Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

What's Heavy Oil?
End Users
Heavyu Oil History
Heavy Oil People
Heavy Oil Links

Serif - Inspiring Creativity



Drilling for heavy oil involves many people, each with their area of expertise, using ever evolving technology to solve the many problems associated with producing heavy oil.

drillwest.jpg (19385 bytes)

Drawing courtesy of Westwind Design,


From the cable tool rigs of the pioneers, through the rotary rigs which dominated from the 1940's to the 1980's, to today's slant and directional drilling, the object is the same - get at that heavy oil, ~ 650 meters below.

It's hard work (they don't call them "roughnecks" for nothing). It's an evolving, exacting science.  It's an art - an experienced driller has a "feel" for what's happening hundreds of meters below.  For some, it's a way of life. With the rig running 24 hours a day, through summer's heat or winter's minus 40°, there's pride in making a good hole and bringing in a paying producer.

For an explanation of the different directions of drilling -click here

For an outline of some of the jobs on a drill site - click here

Illustrated explanation of Cable Tool drilling - the pioneer process - click here

Charlie Mills belongs in the Drillers' Hall of Fame

Article concerning stages in the drilling process

A list of artifacts which were at the Barr Colony Heritage Cultural Centre in 1999

See also,  Charlie Coulter bio. sketch, and an account of drilling in the 1950's by Grant King.

Crudey - a small driller 

They're Coming to Get Me!

There I was, trapped in a sand bed for 376 million years
when suddenly I heard it!  The sound of a drill bit
coming to rescue me.

Boy, when that drill bit poked through the shale above me, was I excited.  And they provided me with a nice steel casing, and even a pump which acted like an elevator to lift me to the surface.  It was hard to get all the sand off me, but they persisted.  And when I got to the surface - wow!  Bright lights, big cities - take me to your liters!