The first stage in the operation is to drive a large diameter pipe to a depth of approximately 100ft below ground level using a truck mounted pile-driver. This pipe (usually called casing or, in the case of the fi rst pipe installed, the conductor ) is installed to prevent the unconsolidated surface formations from collapsing whilst drilling deeper. Once this conductor, which typically has an outside diameter ( O.D. ) of 30” is in place the full sized drilling rig is brought onto the site and set up over the conductor, and preparations are made for the next stage of the operation.

Institute of Petroleum Engineering, Heriot-Watt University

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