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Title:
HIGH TRIP RATE DRILLING RIG
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/087595
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosed embodiments provide a drilling rig having a tubular delivery arm that vertically translates the mast in a non-conflicting path with a retractable top drive. The retractable top drive translates a well center path and a rearward retracted path. The tubular delivery arm is operable to deliver tubular stands between a catwalk, stand hand-off, mousehole, and well center positions. An upper racking mechanism moves tubular stands between a racked position of the racking module and a stand hand-off position between the mast and racking module. A lower racking mechanism controls the movement of the lower end of the tubular stand being moved coincident to the movements of the upper racking mechanism. An upper support constraint stabilizes tubular stands at the stand hand-off position. A lower stabilizing arm guides the lower end of tubular stands between the catwalk, stand hand-off, mousehole, and well center positions.

Inventors:
ORR ALLAN (US)
TREVITHICK MARK W (US)
BERRY JOE RODNEY (US)
METZ ROBERT (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2016/062402
Publication Date:
May 26, 2017
Filing Date:
November 17, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORP (US)
SCHLUMBERGER CA LTD (CA)
SERVICES PETROLIERS SCHLUMBERGER (FR)
SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY BV (NL)
International Classes:
E21B15/00; E21B7/20; E21B19/08
Foreign References:
US20130112395A12013-05-09
US4421179A1983-12-20
US20040069532A12004-04-15
US20090274545A12009-11-05
US20110174483A12011-07-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENE, Rachel et al. (IP Administration Center of ExcellenceRoom 472, Houston Texas, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A drilling rig [1] comprising:

a top drive assembly [200] vertically translatable along a mast [10] of the drilling rig

[i];

a tubular delivery arm [500] vertically translatable along the mast [10]; and, the tubular delivery arm [500] having a tubular clasp [550] that is movable between a well center position [30] over a well center and a second position [50] forward of the well center position.

2. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the top drive assembly and tubular delivery arm having non-conflicting vertical paths.

3. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a mousehole position forward of the well center position.

4. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a stand hand-off position forward of the well center position.

5. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a catwalk position forward of the well center position.

6. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the top drive assembly being vertically translatable along a first path over the well center and along a second path rearward to a drawworks side of well center.

7. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the top drive assembly being horizontally movable between the well center position over the well center and a retracted position rearward to a drawworks side of the well center position.

8. The drilling rig of Claim 7, the top drive assembly further comprising:

a dolly translatably connected to the mast;

a travelling block assembly;

a top drive suspended from the travelling block assembly;

a yoke pivotally connecting the travelling block to the dolly; an extendable actuator connected between the dolly and the yoke;

a torque tube rigidly connected to the travelling block;

the torque tube connected to the top drive in vertically slidable relation;

wherein extension of the actuator pivots the first yoke to extend the travelling block and top drive away from the dolly to a position over a well center; and,

wherein retraction of the actuator pivots the first yoke to retract the travelling block towards the dolly to a position away from the well center.

9. The drilling rig of Claim 8, further comprising:

wherein torque reactions of a drill string responding to rotation by the top drive are transferred from the top drive to the torque tube, from the torque tube to the travelling block, from the travelling block to the dolly, and from the dolly to the mast.

10. The drilling rig of Claim 1 , the tubular delivery arm further comprising:

a dolly translatably connected to the mast;

an arm rotatably and pivotally connected to the dolly at its upper end; and, the tubular clasp pivotally connected to the arm at its lower end.

1 1. The drilling rig of Claim 10, further comprising:

an inclination actuator pivotally connected between the arm and the clasp.

12. The drilling rig of Claim 1 , further comprising:

a racking module connected to the drilling rig mast, the racking module comprising: a frame;

a fingerboard assembly connected to the frame having columns receivable of tubular stands, the columns oriented in a direction towards the mast;

a fingerboard alleyway connecting the columns on a mast side of the columns; and, an upper racking mechanism comprising:

a bridge translatably connected to the frame in translatable relation;

an arm connected to the bridge in rotatable and translatable relation; and, a gripper connected to the arm in vertically translatable relation.

13. The drilling rig of Claim 12, further comprising:

a setback platform module comprising:

a platform positioned beneath the fingerboard assembly;

a platform alleyway beneath the fingerboard alleyway of the racking module; a lower racking mechanism comprising:

a base connected to the alleyway in translatable relation;

a frame connected to the base in rotatable and pivotal relation;

an arm pivotally connected to the frame; and,

a clasp pivotally connected to the arm.

14. The drilling rig of Claim 13, further comprising:

a stand hand-off position located on a mast side of the platform and extending vertically upwards.

15. A method of moving tubular stands [80] from a racked position on a setback platform

[900] and in a racking module [300] to a drill string [90] at the drill floor [6] of a drilling rig [1], comprising the steps of:

clasping a lower portion of a tubular stand [80] resting on the setback platform [900] with a lower racking mechanism [950] ;

hoisting the tubular stand [80] with an upper racking mechanism [350] on a racking module [300] connected to a mast [10] of the drilling rig [1] ;

moving the tubular stand [80] towards a stand hand-off position [50] with the upper racking mechanism [350] ;

moving the clasped lower end of the tubular stand [80] with the lower racking mechanism [950] along a path coincident to movement of the tubular stand [80] by the upper racking mechanism [350] ;

positioning the tubular stand [80] above a stand hand-off position [50] located on the setback platform[900];

lowering the tubular stand [80] to rest at the stand hand-off position [50] ;

engaging an upper portion of the tubular stand [80] with an upper stand constraint [420]; disengaging the upper racking mechanism [350] and the lower racking mechanism

[950] from the tubular stand [80] ;

engaging the upper portion of the tubular stand [80] with a vertically translatable tubular delivery arm [500] ;

disengaging the tubular stand [80] from the upper stand constraint [420] and lower stand constraint [440] ;

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand [80] with a lower stabilizing arm [800] ; hoisting the stand [80] with the tubular delivery arm [500] ; and, stabbing the tubular stand [80] into a drill string end extending above a rotary table [810] on the drill floor [6] .

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand with a lower stabilizing arm at the stand hand-off position.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand with a lower stand constraint at the stand hand-off position.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

engaging the tubular stand with a tubular connection torquing device located above the drill floor;

disengaging the lower stabilizing arm from the tubular stand;

coupling the stand to the drill string in the rotary table;

lowering the position of engagement of the delivery arm on the stand;

engaging the upper portion of the stand with an elevator of a top drive;

disengaging the delivery arm from the stand;

hoisting the stand and connected drill string with the top drive assembly to release the drill string from its support at the drill floor; and,

lowering the stand and connected drill string into the wellbore with the top drive.

19. The method of claim 15, further comprising:

clasping the tubular stand with an upper stand constaint when the tubular stand is at the stand hand-off position; and,

unclasping the tubular stand from the upper stand constraint when the tubular stand has been clasped by the tubular delivery arm.

20. A method of moving tubular stands [80] from a racked position to a drill string [90] at the drill floor [6] of a drilling rig [1] , comprising the steps of:

transporting a tubular stand [80] from a racked position in a fingerboard [310] to a stand hand-off position [50] with an upper racking mechanism [350] on a racking module

[300] connected to a mast [10] of the drilling rig [1] ;

setting the tubular stand [80] down at the stand hand-off position [50] ; transporting a tubular stand [80]from the stand hand-off position [50] to a well center position [30] with a tubular delivery arm [500] translatably connected to the drilling mast [10];

stabbing the tubular stand [80] into a stump of a drill string [90] at the well center [30]; connecting the tubular stand [80] to the drill string [90] ; and,

lowering the drill string [90] with a top drive assembly [200] translatably connected to the drilling mast [10] .

