This paper was prepared for the 96th Annual AIME Meeting to be held in Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 19 through 23, 1967. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publication elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually granted upon requested to the Editor of the appropriate journal, provided agreement to give proper credit is made.

Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers Office. Such discussions may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.


This paper outlines the design objectives of current development programs toward semi and fully automated pipe handling systems and increased utilization of existing onshore skid mounted cementing units by incorporating into this unit additional functions of supplying the hydraulic source for pipe handling equipment and the capabilities of performing all mud mixing and conditioning.


As the cost of exploration and drilling of known reserves is rapidly increasing throughout the world, the need for new improved methods and a more highly mechanized approach to labor and time saving innovations becomes apparent. The equipment presently used in the drilling industry offers untold opportunities to improve machinery design in order to help offset these costs. While the evaluation of automation in this field has been historically slow, there are at present definite parameters of equipment design which may be nearer to justifying automatic machinery than ever before.

One of these areas where development work is presently underway involves potential labor and time saving methods of pipe handling. In this conjunction, investigation is underway for the development of the following tools:

  1. Universal Drill Pipe Tong

  2. Pipe Racking Systems

  3. Casing Stabbing System.

Further savings may be realized by incorporating the low pressure mud mixing system plus hydraulic power for pipe handling tools into skid mounted cementing units presently used on almost all offshore drilling rigs. This phase of design is already completed and remains to be proven through extended application.

As early as 1947 development was undertaken on semi-automatic power operated drilling machinery. This system performed all the routine functions of round tripping the pipe in the hole and was controlled remotely by manipulation of hydraulic and pneumatic valves.

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