Oil & GasWhat is an oil rig and how does it...

What is an oil rig and how does it operate?



Certain energy sources are nonrenewable and one of them is oil, oil rig plays a major role in our global economy. Crude oil can be seen in different parts of the earth and a huge amount of oil is located under the sea. Onshore drilling is a lot easier when compared to offshore drilling but as we know major oil source is located in offshore so offshore drilling is necessary. Oil and gas would contribute almost fifty-five percent of the world energy requirement. Our global economy mostly depended on crude oil.

What is an Oil rig?

A rig can be described as equipment or a machine that is capable of drilling a wellbore. An oil rig is created by the process of drilling and inserting a tube through the earth’s surface and this could be on the land or at sea. A huge percentage of oil is located offshore and due to this offshore rig is important. The oil source in the sea is really vast when compared to the land.

We can define an oil rig as a production plant that is used to drill the oil wells and natural gas extraction wells. A rig can be considered as a temporary structure because if the oil source is reduced in the rig location, then it would be relocated to other locations.

The equipment of the offshore and onshore rigs would be the same. There are different types of offshore rigs and these rigs are selected according to the depth of the water.

What are the types of drilling rigs?

There are two major types of drilling rigs they are marine rigs and land rigs.

Marine rigs (offshore)

The rigs that are used to drill on the water are called marine rigs.

Land rigs (onshore)

The rig which is used to drill on land is called the land rig

Types of marine rigs

Bottom supported rigs

In this type of rig, the rig would be situated on the seafloor or on the pads which are supported on the seafloor.

Floating rigs

In this type of marine rig, the drilling process would take place when the rig is in the floating position.

Barge mounted rigs

in this type of marine rig, the drilling rig would be mounted on a barge.

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What is an oil rig and how does it operate? 3

How Oil rig selection is done?

  • Geologists would plan and choose the proper location for the well, it would be done by a seismic survey.
  • The exact location of the well on the land will be spotted, in the case of offshore rigs, the coordinate of the well location would be spotted.
  • Well site preparation
  • Water depth would be measured and also the seabed soil condition would be checked too
  • Drilling engineers would choose the rig
  • The contractors would determine the required size of the rig, they would also determine the rig weight, power requirement of the rig, load handling capability, and drilling fluid volumes.

Major factors that should be considered while selecting a rig

  • Water depth rating
  • The capacity of the rig, bulk capacity, liquid, and mud mixing capacity
  • Rig size
  • Rough water stability
  • Required time to finish the drilling process
  • Type of drilling
  • Cost

What are the major steps involved in the oil drilling process?

  • To determine the reservoir volume the operator would drill wells
  • Move the drilling rig to well
  • The drill pipe would be lowered with the help of the drill bit and thus creating a hole in the seafloor
  • Large pipes would be installed by the rig in the wellbore in order to separate the wellbore
  • A smaller casing would be added to protect the wellbore from the pressure and also form the wellbore surrounding

What do upstream and downstream refer to in the oil rig?


In the oil and gas sector, the upstream refers to several processes from determining the rig position and also from drilling to the transmission of the oil.


Downstream refers to the work which is done in the refinery such as cracking, distillation, reforming, blending, storage, mixing, and shipping.

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What is an oil rig and how does it operate? 4

What are the major components of an oil rig?

  • Engine – The engine would provide the required power for the drilling mechanism
  • Drill pipe – It is a steel rod that is designed according to the depth of the well and it would activate the drill bit
  • Drill bit – This is the part that makes contact with the ground and it would make a hole in the ground
  • Mud pump – It would move the mud in the rig
  • Kelly – It is a rod that is connected to the drill and the kelly would help to achieve the rotation.
  • Derrik – It is used to hold the pipes
  • Swivel – this would be connected to the kelly and this equipment would put the mud to the drill pipe to cool the bit.

Required crew, to operate a rig?

  • Driller
  • Rig supervisor
  • Toolpusher
  • Mechanics and electrician
  • Derrik man
  • Crane operator
  • Floor men
  • Roughnecks
  • Motormen

How does an oil rig operate?

An oil well is created by drilling a hole in the earth with the help of a drill rig. After a hole is drilled steel pipes would be introduced to the borehole and it would be placed in the hole. Cement would be added to the casing and also to the borehole and thus structural integrity can be achieved and thus pressure zones can be separated.

The drill bit would be connected to the drill collar and the drill collar would apply certain pressure to the bit so that it can cut into rocks. Mud will be removed from the drill and there will be oil-based mud and water-based mud will be utilized to do the drilling process. Well casing plays an important part in the rig this is composed of several metal tubes and the well-casing would be installed in the drill hole.

Well, casing ensures that there won’t be any spillage of oil or gas through the well-hole. The oil and gas would be brought to the surface and thus it would prevent the loss.

How to get a job in the oil and gas sector?

As we know the need for oil is increasing day by day. There are a lot of oil rigs and also major rigs are looking for experienced professionals with good skills. In order to get selected you should be a certified professional with good skills.

SMEClabs would help you to be a certified professional. If you are planning to start a career in oil & gas then you should do a certified course in oil and gas. If you complete the oil and gas course from the SMEClabs then you would be able to learn a lot about refinery operations, Nondestructive testing, rig operations, and a lot more. You can acquire a lot of industrial skills because we provide good practical sections and also you would be trained by experienced professionals.

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