21. A drilling rig [ 1 ] , comprising:

a substructure [2] comprising a pair of base boxes;

a drill floor [6] above the substructure [2] ;

a setback platform [900] below and forward of the drill floor [6] ;

a mast [10] extending vertically above the drill floor [6];

a top drive assembly [200] vertically translatable along the mast [10] ;

a tubular delivery arm [500] vertically translatable along the mast [10] ;

the tubular delivery arm [500] having a tubular clasp [550] movable between a well center position [30] over a well center and a stand hand-off position [50] forward of the well center position [30];

the top drive assembly [200] being vertically translatable along a first path over the well center and along a second path rearward of the first path;

a racking module [300] extending outward of the mast [10] above the set-back platform

[900] ;

a stand hand-off position [50] located on the setback platform [900], and extending vertically upwards substantially between the mast [10] and the racking module [300] ; and,

an upper stand constraint [420] connected beneath the racking module [300] and extendable rearward towards the mast [10] .

22. The drilling rig of claim 21, further comprising:

an intermediate stand constraint having a frame connected to the drilling rig at an edge of the V-door side of the drill floor;

a carriage connected to the frame in extendable relationship;

a carriage actuator connected between the frame and the carriage, and operable to extend or retract the carriage outward from the frame;

a tubular clasp attached to the extendable end of the carriage; clasp actuator connected to the tubular clasp, and operable to open or close the tubular clasp around a tubular stand;

tubular gripper attached to the extendable end of the carriage; and

gripper actuator connected to the tubular gripper, and operable to open or close the tubular gripper around a tubular stand.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 02 May 2017 (02.05.2017).

1. A drilling rig [ 1] comprising:

a top drive assembly [200] vertically translatable along a mast [10] of the drilling rig [1]; a racking module [300] connected to a front side [ 12] of the mast;

a tubular delivery arm [500] vertically translatable along the front side of the mast [ 10] ; and

the tubular delivery arm [500] having a tubular clasp [550] that is movable between a well center position [30] over a well center and a second position [50] forward of the well center position.

2. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the top drive assembly and tubular delivery arm having non-conflicting vertical paths.

3. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a mousehole position forward of the well center position.

4. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a stand hand-off position forward of the well center position.

5. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular clasp of the tubular delivery arm movable between the well center position and a catwalk position forward of the well center position.

6. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the top drive assembly having a top drive [240] vertically translatable along a first path over the well center and along a second path rearward to a drawworks side of well center.

7. The drilling rig of Claim 6, further comprising:

the top drive assembly having a top drive horizontally movable between the well center position for the vertical translation along the first path over the well center, and a retracted position for the vertical translation along the second path rearward of the well center position.

8. The drilling rig of Claim 7, the top drive assembly further comprising:

a top drive dolly translatably connected to the mast;

a travelling block assembly;

a top drive suspended from the travelling block assembly;

a yoke pivotally connecting the travelling block to the top drive dolly;

an extendable actuator connected between the top drive dolly and the yoke;

a torque tube rigidly connected to the travelling block;

the torque tube connected to the top drive in vertically slidable relation;

wherein extension of the actuator pivots the yoke to extend the travelling block and top drive away from the dolly to a position over a well center; and

wherein retraction of the actuator pivots the yoke to retract the travelling block towards the dolly to a position away from the well center.

9. The drilling rig of Claim 8, further comprising:

wherein torque reactions of a drill string responding to rotation by the top drive are

transferred from the top drive to the torque tube, from the torque tube to the travelling block, from the travelling block to the dolly, and from the dolly to the mast.

10. The drilling rig of Claim 1, the tubular delivery arm further comprising:

a dolly translatably connected to the mast;

an arm member rotatably and pivotally connected to the dolly at its upper end; and the tubular clasp pivotally connected to the arm member at its lower end.

11. The drilling rig of Claim 10, further comprising:

an inclination actuator pivotally connected between the arm member and the clasp.

12. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the racking module comprising: a frame;

a fingerboard assembly connected to the frame having columns receivable of tubular stands, the columns oriented in a direction towards the mast; a fingerboard alleyway connecting the columns on a mast side of the columns; and an upper racking mechanism comprising: a bridge translatably connected to the frame in translatable relation;

an arm connected to the bridge in rotatable and translatable relation; and a gripper connected to the arm in vertically translatable relation.

13. The drilling rig of Claim 12, further comprising:

a setback platform module comprising: a platform positioned beneath the fingerboard assembly;

a platform alleyway beneath the fingerboard alleyway of the racking module;

a lower racking mechanism comprising: a base connected to the alleyway in translatable relation;

a frame connected to the base in rotatable and pivotal relation;

an arm pivotally connected to the frame; and

a clasp pivotally connected to the arm.

14. The drilling rig of Claim 13, further comprising:

a stand hand-off position located on a mast side of the platform and extending vertically upwards.

15. The drilling rig of Claim 1, further comprising:

the tubular delivery arm being translatable above the elevation of the top drive;

16. The drilling rig of Claim 1 or Claim 15, further comprising:

the tubular delivery arm being translatable on the front side of the mast above and below the racking module.

17. A method of moving tubular stands [80] from a racked position on a setback platform

[900] and in a racking module [300] to a drill string [90] at the drill floor [6] of a drilling rig [1], comprising the steps of:

clasping a lower portion of a tubular stand [80] resting on the setback platform [900] with a lower racking mechanism [950];

hoisting the tubular stand [80] with an upper racking mechanism [350] on a racking module [300] connected to a mast [10] of the drilling rig [ 1];

moving the tubular stand [80] towards a stand hand-off position [50] with the upper racking mechanism [350]; moving the clasped lower end of the tubular stand [80] with the lower racking mechanism

[950] along a path coincident to movement of the tubular stand [80] by the upper racking mechanism [350]; positioning the tubular stand [80] above a stand hand-off position [50] located on the setback platform [900]; lowering the tubular stand [80] to rest at the stand hand-off position [50] ;

engaging an upper portion of the tubular stand [80] with an upper stand constraint [420]; disengaging the upper racking mechanism [350] and the lower racking mechanism [950] from the tubular stand [80];

engaging the upper portion of the tubular stand [80] with a vertically translatable tubular delivery arm [500];

disengaging the tubular stand [80] from the upper stand constraint [420] and lower stand constraint [440] ;

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand [80] with a lower stabilizing arm [800]; hoisting the stand [80] with the tubular delivery arm [500] ; and

stabbing the tubular stand [80] into a drill string end extending above a rotary table [810] on the drill floor [6] .

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising:

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand with a lower stabilizing arm at the stand hand-off position.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising:

engaging a lower portion of the tubular stand with a lower stand constraint at the stand hand-off position.

20. The method of claim 17, further comprising:

engaging the tubular stand with a tubular connection torqueing device located above the drill floor;

disengaging the lower stabilizing arm from the tubular stand;

coupling the stand to the drill string in the rotary table;

lowering the position of engagement of the delivery arm on the stand;

engaging the upper portion of the stand with an elevator of a top drive;

disengaging the delivery arm from the stand; hoisting the stand and connected drill string with the top drive assembly to release the drill string from its support at the drill floor; and lowering the stand and connected drill string into the wellbore with the top drive.

21. The method of claim 17, further comprising:

clasping the tubular stand with an upper stand constraint when the tubular stand is at the stand hand-off position; and

unclasping the tubular stand from the upper stand constraint when the tubular stand has been clasped by the tubular delivery arm.

