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The Story of an Oil Well Drilled by the Rotary Method

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Table of contents 
  •  All from title cards: The Story of an Oil Well Drilled by the Rotary Method
  •  This picture was produced under the direction of The United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Mines; Humble Oil & Refining Co. Co-operating
  •  In the development of drilling methods in the United States two systems have been evolved, the cable tool and the ROTARY.
  •  The rotary system was first used in drilling for oil in 1897 in Texas, where, in certain fields, formations overlying the oil zone consist of unconsolidated sands and shales that cave when subjected to the vibrations of "churn" drilling tools.
  •  The drilling practises shown in this picture are typical of the Goose Creek oil field in Texas and do not necessarily apply to those used by operators in other fields.
  •  The first step in the drilling of an oil well, the location having been made, is the clearing of the site.
  •  [Beginning of moving images: Workers pulling down and burning trees]
  •  Before the clearing is completed the material for building the derrick arrives.
  •  Soon after the arrival of the rig builders the derrick takes form with unbelievable rapidity.
  •  [Time lapse images of derrick construction]
  •  Next to arrive on the location are the boilers, drilling machinery and other equipment.
  •  While one crew is rigging up the machinery in the derrick another is digging the slush pit.
  •  Still another crew is setting the boilers and making ready to furnish steam to the drilling machinery.
  •  Steam up...drilling crew on the job...everything tried out and found to be all we are ready to "make hole."
  •  The hole is started from the surface with an 18 inch FISHTAIL BIT.
  •  The bit is lowered through the ROTARY TABLE.
  •  The hollow fluted bar to which the bit is attached is called the "KELLY JOINT" or "GRIEF STEM."
  •  The rotary table revolves and imparts a rotary motion to the grief stem, drill pipe and bit by means of a "SPIDER."
  •  .....And a central DRIVE BUSHING.
  •  The bushing is so constructed that it permits the grief stem to slide down as the drill penetrates the strata below.
  •  Power from the engine is transmitted to the rotary table through the DRAW WORKS, where it is distributed to the rotary table and other power-driven parts of the rig.
  •  As the hole is deepened it is necessary to add joints of DRILL PIPE to the stem.
  •  The operation of the rotary bit resembles boring with an auger, except that mud-laden fluid (which has been prepared in the slush pit to start the hole) is pumped, under high pressure, downward through the drill pipe. This is done by SLUSH PUMPS.
  •  The mud-laden fluid is forced through an armored hose to a device designed to permit free turning of the grief stem without imparting similar motion to the hose. This device is known as the ROTARY SWIVEL.
  •  The mud-laden fluid is jetted out with great force through two small holes in the bit against the bottom of the hole and then returns outside the drill pipe to the surface, carrying with it the cuttings from the hole,
  •  [Animation of drill boring into the earth then releasing mud-laden fluid]
  •  The mud-fluid plasters and stabilizes the unlined walls of the hole.
  •  When the mud-laden fluid reaches the surface it is conducted through a SETTLING DITCH where the cuttings settle out before reaching the slush pit.
  •  And so the drilling continues until the surface deposits have been penetrated.
  •  [Animation showing drill stopping and pulling up before hitting sand and clay at 60 feet]
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Title:The Story of an Oil Well Drilled by the Rotary Method
Description:Produced film consisting of motion pictures interspersed with title cards narrating and explaining the process of drilling for oil using the rotary system. Title cards suggest that the film takes place in the Goose Creek oil field of Harris County, Texas. Black and white negative picture, no sound. Writing on leader reads: "Begin #1, 'Oil Well', Humble Oil." Camera shakiness during title cards and sprocket holes printed on film indicate that this film may be copied from an earlier print.
Country:United States
Date:circa 1965
CreatorThe United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Mines (Producer)
Source:Bailey (Bob) Studios Photographic Archive
Contributor:Humble Oil & Refining Co.
PublisherDolph Briscoe Center for American History
Rights:Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
Original Format:black-and-white film, 16mm