underwater or to drill rocks.
Each type of drill depending on the material it works on has different motion. For instance, the drills used for metals move in a circular way whereas drills used for rocks work by hammering its tip into the rock to create a hole before rotating out to widen the hole.
Drills can also be differentiated by how they operate. A lot of drills are manually operated i.e. with just hands; some operate using electricity; there are some called pneumatic drills that are powered by compressed air. There are also a few drills that work using an internal combustion engine.
One major use of a drill that we will concern ourselves with is the use of drills for the extraction of oil, gas, and other related resources. There is no way one can discuss the extraction of oil from the earth crust without talking about drilling rigs
Drilling rigs come in two forms. They can be massive and can also be mobile structures. The massive structures are used to drill water or oil wells usually in the sea as offshore oil rigs. They are also used on land to extract natural gas. Not all the massive drilling structures are mobile. A lot of them are built on the spot using parts built from other locations.
Drilling rigs are not only used for extracting fuel and other resources, but they are also used for a lot of other operations. For instance, construction works.
Rotary Drilling: Types
Rotary drilling is a modern method or technique of drilling which was first practiced in 1863. It should, however, be noted that the idea of rotary drilling was not conceived in 1863. It has been around for quite a while. There are even archaeological records that clearly show that early Egyptians (around 3000 B.C.) were using a drilling method or technique similar to the one being used today. In fact, renowned painter and genius Da Vinci designed a drilling mechanism that shares a huge resemblance with the rotary drills used nowadays.
When the rotary drills were first practiced in 1863, it was meant to be used for water well drilling but is now being used for a variety of other things. Rotary drilling can be used for soft rock drilling, underwater drilling, etc. One of the reasons why the rotary method is used is because of the fascinating way it works. The drills used are very sharp that works in a circular motion or rotates. Whenever the method is to be used, there is always a general acceptance for its use. The sharp drill used in the rotary drilling method penetrates rocks and make holes because of its spinning.
There are two other figures worth mentioning, Anthony Lucas and Patillo Higgins because they made Rotary drilling a popular drilling technique in Petroleum drilling. Rotary drilling has long since moved from just involving a sharp drill that rotates and borehole into a rock to something more thanks to technological advances and innovations.
The process involved in rotary drilling
The rotary drilling technique is used a lot for geological drilling. Exploration process of natural gas, crude oil mainly uses rotary drilling. The process is used for drilling of vertical sites and slightly angled ones.
Rotary drilling rigs
Drilling rigs are an important component of exploration processes we carry out on the earth crust. Rotary Drilling is not just a technique. There are drilling rigs dedicated for rotary drilling. In fact, rotary drilling rigs are just one of the different types of drilling rigs available in the market today. The only reason why Rotary drilling rigs are made is so that they can create a faster drilling process. They do this by creating a bigger rotation axis for drills and creating facilities that assist in lifting drill string. Rotary drilling rigs also have castings and other important equipment needed for the technique to work. Rotary Drilling rigs can be classified into:
- Land rigs: This is also referred to as onshore rigs. They are used to extract resources that are only found on dry land. They are subdivided into two groups:
- Mobile rigs: these are rigs that can be moved from place to place. They do not have to be deconstructed when the drilling process is complete. This is usually because they are constructed on mobile platforms like trucks.
Example of this kind of rig are Jackknife drilling rigs, Portable mast, and some other ones
- Conventional rigs: these are rigs that are constructed on-site and have to be deconstructed when the drilling is over. Usually, when rigs like these are employed or used, it means the location will likely be a permanent location.
Conventional rigs can be small, medium and large land rigs.
- Offshore rigs: Offshore rigs are also called underwater rigs. They are usually used for petroleum drilling. These kinds of drills can be classified into two kinds:
- Bottom anchored rigs: They are anchored to the sea bed.
- Floating rigs: these type of rigs float and are not anchored. They are mobile and can easily be moved to where it is needed.