22. A method of moving tubular stands [80] from a racked position to a drill string [90] at the drill floor [6] of a drilling rig [1], comprising the steps of:

transporting a tubular stand [80] from a racked position in a fingerboard [310] to a stand hand-off position [50] with an upper racking mechanism [350] on a racking module [300] connected to a front side [12] of a mast [10] of the drilling rig [1]; setting the tubular stand [80] down at the stand hand-off position [50];

handing off the tubular stand in the stand hand-off position between the upper racking mechanism and a tubular delivery arm [500] translatably connected to the front side of the mast [10];

transporting the tubular stand [80] from the stand hand-off position [50] to a well center position [30] with the tubular delivery arm [500];

stabbing the tubular stand [80] into a stump of a drill string [90] at the well center [30]; connecting the tubular stand [80] to the drill string [90]; and

lowering the drill string [90] with a top drive assembly [200] translatably connected to the drilling mast [10].

23. A drilling rig [1], comprising:

a substructure [2] comprising a pair of base boxes;

a drill floor [6] above the substructure [2] ;

a setback platform [900] below and forward of the drill floor [6];

a mast [10] extending vertically above the drill floor [6];

a top drive assembly [200] vertically translatable along the mast [10];

a tubular delivery arm [500] vertically translatable along the mast [10];

the tubular delivery arm [500] having a tubular clasp [550] movable between a well center position [30] over a well center and a stand hand-off position [50] forward of the well center position [30]; the top drive assembly [200] being vertically translatable along a first path over the well center and along a second path rearward of the first path;

a racking module [300] extending outward of the mast [ 10] above the set-back platform

[900];

a stand hand-off position [50] located on the setback platform [900], and extending vertically upwards substantially between the mast [ 10] and the racking module [300]; and

an upper stand constraint [420] connected beneath the racking module [300] and extendable rearward towards the mast [ 10] .

24. The drilling rig of claim 23, further comprising:

an intermediate stand constraint having a frame connected to the drilling rig at an edge of the V-door side of the drill floor; a carriage connected to the frame in extendable relationship;

a carriage actuator connected between the frame and the carriage, and operable to extend or retract the carriage outward from the frame;

a tubular clasp attached to the extendable end of the carriage;

a clasp actuator connected to the tubular clasp, and operable to open or close the tubular clasp around a tubular stand;

a tubular gripper attached to the extendable end of the carriage; and

a gripper actuator connected to the tubular gripper, and operable to open or close the tubular gripper around a tubular stand.

Description:
HIGH TRIP RATE DRILLING RIG

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[001] The present document is based on and claims priority to United States Provisional Application Serial Number 62/330,244, filed May 1 , 2016 and to United States Provisional Application Serial Number 62/256,586, filed at 17 Nov 2015. Both applications are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[002] In the exploration of oil, gas and geothermal energy, drilling operations are used to create boreholes, or wells, in the earth. Conventional drilling involves having a drill bit on the bottom of the well. A bottom-hole assembly is located immediately above the drill bit where directional sensors and communications equipment, batteries, mud motors, and stabilizing equipment are provided to help guide the drill bit to the desired subterranean target.

[003] A set of drill collars are located above the bottom-hole assembly to provide a non- collapsible source of weight to help the drill bit crush the formation. Heavy weight drill pipe is located immediately above the drill collars for safety. The remainder of the drill string is mostly drill pipe, designed to operate under tension. A conventional drill pipe section is about 30 feet long, but lengths vary based on style. It is common to store lengths of drill pipe in "doubles" (2 connected lengths) or "triples" (3 connected lengths). When the drill string (drill pipe, drill collars and other components) are removed from the wellbore to change-out the worn drill bit, the drill pipe and drill collars are set back in doubles or triples until the drill bit is retrieved and exchanged. This process of pulling everything out of the hole and running it all back in is known as "tripping."

[004] Tripping is non-drilling time and, therefore, an expense. Efforts have long been made to devise ways to avoid it or at least speed it up. Running triples is faster than running doubles because it reduces the number of threaded connections to be disconnected and then reconnected. Triples are longer and therefore more difficult to handle due to their length and weight and the natural waveforms that occur when moving them around. Manually handling moving pipe can be dangerous.

[005] It is desirable to have a drilling rig with the capability to reduce the trip time. One option is to operate a pair of opposing masts, each equipped with a fully operational top drive that sequentially swings over the wellbore. In this manner, tripping can be nearly continuous, pausing only to spin connections together or apart. Problems with this drilling rig configuration include at least costs of equipment, operation and transportation.

[006] Tripping is a notoriously dangerous activity. Conventional drilling practice requires locating a derrickman high up on the racking module platform, where he is at risk of a serious fall and other injuries common to manually manipulating the heavy pipe stands when racking and unracking the pipe stands when tripping. Personnel on the drill floor are also at risk, trying to manage the vibrating tail of the pipe stand, often covered in mud and grease of a slippery drill floor in inclement weather. In addition, the faster desired trip rates increase risks.

[007] It is desirable to have a drilling rig with the capability to reduce trip time and connection time. It is also desirable to have a system that includes redundancies, such that if a component of the system fails or requires servicing, the task performed by that component can be taken-up by another component on the drilling rig. It is also desirable to have a drilling rig that has these features and remains highly transportable between drilling locations.

SUMMARY

[008] A drilling rig system is disclosed for obtaining high trip rates, particularly on land based, transportable drilling rigs. The drilling rig minimizes non-productive time by separating the transport of tubular stands in and out of their setback position into a first function and delivery of a tubular stand to well center as a second function. The functions intersect at a stand hand-off position, where tubular stands are set down for exchange between tubular handling equipment. The various embodiments of the new drilling rig system may include one or more of the following components:

1) Retractable Top Drive

2) Tubular Delivery Arm

3) Racking Module

4) Upper Racking Mechanism

5) Setback Platform

6) Lower Racking Mechanism

7) Stand Hand-off Position

8) Stand Hand-off Station

9) Lower Stabilizing Arm 10) Upper Stand Constraint

1 1) Intermediate Stand Constraint

12) Lower Stand Constraint

[009] The various embodiments of the new drilling rig system include novel methods for stand building and tripping in and tripping out.

[010] It is understood that certain of the above listed components may be omitted, or are optional or may be replaced with similar devices that may otherwise accomplish the designed purpose. These replacements or omissions may be done without departing from the spirit and teachings of the present disclosure.

[011] A conventional drilling mast has a mast front or V-door side and an opposite mast rear or drawworks side. Perpendicular to these sides are the driller's side and opposite off- driller's side. In one embodiment, a retractable top drive vertically translates the drilling mast. The retractable top drive travels vertically along either of, or between, two vertical centerlines; the well centerline and a retracted centerline.

[012] A tubular delivery arm travels vertically along the structure of the same drilling mast, with lifting capability less than that of the retractable top drive, and limited generally to that of a tubular stand of drill pipe or drill collars. The tubular delivery arm can move tubular stands vertically and horizontally in the drawworks to V-door direction, reaching positions that may include the centerline of the wellbore, a stand hand-off position, a mousehole, and a catwalk.

[013] The stand hand-off position is a designated setdown position for transferring the next tubular stand to go into the well, as handled between the tubular delivery arm and the rtractable top drive. The stand hand-off position is also the designated setdown position for transferring the next tubular stand to be racked, as handled between the tubular delivery arm and an upper racking mechanism. In one embodiment, the lower end of the stand hand-off position is located on a setback platform beneath the drill floor where a lower racking mechanism works with the upper racking mechanism.

[014] The upper racking mechanism can be provided to move tubular stands of drilling tubulars between any racking position within the racking module and the stand hand-off position, located between the mast and racking module.

[015] An upper stand constraint may be provided to clasp a tubular stand near its top to secure it in vertical orientation when at the stand hand-off position. The upper stand constraint may be mounted on the racking module. By securing an upper portion of a tubular stand at the stand hand-off position, the upper racking mechanism is free to progress towards the next tubular stand in the racking module. The tubular delivery arm can clasp the tubular stand above the upper stand constraint without interfering with the path of the upper racking mechanism. The tubular delivery arm lowers to clasp the tubular stand held by the upper stand constraint.

