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The Job Of A Whipstock Hand In The Oilfield
Drilling Rig in West Texas
Today oil and gas drilling companies have the technology to re-enter old wells and drill out sideways, across the rock formation to release even greater quantities of oil or gas. To do so they must cut a "window" in the pipe or casing that lines the well bore.
A special wedge shaped device known as a whipstock is used to deflect a metal cutting drill bit and later a rock cutting bit to drill outward. Whipstocks are also used to drill out of casing to deflect a vertical well in in a different path than originally planned when problems occur. Specialized oilfield workers known as whipstock hands supervise this process.
To become a whipstock hand you must first learn all you can about oil well drilling and some of the basics of horizontal drilling. Horizontal drilling is a new technology that allows oil and gas companies to drill wells sideways across zones of oil and gas bearing rock. This technology has opened up new oil and gas frontiers as well as allowing for more production from older vertical oil wells after they are re-drilled horizontally. Before a vertical oil or gas well is drilled out horizontally often a wedge shaped device called a whipstock is deployed in the well and fixed into place.
After the wedge shaped whipstock is set at a certain depth, a diamond coated, metal cutting bit is "tripped into" the well and a "window" or hole in the oil or gas well's casing or protective pipe is cut
What A Whipstock Hand Does. Job Details
Specialized oilfield drillers called whipstock hands are in charge of both setting the wedge shaped deflection device and then drilling through the thick steel wall of the casing. Whipstock hands may make over $500 per day plus living expenses for their services, plus company vehicles and a base salary. To get a job as a whipstock hand one normally gains experience as a regular oil well driller or has worked for a while in a drilling related field.
Occasionally whipstock hand trainees are hired if
they have experience as "fishing tool" hands, who specialize in retrieving lost
objects from an oil or gas well, and even from fields such as well logging,
perforation and completion. What companies that hire whipstock hands look for is
downhole experience, or knowing how to work with specialized tools that are
often thousands of feet below the surface.
Since oil rigs can cost upwards of a thousand dollars per hour
to run you will be expected to achieve success every time when it comes to
setting a whipstock and drilling through casing. You will be working for a
"service company" who is hired by the hour by the oil company and you must be
able to deal with the pressure of demanding bosses who expect results. Persons
wanting to be whipstock hands must be good at math and problem solving since
there are all types of considerations in oil and gas drilling to contend with,
including high pressure, pipe stretch, drilling mud properties, torque, etc.