A Newcomer's Guide to Oil and Gas

A Newcomer's Guide to Oil and Gas
Presenting a new addition to Rigzone's content lineup!

As the above title suggests, this column is for those of you who have recently joined or are about to join the oil and gas industry. However, it's also for those of you who have "paid your dues" and become proficient in any number of areas throughout the value chain.

Rigzone is an online resource for the entire oil and gas industry, and we want to strengthen ties among the millions of you who represent various generations. This new addition to Rigzone's content lineup, which will address simple questions that an industry newcomer might ask, reflects that goal. It may at times take a lighthearted approach, and it isn't meant to be an exhaustive technical resource, but we nevertheless hope that you will see this forum's value in making oil and gas institutional knowledge accessible to a broad spectrum of people within the industry.

To make this thing work, we need you. If you're a "newbie" to the industry, please send simple technical questions to the address below. The same goes for those of you with more experience. Also, questions related to any aspect of the oil and gas industry – exploration and production, refining, petrochemicals, and more – are welcome and encouraged.

So, without further ado, here's our first installment of questions that an oil and gas newcomer might ask along with answers.

Do you have the key to the vee-door?

The short answer is: "No, and no one does." Why? Because the vee-door has neither a doorknob nor a lock. In fact, it's not even a door. As Schlumberger's extensive Oilfield Glossary points out, the vee-door is actually an opening on a mast-type drilling rig through which pipes and tools can be transported to the rig's derrick. If someone asks you for the key to the vee-door, a co-worker with more oil and gas experience than you is joking with you, a self-described "grumpy fat guy from Houston" who is an engineer and wishes to remain anonymous told me.

What is a wahoo, or "Geronimo," line?

Resembling a zipline, a wahoo/"Geronimo" line is a steel cable that provides an escape route from a rig derrick in the event of an emergency. Rig personnel using the cable, also known by the less colorful term "escape line," grab onto a handle and hook their safety belts onto the line before riding down away from the rig – perhaps yelling "Wahoo!", "Geronimo!" or other exclamations inappropriate for this column. This YouTube video shows a practice run on a wahoo/Geronimo/escape line that does not go entirely according to plan.

What is a fishing tool?

When equipment falls down a wellbore, rig personnel try to recover it using mechanical devices called fishing tools.

"The equipment lost downhole is the 'fish," explained Melissa Duggan Herring, senior vice president for operations with Tulsa-based drilling structure and drilling rig component designer and manufacturer Lee C. Moore, a Woolslayer Company (LCM). "The driller, tool pusher or similar position is the 'fisherman' using a 'fishing tool' to catch the 'fish' and pull it out of the hole."

Drilling contractors in the United States typically rent fishing tools on an as-needed basis because domestic rental tool companies can typically respond on-site in a short amount of time, Herring continued. Internationally, drilling contractors usually own and inventory their own fishing tools to prevent long delays and downtime awaiting delivery of the devices to remote locations, she said.

WE NEED YOU! Please submit your simple, easily answerable oil and gas technical questions to Rigzone Senior Editor Matthew Veazey at mveazey@rigzone.com.


Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.