[016] A setback platform is provided beneath the racking module for supporting stored casing and tubular stands. The setback platform is near ground level. A lower racking mechanism may be provided to control movement of the lower ends of tubular stands and/or casing while being moved between the stand hand-off position and their racked position on the platform. Movements of the lower racking mechanism are controlled by movements of the upper racking mechanism to maintain the tubular stands in a vertical orientation.

[017] A lower stand constraint may be provided to guide ascending and descending tubular stands to and away from the stand hand-off position and to secure the tubular stands vertically when at the stand hand-off position. A stand hand-off station may be located at the stand hand- off position to provide automatic washing and doping of the pin connection. A grease dispenser may also be provided on the tubular delivery arm for automatic doping of the pin end of the tubular stands.

[018] An intermediate stand constraint may be provided and attached to the V-door side edge of the center section of the substructure of the drilling rig. The intermediate stand constraint may include a gripping assembly for gripping tubular stands to prevent their vertical movement while suspended over the mousehole to facilitate stand-building without the need for step positions in the mousehole assembly. The intermediate stand constraint may also have a clasp, and the ability to extend between the stand hand-off position and the mousehole.

[019] A lower stabilizing arm may be provided at the drill floor level for guiding the lower portion of casing, drilling tubulars, and stands of the drilling tubulars between the catwalk, mousehole, and stand hand-off and well center positions.

[020] An iron roughneck (tubular connection machine) may be provided such as mounted to a rail on the drilling floor or attached to the end of a drill floor manipulating arm to move between a retracted position, the well center and the mousehole. The iron roughneck can makeup and break-out tool joints over the well center and the mousehole. A second iron roughneck may be provided so as to dedicate a first iron roughneck to connecting and disconnecting tubulars over the mousehole, and the second iron roughneck can be dedicated to connecting and disconnecting tubulars over the well center. A casing tong may also be provided on a second drill floor manipulating arm for making-up and casing.

[021] With this system, a tubular stand can be disconnected and hoisted away from the drill string suspended in the wellbore while the retractable top drive is travelling downwards to grasp and lift the drill string for hoisting. Similarly, a tubuar stand can be positioned and stabbed over the wellbore without the retractable top drive, while the retractable top drive is travelling upwards. The simultaneous paths of the retractable top drive and tubular delivery arm may significantly reduce trip time.

[022] In summary, with the disclosed embodiments, tubular stand hoisting from the stand hand-off position and delivery to well center is accomplished by the tubular delivery arm, and drill string hoisting and lowering is accomplished by the retractable top drive. The retractable top drive and tubular delivery arm pass each other in relative vertical movement on the same mast. Retraction capability of the retractable top drive, and tilt and/or rotation control of the tubular delivery arm, and compatible geometry of each permit them to pass one another without conflict. In one embodiment, a conventional non-retractable top drive is used in conjunction with the tubular delivery arm to realize many of the benefits of the embodiment having a retractable top drive, having only to pause to avoid conflict between the non-retractable top drive and the tubular delivery arm.

[023] The disclosed embodiments provide a novel drilling rig system that may significantly reduce the time needed for tripping of drill pipe. The disclosed embodiments further provide a system with mechanically operative redundancies. The following disclosure describes "tripping in" which means adding tubular stands on a racking module to the drill string to form the complete length of the drill string to the bottom of the well so that drilling may commence. It will be appreciated by a person of ordinary skill that the procedure summarized below is generally reversed for tripping out of the well.

[024] The disclosed embodiments provide a novel drilling rig system that significantly reduces the time needed for tripping of drill pipe and drill collars. The disclosed embodiments further provide a system with mechanically operative redundancies.

[025] As will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, the embodiments disclosed may be modified and the same advantageous result obtained. It will also be understood that as the process of tripping in to add tubular stands to the wellbore is described, the procedure and mechanisms can be operated in reverse to remove tubular stands from the wellbore for orderly racking. Although a configuration related to triples is being described herein, a person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that such description is by example only as the disclosed embodiments are not limited, and would apply equally to doubles and fourables.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[026] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the drilling rig system of the disclosed embodiments for a high trip rate drilling rig.

[027] FIG. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 of the disclosed embodiments for a high trip rate drilling rig.

[028] FIG. 3 is an isometric cut-away view of the retractable top drive in a drilling mast as used in an embodiment of the high trip rate drilling rig.

[029] FIG. 4 is a side cut-away view of the retractable top drive, showing it positioned over the well center.

[030] FIG. 5 is a side cut-away view of the retractable top drive, showing it retracted from its position over the well center.

[031] FIG. 6 is an isometric simplified block diagram illustrating the transfer of reaction torque to the top drive, to the torque tube, to the travelling block to the dolly, and to the mast.

[032] FIG. 7 is an isometric view of the racking module, illustrating the upper racking mechanism translating the alleyway and delivering the drill pipe to a stand hand-off position.

[033] FIG. 8 is a top view of the racking module, illustrating the operating envelope of the upper racking mechanism and the relationship of the stand hand-off position to the racking module, well center and mousehole.

[034] FIG. 9 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a upper racking mechanism component of the racking module of the disclosed embodiments, illustrating rotation of the arm suspended from the bridge.

[035] FIG. 10 is an isometric break-out view of an embodiment of the racking module, illustrating the upper racking mechanism translating the alleyway and delivering the tubular stand to the stand hand-off position.

[036] FIG. 11 an isometric view of the racking module from the opposite side, illustrating the upper stand constraint securing the tubular stand in position at the stand hand-off position. The upper racking mechanism, having set the tubular stand down, has released the tubular stand and returned to retrieve another.

[037] FIG. 12 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the tubular delivery arm component of the high trip rate drilling rig, shown having a free pivoting tubular clasp.

[038] FIG. 13 is an isometric view of an alternative embodiment of the tubular delivery arm, having an incline controlled tubular clasp and an automatic box doping apparatus.

[039] FIG. 14 is a side view of an embodiment of the tubular delivery arm, illustrating the range of the tubular delivery arm to position a tubular stand relative to positions of use on a drilling rig.

[040] FIG. 15 is an isometric view of the embodiment of the tubular delivery arm of FIG. 13, illustrating the tubular delivery arm articulated to the stand hand-off position clasping a tubular stand.

[041] FIG. 16 is an isometric view of the embodiment of the tubular delivery arm of FIG. 13, illustrating the tubular delivery arm articulated over the well center and handing a tubular stand to the top drive.

[042] FIG. 17 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a lower stabilizing arm component of the disclosed embodiments, illustrating the multiple exendable sections of the arm that are pivotally and rotatable mounted to the base for connection to a lower portion of a drilling mast.

[043] FIG. 18 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 16, illustrating positioning of the lower stabilizing arm to stabilize the lower portion of a tubular stand between a well center, mousehole, stand hand-off and catwalk position.

[044] FIG. 19 is an isometric view of the embodiment of FIG. 18, illustrating the lower stabilizing arm capturing the lower end of a drill pipe section near the catwalk.

[045] FIG. 20 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the lower stabilizing arm, illustrated secured to the lower end of a stand of drill pipe and stabbing it at the mousehole.

[046] FIG. 21 is an isometric view of an embodiment of an intermediate stand constraint, illustrated extended.

[047] FIG. 22 is an isometric view of the embodiment of the intermediate stand constraint of FIG. 21, illustrating the intermediate stand constraint folded for transportation between drilling locations. [048] FIGS. 23 through 32 are isometric views that illustrate the high trip rate drilling rig of the disclosed embodiments in the process of moving tubular stands from a racked position and into the well.

[049] FIG. 33 is a top view of an embodiment of a setback platform of the tubular racking system of the disclosed embodiments.

