Touring a Drilling Rig

While touring the Jonah Field in Pinedale, Wyo. with Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., we had the opportunity to tour a working drilling rig. You can read more about my trip to the Jonah Field in my first post.

Drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

Above is Rig 129 on the Jonah Field. Each drilling rig in the United States has a unique, assigned number. I was interested to learn that the rig runs directly off of the natural gas from a nearby producing well. The use of natural gas reduces air emissions by a whopping 50% when compared to using diesel fuel.

Drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

Here we all are, dressed to the nine’s in our FRCs and PPEs (fire retardant clothing and personal protection equipment). Robert Samples, the drilling supervisor, spoke to us about the particulars, science and safety behind drilling for oil and gas.

It takes approximately 15 days or less to drill each well. Encana and other energy companies often employ directional drilling, which allows one rig to access multiple gas reservoirs from one drilling location. This greatly reduces the environmental footprint. Oil and gas companies such as Encana are constantly discovering and implementing new and better technologies that reduce environmental impact and increase worker safety. What’s better for the environment and for energy workers, is better for the companies’ sustainability.

Drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

Now we’re headed into the control room on the oil and gas drilling rig.

Control room on drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

The control room looks a lot like how I imagine the inside of a space shuttle would appear. The rigs are automated with Iron Roughnecks and Iron Derrickmen, which reduces manual handling of pipe and increases safety for Encana workers.

Control room on drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

This system carefully monitors many variables while the drill operates. It shows depth, drilling speed, pressure and more. The control room operator has a lot to monitor!

Drilling rig #129 in the Jonah Field near Pinedale Wyoming, operated by Encana Oil and Gas to produce natural gas for American Energy supplies.

Typical drilling locations impact only five acres of land and support multiple wells from the same site. The tour guides also reported that a rig in Colorado was able to serve 52 wells from the same pad. Now that’s progress!

From RealPartner Liz Lauck – Wyoming Stock Growers Association

If you are a Wyomingite involved with the energy industry, we want to share your stories! Contact liz@wysga.org or 307-638-3942 to learn more.

2 thoughts on “Touring a Drilling Rig

  1. Nice post Liz. It’s amazing what private enterprise will do without government intervention to improve worker safety, working conditions, and efficiency when they are allowed to pursue a profit. With fuel prices rising at the pump, it’s nice to know that Encana is doing it’s part to find domestic sources and then make the most of those resources!

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