A Beginner’s Guide to Oil Drilling Equipment in the Oil & Gas Industry

The American oil and gas industry plays a huge role in our everyday lives and the national economy — and oil drilling equipment is behind it all. This industry employs 9.8 million Americans — a number that continues to grow — and makes up approximately 8% of the U.S. economy. And with global proven oil reserves growing by an impressive 27% over the last decade, the market for oil and gas shows no sign of slowing; there are now adequate reserves to allow global oil production for another 53.3 years.

The driving force behind this thriving industry is the oil drilling equipment used to extract crude oil and petroleum from the earth. But do you know all there is to know about oil drill rigs and tools?

The drill rigs used throughout the oil and gas industry today are highly complex structures made of many components. To get a glimpse at some of the more crucial components in these systems, here is an introductory outline of the most important pieces of oil drilling equipment used in today’s oil drill rig systems — along with some information about the types of oil drilling processes that utilize them.

Different Types of Oil Drilling Processes

The rig required for a job depends on the type of drilling that needs to be done. There are three main drilling processes that are commonly used, but the method used in the oil and gas industry is known as “deep drilling.”

Deep drilling means that the drilled hole is deeper than it is wide. This compares to micro-drilling, which drills holes smaller than .5mm, and trepanning, which is the exact opposite of deep drilling.

Operations that Utilize This Oil Drilling Process

Deep oil drilling methods are used in the industry for the following operations:

  • Exploration: Drilling is used to determine whether or not a prospective oil deposit is viable.
  • Appraisal: If the deposit contains oil or gas, production equipment is used to drill a well and appraise its potential for commercial use.
  • Production: The final step after determining viability is to drill a production well for full oil drill rigs.

Basic Oil Rig Parts

An oil drill rig is the primary tool used for both on-land and offshore drilling. While there may be some differences between onshore and offshore oil drilling tools, they also have many similarities. The following are the basic oil rig parts and components for both types:

  • Blowout preventer
  • Centrifuge
  • Drawworks
  • Drill bit
  • Drill mast/derrick
  • Drill pipe
  • Drill string
  • Kelly drive
  • Mud pump
  • Mud tank
  • Rotary table
  • Swivel
  • Top drive

Most Important Pieces of Oil Drill Equipment

While all oil rig parts are crucial to ensuring a smooth operation, we’re highlighting three because of their importance. These pieces of oil drilling equipment keep the industry pumping:


The drill mast, or derrick, of an oil drill rig is the tall, heavy tower that acts as a lifting device. Without this structure, there is no apparatus through which the drill string can be lifted. Because the drill string facilitates all other activity within the system, the mast plays an important role — even though it may look like it doesn’t do much.

Mud Pump

The mud pump, as its name implies, is a large, reciprocating pump that helps move and circulate the fluid — oil or petroleum — through the oil drill rig system. It dispenses fluid down to the drill string and then back up to the annulus under extremely high pressures.

Top Drive

The top drive is a motor suspended from the mast that is responsible for turning the drill string and facilitates the process of drilling a borehole into the ground. This is the component of the drill rig that moves up and down the mast and is an ideal alternative to a rotary table because it allows for drilling longer sections of pipe.

Keep the Industry Strong with Oil Drilling Equipment from Dragon

While this guide is not exhaustive, it exemplifies the importance of oil drill rigs to production in the oil and gas industry. Want to know even more about oil drilling equipment? Feel free to contact Dragon or ask us anything by leaving a comment below the article. If your application requires an oil drill rig or tools for production, you can find what you need at Dragon Products.

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