Offshore Drilling Platforms

Published: 21/12/2009

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When it comes to offshore drilling a platform must be constructed to maximize the drills' extraction efforts, while at the same time ensuring the safety of the workers by compensating for the water's natural movement.

When the drills are operating, there is a subsea drilling template that connects the underwater well to the floating platform. The subsea template is sent to the sea floor from the platform where it digs a small hole in the ground to "bury" itself into the seafloor. It remains connected to the platform through several elastic cables, which allow the drilling platform to sway while the subsea template remains anchored.

Another important component of offshore rigs is the blowout preventer, which is basically a large valve on the offshore rig that prevents oil from spilling out of the drill and mixing with water. The blowout preventer is operated by a blowout specialist. The piece called the "marine riser" extends from above the blowout preventer onto the floating platform. The marine riser is the center piece in a closed circuit system that acts as the transport for liquid from the sea floor onto the drilling vessel. Inside the preventer is the drillbit and drillstring. It is imperative that the preventer be strong, yet flexible enough to adjust to the drill platform's movement.

Offshore drilling like onshore drilling employs rotary drilling as its primary means to unearth crude oil. A rotary drill cuts into the earth using steel tooth rotary bits or diamond studded drill bits to reach the reserve. Once the reserve has been drilled, the product can be extracted and sent to the refinery for processing.

Advances in drilling and production technology have increased the possibility that offshore platforms can be controlled from an onshore location. These advances in technology include a function to control the automatic shutoff that will minimize pollution.