Friede & Goldman Ltd., Houston, has secured a US patent on its horizontal pipe-handling system for jackup drilling units.
According to the company, the new system reduces owner/operator's operating costs, as well as construction costs, by increasing the efficiency of the pipe-handling systems and by allowing for rig designs with smaller, lighter derrick and drillfloor structures.
The horizontal pipe handling system, designed particularly for use on jackups with cantilevered drillfloors, allows the rig to handle longer sections of tubulars, such as triples of drillpipe and doubles of casing up to 100 ft long. Prior to this, conventional jackup units relied on pipe-handling systems capable of handling only 30-40-ft length pipe sections. With the increased demand to drill in deeper waters, newer jackup units require lengths up to 120 ft. In addition, tubulars must be dismantled and laid down in singles before the rig can relocate.
The system involves transporting the tubulars from a horizontal pipe rack adjacent to a drill floor, such as an elevated pipe rack on a cantilever beam, to a vertical orientation in a set-back area of the drill floor where the drill string or casing is made up for lowering downhole. The company says the system reduces the number of joints for making a drill string, thereby reducing the cost and time of pipe-handling operations.