Over time, oil drilling equipment has changed dramatically. As technology develops, it’s not only improved the efficiency of oil drilling and pumping, but has grown safer for personnel and the environment. Here are several ways oilfield equipment has changed over time.
For hundreds of years, workers “drilled” by using shovels and picks to dig a hole. This wasn’t just slow — it was dirty and dangerous. Cable tool rigs, which repeatedly lifted and dropped a drill bit into the earth, took away much of the human drudgework of digging for oil.
But perhaps the biggest development came with the rotary drill, which ground into the earth. Rotary drills remain the standard for most of the industry. Further refinements have come with novel drill bit designs, including diamond-tipped drills and tungsten-carbide teeth.
Vacuums and Pumps
(Needs to be re written to fit the types of vacuums and pumps POFS has) Oil pumps used to be little more than repurposed water pumps, often powered by steam engines. Over time, engineers moved toward natural gas and finally gasoline-powered engines, each more efficient than the last.
One of the most important developments was the counterbalanced pump jack — the classic “see-saw” pump familiar to many. These days, powerful vacuum pumps draw oil from even the smallest and most stubborn wells. Plus, they can be moved from place to place, which greatly cuts costs.
Redesign of completion fluids has aimed to create less expensive and environmentally destructive fluids. Chemists have designed many novel completion fluids used in modern drilling, each with unique applications for different types of wells, surrounding sands and clay, geothermal heat, and so forth.
Trucks and Transport
Finally, efficient and safe transportation of oil is a major concern. Many environmental activists have raised concerns about breaches of pipelines or storage tanks, which can have disastrous consequences on both oilfield workers and the environment. Oil was originally transported across railroads and highways in barrels, before long-distance pipelines became the industry standard for moving large amounts of oil efficiency. Further developments have centered around implementing smart technology to identify dangerous changes in pressure that can indicate stress to the pipeline, or even breaches in progress. Patriot Oilfield Services is an active member of ISNetworld. Our safety programs comply with ISNetworld which allows us to be an industry leader in conformance verification.
Drilling, pumping and transporting oil has always been a dangerous business. But thanks to recent technological developments, it’s far safer for both workers and the environment.