Workers in the oilpatch have their own language when it comes to referring to pieces of equipment and describing how things work in their industry.  There are many colourful and simplified terms used to describe the drilling process and parts of a rig.

The following are a list of some of the animal bearing terms describing various components of a rig and drilling activity:

  • Wildcat – A well drilled where no oil and gas production currently exists. 
  • Monkeyboard – This is the platform about half way up the derrick, or mast, where a derrickhand works to guide pipe in and out of the drilling hole during the process of tripping pipe.  The process of tripping involves removing the drill string from the hole, which usually is done because the drill bit has dulled and needs to be changed.  Once the bit has been replaced, the derrickhand helps to guide the drill string and new bit back into the hole.
  • Doghouse – On a drilling rig, this is the structure located beside the rig floor that houses the computer equipment to monitor and record drilling activity.  The doghouse is also where drilling crew members meet for safety meetings.  On a service rig, the structure is near the rig but not directly next to the rig floor.
  • Mousehole –  This is a hole located under a drilling rig floor and is drilled to the side of a wellbore to hold the next segment of pipe the drilling crew will add to the drill string.  When the joint of pipe is added to the drill string, another section of pipe is readied and slipped into the mousehole to await its turn.
  • Rathole – This is the hole in the rig floor that acts as the storage place for the kelly when it isn’t in use.  A kelly is the first joint of the drill string used in conventional rotary drilling rigs, and fits into the rotary table and helps to rotate the drill string and bit downhole.

Are there others terms you would like to find the definition for?  Check out Schlumberger’s The Oilfield Glossary or the Rig Tech site provided by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) for more lingo in the oilpatch!

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