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

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 in the national economy. 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 proved oil reserves growing by an amazing 27% over the last decade, the market for oil and gas is showing 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 these rigs?

The drill rigs in use throughout the oil and gas industry today are highly-complex structures made of many components. But 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 drilling rig systems:


The mast, or derrick, of a drilling rig is the tall 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 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 can allow for drilling longer sections of drill pipe.

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