[050] FIG. 34 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the setback platform of the tubular racking system of the disclosed embodiments.

[051] FIG. 35 is an isometric view of an upper racking module of the tubular racking system of the disclosed embodiments.

[052] FIG. 36 is an isometric view of the embodiment of FIG. 35 of the upper racking module of the tubular racking system of the disclosed embodiments.

[053] The obj ects and features of the disclosed embodiments will become more readily understood from the following detailed description and appended claims when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals represent like elements.

[054] The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include embodiments that may be configured in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the disclosed embodiments may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate their understanding.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[055] The following description is presented to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the disclosed embodiments, and is provided in the context of a particular application and its requirements. Various modifications to the disclosed embodiments will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the general principles defined herein may be applied to other embodiments and applications without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed embodiments. Thus, the disclosed embodiments is not intended to be limited to the embodiments shown, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and features disclosed herein.

[046] FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the drilling rig system of the disclosed embodiments for a high trip rate drilling rig 1. FIG. 1 illustrates drilling rig 1 having the conventional front portion of the drill floor removed, and placing well center 30 near to the edge of drill floor 6. In this configuration, a setback platform 900 is located beneath the level of drill floor 6, and connected to base box sections of substructure 2 on the ground. In this position, setback platform 900 is beneath racking module 300 such that tubular stands 80 (see FIG. 33) located in racking module 300 will be resting on setback platform 900.

[047] Having setback platform 900 near ground level reduces the size of the side boxes of substructure 2 and tus reduces side box transport weight. This configuration also mitigates the effects of wind against mast 10.

[048] In this configuration, racking module 300 is located lower on mast 10 of drilling rig 1 than on conventional land drilling rigs, since tubular stands 80 are not resting at drill floor 6 level. As a result, tubular stands 80 will need to be elevated significantly by a secondary hoisting means to reach the level of drill floor 6, before they can be added to the drill string.

[049] As will be seen in the following discussion, this arrangement provides numerous advantages in complementary relationship with the several other unique components of high trip rate drilling rig 1.

[050] A mousehole having a mousehole center 40 (see Fig. 30) is located on the forward edge of drill floor 6 and extends downward beneath. An intermediate stand constraint 430 is located adjacent to drill floor 6 and centered over mousehole center 40. A stand hand-off position 50 is located on setback platform 900, and extends vertically upwards, and is not impeded by any other structure beneath racking module 300. A lower stand constraint 440 is located on setback platform 900 and centerable over stand hand-off 50. In this embodiment, stand hand-off position 50 is forward of, and in alignment with, well center 30 and mousehole center 40.

[051] FIG. 2 is a top view of the drilling rig 1 of FIG. 1. Racking module 300 has a fingerboard assembly 310 (see FIG. 7) with columns of racking positions 312 aligned perpendicular to conventional alignement. As so aligned, columns 312 run in a V-door to drawworks direction. As seen in this view, the racking positions for tubular stands 80 in racking module 300 align with space for racking tubular stands on setback platform 900. Racking module 300 and setback platform 900 can be size selected independent of the substructure 2 and mast 10 depending on the depth of the well to be drilled and the number of tubular stands 80 to be racked. In this manner, drilling rig 1 is scalable.

[052] FIG. 3 is an isometric cut-away view of a retractable top drive assembly 200 in drilling mast 10 as used in an embodiment of drilling rig 1. Retractable top drive assembly 200 is generally comprised of a travelling block assembly (230, 232), a top drive 240, a pair of links 252 and an elevator 250, along with other various components. Retractable top drive assembly 200 has a retractable dolly 202 that is mounted on guides 17 in mast 10. In the embodiment illustrated, guides 17 are proximate to the rear side 14 (drawworks side) of mast 10. Dolly 202 is vertically translatable on the length of guides 17. In the embodiment illustrated, retractable top drive assembly 200 has a split block configuration including a driller's side block 230 and an off-driller's side block 232. This feature provides mast-well center path clearance additional to that obtained by the ability to retract dolly 202. The additional clearance avoids conflict with a tubular delivery arm 500 (see FIG. 12) when tilted for well center 30 alignment of a tubular stand 80.

[053] A first yoke 210 connects block halves 230 and 232 to dolly 202. A second yoke 212 extends between dolly 202 and top drive 240. An actuator 220 extends between second yoke 212 and dolly 202 to facilitate controlled movement of top drive 240 between a well center 30 position and a retracted position. Retractable top drive assembly 200 has a top drive 240 and a stabbing guide 246. Pivotal links 252 extend downward. An automatic elevator 250 is attached to the ends of links 252.

[054] FIG. 4 is a side cut-away view of an embodiment of retractable top drive assembly 200, showing it positioned over well center 30. Retractable top drive assembly 200 has a torque tube 260 that functions to transfer torque from retractable top drive assembly 200 to dolly 202 and there through to guides 17 and mast 10. (See FIG. 6).

[055] FIG. 5 is a side cut-away view of the embodiment of retractable top drive assembly 200 in FIG. 4, showing it retracted from its position over well center 30 to avoid contact with a tubular delivery arm 500 that vertically translates the same mast 10 as retractable top drive assembly 200. (See FIG. 12).

[056] FIG. 6 is an isometric cut-away view, illustrating the force transmitted through torque tube 260 connected directly to the travel block assembly. Torque tube 260 is solidly attached to the travelling block assembly, such as between block halves 230 and 232, and thus connected to dolly 202 through yoke 210 and yoke 212.

[057] Torque is encountered from make-up and break-out activity as well as drilling torque reacting from the drill bit and stabilizer engagement with the wellbore. Torque tube 260 is engaged to top drive 240 at torque tube bracket 262 in sliding relationship. Top drive 240 is vertically separable from the travelling block assembly to accommodate different thread lengths in tubular couplings. The sliding relationship of the connection at torque tube bracket 262 accommodates this movement.

[058] Slide pads 208 are seen in this view. Slide pads 208 are mounted on opposing ends 204 (not visible) of dolly 202 that extend outward in the driller's side and off-driller's side directions. Each dolly end 204 may have an adjustment pad 206 (not visible) between its end 204 and slide pad 208. Slide pads 208 engage guides 17 to guide retractable top drive assembly 200 up and down the vertical length of mast 10. Adjustment pads 206 permit precise centering and alignment of dolly 202 on mast 10. Alternatively, a roller mechanism may be used.

[059] In FIG. 6, retractable top drive assembly 200 is positioned over well center 30. As seen in this view, tubular stand 80 is right rotated by top drive 240 as shown by Tl . Drilling related friction at the drill bit, stabilizers and bottom hole assembly components must be overcome to drill ahead. This results in a significant reactive torque T2 at top drive 240. Torque T2 is transmitted to torque tube 260 through opposite forces Fl and F2 at bracket 262. Torque tube 260 transmits this torque to second yoke 212, which transmits the force to connected dolly 202. Dolly 202 transmits the force to guides 17 of mast 10 through its slide pads 208.

[060] By this configuration, torque tube 260 is extended and retracted with top drive 240 and the travelling block. By firmly connecting torque tube 260 directly to the travelling block and eliminating a dolly at top drive 240, retractable top drive assembly 200 can accommodate a tubular delivery arm 500 on common mast 10.

[061] FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a racking module 300 component of the disclosed embodiments, illustrating an upper racking mechanism 350 traversing an alleyway 316 in the direction of the opening on the front side of mast 10, towards stand hand-off position 50. As shown, upper racking mechanism 350 has reached stand hand-off position 50 with tubular stand 80.

