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DRILLING & COMPLETION
balance between operational efficiency and
safety. The client’s requirement for a hands-free system required a near-wholly mechanized approach that would represent the industry’s first rig-based make-up/break-out
solution for tubular doubles and triples.
Open-head bucking unit
A newly engineered open-head bucking
unit serves as the foundation of the hands-free pipe handling system. Customized
specifically for the on-deck makeup and
breakout of double- and triple-joint stands,
the system prepares and feeds doubles
and triples to the rig floor at a rate equal to
transferring singles for running in the hole.
The ability to quickly run, rather than rack,
doubles and triples increases rig efficiency
and streamlines the logistics of pipe delivery
from shore. The system’s ability to side-load
through an open throat further optimizes
the available deck space.
The hydraulically powered bucking unit
handles fully rotational, high-torque opera-
tions up to 160,000 ft-lb (216,931 N∙m), and
seamlessly transitions between makeup
and breakout modes. It prepares extended-
length tubulars of all API and premium-
thread connections, and tubular doubles and
triples with diameters ranging from 4½ to 22
in. (114 to 559 mm).
The system is managed electronically
from a dedicated control cabin, which avoids
manual tubular handling and reduces the
number of rig personnel in potentially haz-
ardous areas. The bucking system requires
only intermittent crane lifts for preparing
doubles and triples, thereby minimizing flat
time while enhancing health and safety dur-
ing heavy weather conditions.
Further operational efficiencies are afforded through a pedestal-mounted tong po-
Key components of the hands-free pipe transfer system, including a third-party pipe shuttle.