Example of floating rigs includes drillship, semi-submersible, barge, etc.
The type of offshore rig used entirely depends on various factors. These factors include the depth of the water, the wind direction and strength, the water current and a whole lot of other important things are considered before building an offshore rig.
Advantages of Rotary Drilling
Rotary Drilling is an improved and smarter technique of drilling compared to traditional drilling techniques. It is gradually being favored by companies and industries especially those concerned with mining and other exploration activities carried out on the earth crust. That said, you must be wondering why sort of advantages Rotary drilling has over other drilling techniques. Here are five major advantages Rotary Drilling has that makes it unique.
One of the advantages of modern machines is its flexibility. The flexibility of a machine contributes a lot when trying to decide which kind of machine to use. Rotary drilling rigs have a lightweight modular design. This design makes it easier to install a drilling rig. It also makes it easier when the drilling rig is to be relocated for whatsoever reason.
The design of a drilling rig means it has better operational flexibility which in turn offers greater adaptation regardless of any site it is to be used.
A lot of machines are having better automatic features to make operating them easier. Rotary drilling rigs are self-propelled and fully hydraulic. As a matter of fact, a lot of rotary drilling rigs are even equipped with their own computers. these computers give them lots of advanced automatic features. These give them even better flexibility and increases their level of productivity.
- Drilling is done faster
Every drilling technique has its own unique style and what it brings to the table as advantages. One of the advantages of rotary drilling is speed. While a lot of things are responsible for this, one of them comes to the fore. When designing a drilling rig for a particular type of strata, different types of drills are combined to make it. For instance, there are two drilling tubes on a drilling rig. There is a long drilling tube and a short drilling tube.
The length of the long drilling tube makes it very efficient when you are planning on drilling on clay soil. The longer reach of the drilling tube makes it easier and faster compared to a conventional drill. The shorter drilling tube has sand and cobble that makes it easier to control the speed when drilling.
- Efficiency is improved
One of the important reasons why machines are made is to improve efficiency. It is also one of the main reasons why we all use them. With machines, one can complete tasks faster. This makes things easier to do for everyone.
It is very easy to infer from the manner in which lots of construction companies and industries that do with drilling are switching to the use of rotary drilling that it is quite efficient. The way rotary drilling rigs works makes it quite unique and it is evident that a lot of work was put in its design. To give you an idea of how efficient it is, we’ll consider the mud pumps one will find in a rotary drilling rig.
When drilling holes with the rotary drilling rigs, it uses drilling muds stored in its mud pumps to lubricate the holes. The mud also performs a host of other functions and not just lubricating. It also cleans the drill and also cool it down. The mud is also responsible for stabilizing the wall of the hole and make sure it does not cave in. it does this by controlling the pressure inside the holes. In essence, the mud is responsible for giving better penetration when drilling. It also improve the efficiency of the drilling process.
In the age we now live in, every action and every step has to be done while considering the effects it will have on the environment as a whole. There are even organizations that monitor the activities of companies and industries and how they influence global warming.
Rotary drilling is a very neat technique. The rotary drilling rigs used, especially the ones used on water, are not only efficient. They are also made to ensure that wherever it is used, it leaves little to no mess that can contribute to environmental pollution. Rotary drilling, unlike the traditional drilling, generates lesser noise and very small vibrations. This is one of the reasons why it is being employed by construction companies. It usually comes in handy when the construction job has to be done very close to residential buildings where noise pollution can be a problem.
In addition, the fact that it produces smaller vibrations means there is no chance that it will weaken the foundations of other buildings close to it.
Drilling is becoming the go-to for a lot of processes. From different exploration process to construction works, a lot of companies involved are now using it instead of manual digging. One of the reasons for this is because Drilling is a much neater and faster way of creating holes.
Drilling also has different types of techniques. Rotary drilling is one of the best techniques for drilling. It is not only faster than conventional drilling, but it can also be adapted for various type of site and operation.