slips | Energy Glossary

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1. n. [Drilling]

A device used to grip the drillstring in a relatively nondamaging manner and suspend it in the rotary table. This device consists of three or more steel wedges that are hinged together, forming a near circle around the drillpipe. On the drillpipe side (inside surface), the slips are fitted with replaceable, hardened tool steel teeth that embed slightly into the side of the pipe. The outsides of the slips are tapered to match the taper of the rotary table. After the rig crew places the slips around the drillpipe and in the rotary, the driller slowly lowers the drillstring. As the teeth on the inside of the slips grip the pipe, the slips are pulled down. This downward force pulls the outer wedges down, providing a compressive force inward on the drillpipe and effectively locking everything together. Then the rig crew can unscrew the upper portion of the drillstring (kelly, saver sub, a joint or stand of pipe) while the lower part is suspended. After some other component is screwed onto the lower part of the drillstring, the driller raises the drillstring to unlock the gripping action of the slips, and the rig crew removes the slips from the rotary.

See: kellymake a connectionrotary tablesaver subspinning chainstand

Photograph of slips.

2. n. [Drilling]

Any self-gripping toothed device functioning substantially as above, but gripping components other than drillstring, such as wireline, metal sinker bars, or drill collars.

See: drill collarsinker bar