[062] FIG. 8 is a top view of racking module 300, illustrating the operating envelope of upper racking mechanism 350, and the relationship of stand hand-off position 50 to racking module 300. As illustrated in FIG. 7, fingerboard assembly 310 provides a rectangular grid of multiple tubular storage positions between its fingers. Fingerboard assembly 310 has columns of racking positions 312 aligned in a V-door to drawworks direction.

[063] Upper racking mechanism 350 has the ability to position its gripper 382 (see FIG. 9) over the tubular racking position 312 in the grid. In the embodiment illustrated, second upper racking mechanism 351 also has the capability of positioning its gripper 382 over the tubular racking position 312 on fingerboard assembly 310.

[064] FIG. 9 is an isometric view of an embodiment of upper racking mechanism 350, illustrating the travel range and rotation of gripper 382 connected to sleeve 380 and arm 370, as suspended from bridge 358.

[065] Upper racking mechanism 350 has a bridge 358 and a modular frame 302 comprising an inner runway 304 and an outer runway 306. Bridge 358 has an outer roller assembly 354 and an inner roller assembly 356 for supporting movement of upper racking mechanism 350 along runways 306 and 304, respectively (see FIG. 11), on racking module 300.

[066] An outer pinion drive 366 extends from an outer end of bridge 358. An inner pinion drive 368 (not visible) extends proximate to the inner end (mast side) of bridge 358. Pinion drives 366 and 368 engage complementary geared racks on runways 306 and 304. Actuation of pinion drives 366 and 368 permits upper racking mechanism 350 to horizontally translate the length of racking module 300.

[067] A trolley 360 is translatably mounted to bridge 358. The position of trolley 360 is controlled by a trolley pinion drive 364 (not visible). Trolley pinion drive 364 engages a complementary geared rack on bridge 358. Actuation of trolley pinion drive 364 permits trolley 360 to horizontally translate the length of bridge 358.

[068] A rotate actuator 362 (not visible) is mounted to trolley 360. Arm 370 is connected at an offset 371 (not visible) to rotate actuator 362 and thus trolley 360. Gripper 382 extends perpendicular in relation to the lower end of arm 370, and in the same plane as offset 371. Gripper 382 is attached to sleeve 380 for gripping tubular stands 80 (see FIG. 20) racked in racking module 300. Sleeve 380 is mounted to arm 370 in vertically translatable relation, as further described below. As described, actuation of rotate actuator 362 causes rotation of gripper 382.

[069] A rotate actuator centerline C extends downward from the center of rotation of rotate actuator 362. This centerline is common to the centerline C of tubular stands 80 gripped by gripper 382, such that rotation of gripper 382 results in centered rotation of tubular stands 80 without lateral movement. The ghost lines of this view show arm 370 and gripper 382 rotated 90 degrees by rotate actuator 364. As shown, and as described above, the centerline of a stand of tubular stand 80 gripped by upper racking mechanism 350 does not move laterally when arm 370 is rotated. [070] As stated above, sleeve 380 is mounted to arm 370 in vertically translatable relation, such as by slide bearings, rollers, or other method. In the embodiment illustrated, a tandem cylinder assembly 372 is connected between arm 370 and sleeve 380. Tandem cylinder assembly 372 comprises a counterbalance cylinder and a lift cylinder. Actuation of the lift cylinder is operator controllable with conventional hydraulic controls. Tubular stand 80 is hoisted by retraction of the lift cylinder. The counterbalance cylinder of the tandem cylinder assembly 372 is in the extended position when there is no load on gripper 382.

[071] When tubular stand 80 is set down, the counterbalance cylinder retracts to provide a positive indication of set down of tubular stand 80. Set down retraction of the counterbalance cylinder is measured by a transducer (not shown) such as a linear position transducer. The transducer provides this feedback to prevent destructive lateral movement of tubular stand 80 before it has been lifted.

[072] FIG. 10 is an isometric view of an embodiment of racking module 300 and upper racking mechanism 350. Upper racking mechanism 350 has retrieved a tubular stand 80 from a column 312 of fingerboard assembly 310. Upper racking mechanism 350 hoisted tubular stand 80 and carried it along alleyway 316 to stand hand-off position 50, as illustrated.

[073] FIG. 1 1 is an isometric view of racking module 300 of FIG. 7 and the upper racking mechanism 350 of FIG. 10, shown from the opposite side to illustrate clasp 408 of upper stand constraint 420 holding tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50. Mast 10 is removed from this view for clarity.

[074] After lowering tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50, upper racking mechanism 350 has departed to retrieve the next tubular stand 80. Upper stand constraint 420 acts to secure tubular stand 80 in place at stand hand-off position 50. This facilitates delivery of tubular stand 80 and other tubular stands (such as drill collars) between the stand hand-off position 50 and upper racking mechanisms 350, 351 and also between the stand hand-off position 50 and tubular delivery arm 500 or retractable top drive assembly 200.

[075] Carriage 404 (not shown) of upper stand constraint 420 has the ability to extend further towards well center 30 so as to tilt tubular stand 80 sufficiently to render it accessible to retractable top drive assembly 200. This allows upper stand constraint 420 to provide a redundant mechanism to failure of tubular delivery arm 500 mounted to a front side of the mast if one is provided. Upper stand constraint 420 can also be used to deliver certain drill collars and other heavy tubular stands 80 that exceed the lifting capacity of tubular delivery arm 500. [076] FIG. 12 is an isometric view of an embodiment of tubular delivery arm 500 of the disclosed embodiments. Retractable top drive assembly 200 provides a first tubular handling device that vertical translates mast 10. Tubular delivery arm 500 provides a second tubular handling device that is vertically translatable along the same mast 10 of transportable land drilling rig 1 , without physically interfering with retractable top drive assembly 200.

[077] Tubular delivery arm 500 comprises a dolly 510. In one embodiment, adjustment pads 514 are attached to ends 51 1 and 512 of dolly 510. A slide pad 516 may be located on each adjustment pad 514. Slide pads 516 are configured for sliding engagement with front side 12 of mast 10 of drilling rig 1. Adjustment pads 514 permit precise centering and alignment of dolly 510 on mast 10. In alternative embodiments, rollers or rack and pinion arrangements may be incorporated in place of slide pads 516.

[078] An arm bracket 520 extends outward from dolly 510 in the V-door direction. An arm 532 or pair of arms 532 is pivotally and rotationally connected to arm bracket 520. An actuator bracket 542 is connected between arms 532. A tilt actuator 540 is pivotally connected between actuator bracket 542 and one of either dolly 510 or arm bracket 520 to control the pivotal relationship between arm 532 and dolly 510.

[079] Rotary actuator 522 (or other rotary motor) provides rotational control of arm 532 relative to dolly 510. A tubular clasp 550 is pivotally connected to the lower end of each arm 532. Rotary actuator 522 is mounted to arm bracket 520 and has a drive shaft (not shown) extending through arm bracket 520. A drive plate 530 is rotatably connected to the underside of arm bracket 520 and connected to the drive shaft of rotary actuator 522. In this embodiment, clasp 550 may be optionally rotated to face tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50 facing the V-door direction. Flexibility in orientation of clasp 550 reduces manipulation of tubular delivery arm 500 to capture tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50 by eliminating the need to further rise, tilt, pass, and clear tubular stand 80.

[080] A centerline of a tubular stand 80 secured in clasp 550 is located between pivot connections 534 at the lower ends of each arm 532. In this manner, clasp 550 is self-balancing to suspend a tubular stand 80 vertically, without the need for additional angular controls or adjustments.

[081] FIG. 13 is an isometric view of the alternative embodiment of the tubular delivery arm 500 embodiment illustrated in FIG. 12. In this embodiment, an incline actuator 552 is operative to control the angle of tubular clasp 550 relative to arm 532. This view illustrates arms 532 rotated and tilted to position clasp 550 over well center 30 as seen in FIG. 14. As also seen in FIG. 14, extension of the incline actuator 552 inclines tubular clasp 550 to permit tilting of heavy tubular stands, such as large collars, and to position tubular clasp 550 properly for receiving a tubular section 81 or tubular stand 80 from catwalk 600 at catwalk position 60.

