The introduction of the top drive into the international drilling market constituted one of the industry’s major technological advances during the 1980’s. One disadvantage of the conventional top drive is the rig modifications necessary to support the torque generated, particularly on drilling units equipped with masts. In an effort to alleviate this disadvantage, an integrated drilling system (IDS) has been developed, utilising a torque tube in place of the normal fixed rails. The impact of introducing an overhead drilling system into an operating drilling unit has therefore been greatly reduced.

This paper will focus on the benefits of one such application in the northern North Sea. It will stress the technical and commercial benefits seen by the Operator and concentrate on the portability of the system, allowing one rental IDS to be utilised on more than one platform. By employing the IDS the Operator has been able to efficiently upgrade the platform rigs and drill extended reach wells which may not otherwise have been possible.

This paper will conclude that a rental overhead drilling system is a viable option to meet the changing demands of drilling programs in mature basins.

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