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Drilling Rigs & Automation

Modular MDDM top drive designed to cut time for change outs, slash failures

In 2005, Transocean went in search of a “next-generation top drive” that could significantly improve operational performance to meet customer demands. Specifications required for this new-generation design were tough, including a 99.9% uptime on an annual basis. Out of several ideas proposed by different equipment manufacturers, Aker Solutions’ MDDM (modular direct drilling machine) was selected. According to Aker, the MDDM’s increased performance would enable Transocean to drill wells up to 50,000 ft, with an overall design philosophy of reducing the total cost of ownership of a derrick drilling machine. A contract was signed by October 2005, initiating a development phase with the two companies collaborating on the design and field-testing of the new top drive. Transocean provided background data based ...

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Some manufacturers going forward with PM motors for drilling industry; others hesistant

By Jerry Greenberg, contributing editor Electric motors have been an integral part of the drilling industry for decades. They provide the means to drill a well – powering the drawworks, pumping fluids down the wellbore and separating cuttings upon their return. When the industry began building jackups, electric motors enabled the lowering of legs to the seafloor and the raising of the platform above the waves. On deepwater rigs, they were used to draw in the anchors and to power thrusters on dynamically positioned semisubmersibles and drillships. Since the commercialization of top drives in the early 1980s, motor manufacturers have turned their attention to motors specific to this use. Due to the severe operating conditions of a top drive system, ...

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Rack & pinion technology takes shape in oilfield as multifunctional rigs

By Katie Mazerov, contributing editor Germany-based Max Streicher completed its first-generation vertical directional drilling rig through subsidiary Drill Tec in early 2005. This video shows the rig’s pipe handling system. Horizontal Well Drillers’s rack and pinion design was initially developed for the horizontal river crossing business and was modified for the oilfield two years ago. Norway-based TTS Sense aims to use technology developed for offshore packages in the land drilling market. This video shows a TTS Sense rack and pinion rig built for Ability Drilling. There’s an old adage that says, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Nowhere is that more true than the oil and gas industry, where the need for better ways to tap resources is pushing innovation ...

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Top drives have transformed drilling: Now, new design targets ultra-deep, ERD

By David Reid, Larry Wells and Jeremy Ogg, National Oilwell Varco In 1982, a radically new drilling system appeared in the oil patch, one that would ultimately allow tremendous advances in the oil and gas industry’s well construction capabilities. The advent of the original Top Drive System (TDS) foreshadowed the development of reservoirs that were otherwise considered to be commercially impractical, and greatly improved the net cost, time-to-market and production of many others. Now, in 2008, a fourth generation of top drives from National Oilwell Varco (NOV) aims to continue extending the horizon of reservoir exploitation possibilities. Initially aimed at reducing the costs and risks associated with ultra-deep offshore development projects, the TDX series of top drives is also being ...

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