How an Oil Rig Top Drive Works

How an Oil Rig Top Drive Works

The top drive is used to rotate the drill string, and it is an integral part of the drilling process. Before understanding how an oil rig top drive works, you will need to clarify the purpose of an oil rig. Then, you will know how the use of a top drive makes for greater progress, timeliness, and efficiency when drilling.

Oil Rig Function

The purpose of an oil rig is to drill into the ocean floor. The drilling may be for exploration purposes, extracting and storing resources, or processing natural gases and petroleum found in rock formations on the ocean floor. These large structures often have living accommodations that allow workers to remain on the oil rig when necessary.

The Top Drive

A top drive is also known as a well drilling apparatus. As stated earlier, its invention changed the way we drilled into the oceanic floor, as it made deeper drilling possible in the same amount of time. It moves vertically up and down the derrick and is located below the traveling block, at the swivel place. Top drives are often automated, removing the risk of human error or injury.


This mechanical device supplies torque clockwise and is useful for drilling. Compared to the kelly method or rotary table type rigs that can only drill in thirty-foot sections, a top drive permits a rig to drill much longer sections with cleaner boreholes and safer practices. A top drive can drill between sixty and ninety-foot stands of drill pipe at a time.

Oil rig top drives offer the ability to drill with three joint stands. For custom builds or repairs on industrial drive shafts, turn to DriveShafts of Tulsa to keep your top drives running at full power and precision.

Once you know how an oil rig top drive works, it will be clear why it’s the most efficient option when drilling. Machinery that saves time and money and allows for safety practices is incredibly valuable when well maintained. If any industrial driveshaft issues occur, DriveShafts of Tulsa can help!