[082] Referring back to FIG. 13, a grease dispenser 560 is extendably connected to a lower end of arm 532 above clasp 550, and extendable to position grease dispenser 560 at least partially inside of a box connection of tubular stand 80 secured by clasp 550. A grease supply line is connected between grease dispenser 560 and a grease reservoir 570 for this purpose. In this embodiment, grease dispenser 560 may be actuated to deliver grease, such as by pressurized delivery to the interior of the pin connection by either or both of spray nozzles or contact wipe application.

[083] This embodiment permits grease (conventionally known as "dope") to be stored in pressurized grease container 570 and strategically sprayed into a box connection of a tubular stand 80 held by clasp 550 prior to its movement over well center 30 for connection. The automatic doping procedure improves safety by eliminating the manual application at the elevated position of tubular stand 80.

[084] FIG. 14 illustrates the lateral range of the motion of tubular delivery arm 500 to position a tubular stand 80 relative to positions of use on drilling rig 1. Illustrated is the capability of tubular delivery arm 500 to retrieve and deliver a tubular stand 80 as between a well center 30, a mousehole 40 (not shown), and a stand hand-off position 50. Also illustrated is the capability of tubular delivery arm 500 to move to a catwalk position 60 and incline clasp 550 for the purpose of retrieving or delivering a tubular section 80 from a catwalk 600.

[085] FIG. 15 is an isometric view of an embodiment of the tubular delivery arm 500, illustrating tubular delivery arm 500 articulated to stand hand-off position 50 between racking module 300 and mast 10, and having a tubular stand 80 secured in clasp 550.

[086] Slide pads 516 are slidably engaged with the front side (V-door side) 12 of drilling mast 10 to permit tubular delivery arm 500 to vertically traverse front side 12 of mast 10. Tilt actuator 540 positions clasp 550 over stand hand-off position 50. Tubular delivery arm 500 may have a hoist connection 580 on dolly 510 for connection to a hoist at the crown block to facilitate movement of tubular delivery arm 500 vertically along mast 10. [087] FIG. 16 is an isometric view of the embodiment of tubular delivery arm 500 of FIG. 14, illustrating tubular delivery arm 500 being articulated over well center 30 and handing tubular stand 80 off to retractable top drive assembly 200. Tubular delivery arm 500 is articulated by expansion of tilt actuator 540, which inclines arms 532 into position such that the centerline of tubular stand 80 in clasp 550 is directly over well center 30.

[088] In this manner, tubular delivery arm 500 is delivering and stabbing tubular stands for retractable top drive assembly 200. This allows independent and simultaneous movement of retractable top drive assembly 200 to lower the drill string into the well (set slips), disengage the drill string, retract, and travel vertically up mast 10 while tubular delivery arm 500 is retrieving, centering, and stabbing the next tubular stand 80. This combined capability makes greatly accelerated trip speeds possible. The limited capacity of tubular delivery arm 500 to lift only stands of drill pipe allows the weight of tubular delivery arm 500 to be minimized, if properly designed. Tubular delivery arm 500 can be raised and lowered along mast 10 with only an electronic crown winch.

[089] FIG. 17 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a lower stabilizing arm 800, illustrating the rotation, pivot, and extension of an arm 824. In this embodiment, arm 824 is pivotally and rotationally connected to a mast bracket 802. An arm bracket 806 is rotationally connected to mast bracket 802. Arm 824 is pivotally connected to arm bracket 806. A pivot actuator 864 controls the pivotal movement of arm 824 relative to arm bracket 806 and thus mast bracket 802. A rotary table 810 controls the rotation of arm 824 relative to arm bracket 806 and thus mast bracket 802. Arm 824 is extendable as shown.

[090] In this embodiment, a tubular guide 870 is rotational and pivotally connected to arm 824. A pivot actuator 872 controls the pivotal movement of tubular guide 870 relative to arm 824. A rotate actuator 874 controls the rotation of tubular guide 870 relative to arm 824. A pair of V-rollers 862 is provided to center a tubular stand 80 in guide 870. V-rollers 862 are operable by a roller actuator 866.

[091] The operation of the various rotational and pivot controls permits placement of tubular guide 870 over center of each of a wellbore 30, a mousehole 40, and a stand hand-off position 50 of drilling rig 1 as seen best in FIG. 18.

[092] FIG. 18 is a top view of an embodiment of a lower stabilizing arm 800, illustrating the change in positioning that occurs as lower stabilizing arm 800 relocates between the positions of well center 30, mousehole 40, stand hand-off position 50, and catwalk 60. [093] FIG. 19 is an isometric view of lower stabilizing arm 800 connected to a leg 20 of drilling rig 1, and illustrating lower stabilizing arm 800 capturing the lower end of tubular stand 80 and guiding tubular stand 80 to well center 30 for stabbing into drill string 90. Once stabbed, iron roughneck 760 will connect the tool joints.

[094] FIG. 20 illustrates lower stabilizing arm 800 secured to the lower end of tubular section 81 and preparing to stab it into the box connection of tubular section 81 located in mousehole 40 in a stand building procedure. In FIG. 20, tubular section 81 in mousehole 40 is secured to drill floor 6 by a tubular gripping 409 of intermediate stand constraint 430.

[095] As illustrated and described above, lower stabilizing arm 800 is capable of handling the lower end of tubular stand 80 and tubular sections 81 to safely permit the accelerated movement of tubular stands for the purpose of reducing trip time and connection time, and to reduce exposure of workers on drill floor 6. Lower stabilizing arm 800 provides a means for locating the pin end of a hoisted tubular stand 80 into alignment with the box end of another for stabbing, or for other positional requirements such as catwalk retrieval, racking, mousehole insertion, and stand building. Lower stabilizing arm 800 can accurately position a tubular stand 80 at wellbore center 30, mousehole 40, and stand hand-off position 50 of drilling rig 1.

[096] FIG. 21 is an isometric view of an embodiment of an intermediate stand constraint 430. Intermediate stand constraint 430 as shown can be connected at or immediately beneath drill floor 6, as illustrated in FIG. 1. Intermediate stand constraint 430 has a frame 403 that may be configured as a single unit or as a pair, as illustrated. A carriage 405 is extendably connected to frame 403. In the view illustrated, carriage 405 is extended from frame 403. A carriage actuator 407 is connected between frame 403 and carriage 405 and is operable to extend and retract carriage 405 from frame 403.

[097] A clasp 408 is pivotally connected to the end of carriage 405. A clasp actuator 413 (not visible) is operable to open and close clasp 408. Clasp 408 is preferably self-centering to permit closure of clasp 408 around a full range of drilling tubulars 80, including casing, drill collars and drill pipe. Clasp 408 is not required to resist vertical movement of tubular stand 80. In one embodiment, clasp 408 comprises opposing claws (not shown).

[098] A tubular gripping assembly 409 is provided and is capable of supporting the vertical load of tubular stand 80 to prevent downward vertical movement of tubular stand 80. In the embodiment shown, a transport bracket 416 is pivotally connected to carriage 405. An actuator 418 is provided to adjust the height of clasp 408 and gripper 409. [099] FIG. 22 is an isometric view of the embodiment of intermediate stand constraint 430 of FIG. 21 , illustrating carriage 405 retracted, and transport bracket pivoted into a transport position.

