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Offshore Drilling Rig

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From an operational point of view, offshore drilling may be subdivided into two main categories, depending on the water depth.

  • Bottom supported drilling rigs
    • The safety equipment, i.e. ordinary Blow-Out Preventers (BOPs) located permanently above sea level and accessible from the supporting structure;
    • drilling operations are identical to those carried out in onshore drilling.
  • Floating drilling rigs
    • The wellhead and the subsea BOPs are placed on the seabed, and are not therefore directly accessible from the supporting structure.
    • Drilling operations differ from onshore ones, as the rig floats, subjected to the action of the wind, currents and waves, which cause it to make small horizontal and vertical movements.
    • The use of floating rigs is necessary for exploratory drilling in water depths of more than 100 m (this refers solely to exploratory drilling operations, and not to the subsequent development drilling).