World’s Most Powerful Drill Rig Headed For Liberty

In order to develop the Liberty field in the Beaufort Sea, BP has commissioned Parker Drilling Company to build a powerful ultra-extended reach top drive drill rig.  To handle a nine-mile long drill string with a six-mile horizontal deviation, Parker is building what is characterized as the world’s most powerful onshore drill rig.  From Petroleum News (Alain Bailey):

To handle the exceptional demands of rotating and moving a drill string in a well bore that may be anything up to nine miles in length, the rig has to be able to apply an exceptionally high turning force to the drill pipe.

Consequently a key component in the new rig will be the massive top drive, the device slung in the rig derrick to grip and rotate the drill pipe, Luoma [Liberty Project General Manager Darryl Luoma] explained. Although the drive will rotate the pipe at a conventional 130 revolutions per minute, the torque applied to the pipe will max out at 105,000 foot-pounds, compared with the 30,000 to 45,000 foot-pound torque of a typical North Slope rig.

In fact the power of the drive greatly exceeds that in any drill rig worldwide.

“This piece of equipment delivers two times the power requirement to turn the drill pipe as any other piece of equipment out there in the industry,” Luoma said.

Parker factory tested a version of the top drive in late 2007 — BP has actually ordered the fifth version of the drive for use in the rig, Luoma said.

“In fact the Liberty top drive right now is under construction … and will be delivered to this rig early next year,” he said.

BP is developing specially designed drill pipe that is relatively lightweight but can withstand the high torques that the top drive will be able to deliver.

Automatic pipe handling

And because an individual well might require 90,000 to 100,000 feet of drill pipe and casing, the new rig layout will include an especially large pipe barn. Equipment to automatically handle the assembly and positioning of the drill pipe will enhance rig safety, Luoma said.

“People won’t have to physically screw the pipe lengths together,” Luoma said. “There’s equipment that picks it up, puts it together and makes it up, and then lifts into the drilling operation.”

The long wells will also require fluid pressures up to 7,500 pounds per square inch, compared with the 3,500 to 4,500 pounds per square inch of a typical Prudhoe Bay drilling operation. And the volumes of fluid involved require an especially large drilling service module for fluid handling.

Natural gas will power the rig, while liquid cooling of the equipment will eliminate the need for noisy cooler fans and blowers.

“Folks working on this rig will be able to have a conversation on the rig floor,” Luoma said.

The Parker press release can be found here.

This entry was posted in Alaska, BP, Liberty, Oil, Prudhoe Bay and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to World’s Most Powerful Drill Rig Headed For Liberty

  1. Pingback: World’s Most Powerful Drill Rig Headed For Liberty « Cold Cliff Blog | Neat Stuff Found Everywhere

  2. Jeff Bayer says:

    Thanks for this article Craig. Lindsey Williams informed Alex Jones listeners that either this rig or one similar is or has been moved into the area he specified as having the largest oil find in U.S. history.

    Jeff Bayer

  3. frank says:

    This isn’t the first time the schedule for the Liberty project has changed. Initially, BP planned to begin drilling last year, with startup set for 2011. After the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company pushed the schedule for Liberty back a year, with drilling to begin in 2011 and production in 2012. In November, however, BP stopped construction of the Liberty rig.

    The company said it would conduct a design and engineering review to evaluate the billion-dollar project’s safety systems.

    Steve Rinehart, a spokesperson for BP, says once the review is complete, the company will have a better handle on the timetable for start up. The latest estimate is for production to begin in 2013.

  4. Pingback: World’s Most Powerful Drill Rig Headed For Liberty « Cold Cliff Blog | That's Pretty Random

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s