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Drilling RigAn average of 419 rotary drilling rigs were operating in Canada in 1997, out of a total fleet of 509 rigs. Most rigs are owned by contractors who market their services to exploration and production companies. A few producers operate their own rigs. The cost of a well can range from $100,000 for a shallow well in Western Canada to $25 million for one offshore.

There are many different types of rigs, commonly known as singles, doubles or triples based on how many 9.5-metre lengths of pipe can be stacked on the derrick. The smallest are service rigs mounted on trucks, while the largest are installed on ships or offshore platforms. Some are specifically equipped for sour gas exploration, Arctic operations, slanted holes or horizontal drilling.

As a general rule, the bigger the rig, the deeper it can drill. Land-based rigs can be quickly assembled and taken apart in sections for moving between locations, although this may require up to 50 semi-trailers.

Petroleum Communication Foundation. Our Petroleum Challenge: Exploring Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, Sixth Edition. Calgary: Petroleum Communication Foundation, 1999. With permission from the Centre for Energy.



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