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M/U doubles on the lease and P/U direct to rig-floor (doubles rig)
28 March 2017
Hi folks

At two recent DWOPs (here in Indonesia) the topic of offline M/U of equipment arose. The rigs are both doubles rigs, Loadcraft 1000 HP series (made in the US).

In addition to the use of BHA rollers (, a suggestion was made that doubles of drill-pipe could be M/U on the lease and then picked up directly to the rotary and/or racked back.

In this day-and-age, every second counts ("marginal gains") towards the Perfect Well.  So, our question is:
  1. Is anyone aware of this being done?
  2. If so, where and how?
  3. What size/weight/grade of pipe?
  4. What lessons learnt and precautions are required?
  5. Are you able to share with us: photos, procedures
Many thanks


8 answer(s)
SPREAD Associates
Total Posts: 164
Join Date: 05/03/08
Hi Dave,

Further to Peters response, I've done the same thing on several projects in the 1980's - 2000's and - as he says - with trained, experienced crews, it could be done safely and efficiently.

However, after that period the HSE Depts of both the Operator and Rig Contractor began to raise so many objections (combined with an overall drop in crew experience/competence in actually handling pipe) I haven't even looked at doing it this way for a while.

On one project a few years ago, we did look at using a horizontal bucking machine on location (one from the NOV Torquemaster range).

From a practical standpoint, we didn't find any reason why it wouldn't be able to be done safely and efficiently with 5" G 19.5 lb/ft DP, although getting the made up double from the horizontal to racking it on a land rig with a small drill floor was tricky.

Our issue was economical, in that as we were such a remote location, the machine would have to be on rental the entire time and even with a spread rate of around $225k pd, the cost savings just weren't there at the time.

However, in some initial scoping work for a potential development program, we looked at having it set up at a central supply depot in field that could be used to service multiple rigs.

In that instance, it could be used not only to MU/BO DP, but also to service tools such as PDM's, MWD/LWD, Jars, Shock subs etc. rather than have them sent back for refurbishment elsewhere - thus greatly reducing the number of tools (and therefore rental cost) on hire at any one time.

It was certainly cost effective in this case and perhaps may be relevant in your situation, if the two Rigs are going to be working in the same vicinity for a while?

The DP doubles would have been transported on extendable trucks between locations and the stock point.

The road conditions weren't an issue (except during rainy season...), as the Rigs would have to move over the same roads, so the turning circle of the extended trucks was not a problem.

We did not get as far as looking at doing this with casing, though I have vague recollections that the additional length and doing it with non premium threaded casings were a concern.

All the best

Drilling Specialist/Well Engineer/Training Consultant
Kingdom Drilling
Total Posts: 502
Join Date: 10/01/05
Install a mouse hole. 
Design so a iron roughneck ( or a   one) can be on other side of this while drilling. 

Doubles are then safely effectively and efficiently made up and broken down from Derrick on a doubles rig. 

We were here doing this is the 80’s 90’s and cannot recall any injury or non injury events when crews are competent and properly trained / supervised. 

We have and used to do this. We then evolved same practices to bigger triple rigs both onshore and offshore. 
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 484
Join Date: 10/01/05
Dear all

I'd also like to re-open this discussion.  You'll need to read some of the previous answers (including Harold Miller, who says that some doubles of drill-pipe can be P/U off the lease, depending on size and grade, and that they designed some suitable catwalks for Saxon drilling).

Do we have any updates on this?

Is anyone M/U drillpipe in DOUBLES on the lease and picking up to vertical on a conventional drilling rig?  If so, what sizes and grades and what lessons/advice can you share? What equipment are you using?

What about casing?


Training/Project Manager
Myspread Users
Total Posts: 15
Join Date: 07/03/16

With reference to Sarah's reply, commenting on the Swift 10 bottom-supported Dutch drilling installation, I met one of their drilling teams during an 4 day WCEQ course at our Aberdeen training centre.  Their emphasis on rig automation is aggressive in an objective drive to reduce drill crew members.  As well as tubular handling automation in use, Swift utilize onshore facilities to inventorize, measure and inspect their drill strings.  Overall, this effectively reduces offshore activities with a reduced manning level required. View the Swift 10 U-tube movie.

Dr Paul.A.Potter/ Training Manager, SUBC Engineering Ltd.
Drilling Engineer
Total Posts: 2
Join Date: 02/04/15

I was involved early 2016 in discussions with regards to a fully automated drill rig based on an upgrade of the Swift10 jack up. 

At the time, Swift and Herrenknecht were working on the Swift 20 concept - a 450 t Herrenknecht Vertical with the capacity to run doubles of range 2 drill pipe.  An integrated bucking unit is located on the catwalk to make up the pipe horizontally. The pipe was handled by an automated horizontal to vertical pipe handling system.  As far as I am aware, this concept is currently mothballed due to the market conditions but the technology is sound.

Herrenknecht also provided 2 TI-350 rigs for onshore Brazil (Petrobras' Bahia 2009 - 2016).  The drill pipe is made up in doubles and then transports them from horizontal to the vertical well centre position.  The well diameters were from 17 1/2" to 8 1/2".

Consultant [retired Shell staff]
SPREAD Associates
Total Posts: 280
Join Date: 02/09/05
During my active days - admittedly some decades ago - making up threads horizontally could be a recipe for crossthreading.

Not only the tooljoints must have exactly the same wear but also the bucking machine should have to take into account the proper Rotary Shouldered Connections engagement.

I would lacrutinise this technique in light of the above two limitations.
Total Posts: 117
Join Date: 10/04/08
Dave, this sounds like a quick win so long as done efficiently and safely. I don't much highly specialist equipment is required, however, there are some simply and economical power tongs these days that could torque up the threads on the deck. These don't need to be super fast, just easy to use, but could save quite a bit of time when tripping in and out because connections can be made up away from the rig floor. This link is just one example
VP, Engineering
Automated Rig Technologies
Total Posts: 2
Join Date: 29/11/17
Hi Dave,

This is something we are really interested in and we have some experience.

We designed and built some double catwalks for Saxon Drilling. They were designed to screw two joints together. We looked at incorporating a tong for full makeup but did not go that far. We have done conceptual designs for double and triple catwalks.

The triple catwalks would handle double range 3. We have done calculations on the bending of the double range 3 casing stands when you try to pick them up with the elevators and in general it is not a safe practice for any casing under 10". We have determined that triple stands of some drill pipe can be picked up safely, it is a function of size and grade.

We have determined that pretty much any typical drill pipe can be safely picked up in doubles (WRT buckling). We have built a few variations of catwalks and worked on conceptual designs of others.

Please check us out on:


Note from moderator:  This is great!  Please also check out their Continuous Tripping Injector.   A potential game-changer!
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