round trip | Energy Glossary

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round trip

1. n. [Drilling]

The complete operation of removing the drillstring from the wellbore and running it back in the hole. This operation is typically undertaken when the bit becomes dull or broken, and no longer drills the rock efficiently. After some preliminary preparations for the trip, the rig crew removes the drillstring 90 ft [27 m] at a time, by unscrewing every third drillpipe or drill collar connection. When the three joints are unscrewed from the rest of the drillstring, they are carefully stored upright in the derrick by the fingerboards at the top and careful placement on wooden planks on the rig floor. After the drillstring has been removed from the wellbore, the dull bit is unscrewed with the use of a bit breaker and quickly examined to determine why the bit dulled or failed. Depending on the failure mechanism, the crew might choose a different type of bit for the next section. If the bearings on the prior bit failed, but the cutting structures are still sharp and intact, the crew may opt for a faster drilling (less durable) cutting structure. Conversely, if the bit teeth are worn out but the bearings are still sealed and functioning, the crew should choose a bit with more durable (and less aggressive) cutting structures. Once the bit is chosen, it is screwed onto the bottom of the drill collars with the help of the bit breaker, the drill collars are run into the hole (RIH), and the drillpipe is run in the hole. Once on bottom, drilling commences again. The duration of this operation depends on the total depth of the well and the skill of the rig crew. A general estimate for a competent crew is that the round trip requires one hour per thousand feet of hole, plus an hour or two for handling collars and bits. At that rate, a round trip in a ten thousand-foot well might take twelve hours. A round trip for a 30,000-ft [9230 m] well might take 32 or more hours, especially if intermediate hole-cleaning operations must be undertaken.

Alternate Form: trip

See: bit breakerbreak circulationderrickderrickmanfingerboardrun in holetripping pipewiper trip