[0100] In operation, intermediate stand constraint 430 can facilitate stand building at mousehole 40. For example, intermediate stand constraint 430 may be used to vertically secure a first tubular section 81. A second tubular section 81 may then be positioned in series alignment by a hoisting mechanism such as the tubular delivery arm 500. With the use of an iron roughneck 760 (see FIG. 19 and FIG. 20) movably mounted at drill floor 6, the series connection between the the first and second tubular sections 81 can be made to create a double tubular stand 80. Gripping assembly 409 can then be released to permit the double tubular stand 80 to be lowered into mousehole 40. Gripping assembly 409 can then be actuated to hold double tubular stand 80 in centered position, as a third tubular section 81 is hoisted above and stabbed into double tubular section 81. Once again, iron roughneck 760 on drill floor 6 can be used to connect the third tubular section 81 and form a triple tubular stand 80.

[0101] FIGS. 23-25 illustrate an embodiment of high trip rate drilling rig 1 in the process of moving tubular stands 80 from racking module 300 to well center 30 for placement into the well. To keep the drawings readable, some items mentioned below may not be numbered. Please refer to FIGS. 1 -22 for the additional detail.

[0102] It will be appreciated by a person of ordinary skill in the art that the procedure illustrated, although for "tripping in" in well, can be generally reversed to understand the procedure for "tripping out."

[0103] FIG. 23 shows tubular delivery arm 500 on a front side 12 of mast 10 in an unarticulated position above racking module 300 on front side 12 of mast 10. In this position, tubular delivery arm 500 is above stand hand-off position 50, and vertically above retractable top drive assembly 200. Tubular stand 80 has been connected to the drill string in the well (not visible) and is now a component of drill string 90. Tubular stand 80 and the rest of drill string 90 is held by retractable top drive assembly 200, which is articulated into its well center 30 position, and is descending along mast 10 downward towards drill floor 6.

[0104] In FIG. 24, retractable top drive assembly 200 has descended further towards drill floor 6 as it lowers drill string 90 into the well. Upper racking mechanism 350 is moving the next tubular stand 80 from its racked position towards stand hand-off position 50. [0105] In FIG. 25, retractable top drive assembly 200 has neared the position where automatic slips will engage drill string 90. Tubular delivery arm 500 has moved lower down front side 12 of mast 10 near stand hand-off position 50. Upper racking mechanism 350 and lower racking mechanism 950 (see FIG. 34) have delivered tubular stand 80 to stand hand-off position 50. Upper stand constraint 420 (not visible) and lower stand constraint 440 have secured tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50.

[0106] In FIG. 26, automatic slips have engaged drill string 3 and retractable top drive assembly 200 has released tubular stand 80. Retractable top drive assembly 200 has been moved into the retracted position of its return path behind well center 30 and proximate to the rear side 14 of mast 10. Tubular delivery arm 500 has articulated its arms 532 and its clasp 550 has latched onto tubular stand 80. Near drill floor 6, lower stabilizing arm 800 has engaged the lower end of tubular stand 80. Upper stand constraint 420 (not visible) has released tubular stand 80.

[0107] In FIG. 27, retractable top drive assembly 200 has begun a retracted ascent to the top of mast 10. Tubular delivery arm 500 has also risen along the front side 12 of mast 10. With this motion, clasp 550 of tubular delivery arm 500 has engaged the upset of tubular stand 80 and lifted tubular stand 80 vertically off setback platform 900. Lower stabilizing arm 800 is supporting the lower end of tubular stand 80.

[0108] In FIG. 28, retractable top drive assembly 200 continues its retracted ascent up mast 10. Tubular delivery arm 500 has elevated sufficiently to insure the bottom of tubular stand 80 will clear the stump of drill string 90 extending above drill floor 6. Since releasing tubular stand 80 at stand hand-off position 50, upper racking mechanism 350 has been free to move to and secure the next drill stand 4 (not shown) in sequence.

[0109] In FIG. 29, retractable top drive assembly 200 continues its retracted ascent up mast 10. Tubular delivery arm 500 has rotated 180 degrees, such that the opening on clasp 550 is facing well center 30. Subsequent to rotation, tubular delivery arm 500 has been articulated to position tubular stand 80 over well center 30.

[0110] In FIG. 30, tubular delivery arm 500 has descended its path on the front side 12 of mast 10 until tubular stand 80, with guidance from lower stabilizing arm 800, has stabbed the pin connection of its lower tool j oint into the box connection of the exposed tool joint of drill string 90. Tubular delivery arm 500 continues to descend such that clasp 550 moves lower on tubular stand 80 to make room for retractable top drive assembly 200. [0111] Retractable top drive assembly 200 has risen to a position on mast 10 that is fully above tubular delivery arm 500. Having cleared tubular delivery arm 500 and tubular stand 80 in its ascent, retractable top drive assembly 200 has expanded actuator 220 to extend retractable top drive assembly 200 to its well center 30 position, directly over tubular stand 80, and is now descending to engage the top of tubular stand 80.

[0112] In FIG. 31, retractable top drive assembly 200 has engaged tubular stand 80 as centered by tubular delivery arm 500 at the top and lower stabilizing arm 800 at the bottom. Retractable top drive assembly 200 can now rotate to make-up and fully torque the connection. An iron roughneck at drill floor 6 may be used to secure the connection.

[0113] In FIG. 32, lower stabilizing arm 800 and tubular delivery arm 500 have released tubular stand 80 and retracted from well center 30. In the non-actuated position, tubular delivery arm 500 has rotated to allow clasp 550 to again face stand hand-off position 50 in anticipation of receiving the next tubular stand 80. Retractable top drive assembly 200 now supports the weight of the drill string as the automatic slips have also released, and retractable top drive assembly 200 is beginning its descent to lower drill string 90 into the wellbore.

[0114] FIG. 33 is a top view of setback platform 900 on which the tubular stands 80 are stacked in accordance with their respective positions in the fingerboard assembly 310. Drilling rig 1, catwalk 600 and tubular stands 80 are removed for clarity. This embodiment illustrates the relationship between well center 30, mousehole 40, and stand hand-off position 50. As seen in this view, an alleyway 912 is provided on the front edge of setback platform 900. Stand hand-off position 50 is located in alleyway 912, in alignment with mousehole 40 and well center 30. A pair of lower racking mechanisms 950 is also located in alleyway 912.

[0115] FIG. 34 is an isometric view of an embodiment of setback platform 900 of the tubular racking system of the disclosed embodiments. Setback platform 900 comprises platform 910 for vertical storage of tubular stands 80 (not shown). Platform 910 has a mast side and an opposite catwalk side. An alleyway 912 extends along the mast side of platform 910. Alleyway 912 is offset below platform 910. Stand hand-off position 50 is located on alleyway 912. A geared rail 914 is affixed to alleyway 912. A lower racking mechanism 950 is provided, having a base 952 translatably connected to the rail 914.

[0116] FIG. 35 is an isometric view of upper racking module 300 illustrating tubular stand 80 held at stand hand-off position 50 by upper stand constraint 420, and engaged by upper racking mechanism 350 and by lower racking mechanism 950. Optional engagement with lower stand constraint 440 is not shown. Like upper racking mechanism 350, lower racking mechanism 950 can rotate on the centerline of tubular stand 80. In this manner, lower racking mechanism 950 can follow upper racking mechanism 350 between stand hand-off position 50, and any racking position in racking module 300, while keeping tubular stand 80 vertical at all times.

[0117] FIG. 36 is an isometric view illustrating tubular stand 80 supported vertically by upper racking mechanism 350 and held at its lower end by lower racking mechanism 950, and extended to its designated racking position.

[0118] If used herein, the term "substantially" is intended for construction as meaning "more so than not."

[0119] Having thus described the disclosed embodiments by reference to certain of its preferred embodiments, it is noted that the embodiments disclosed are illustrative rather than limiting in nature and that a wide range of variations, modifications, changes, and substitutions are contemplated in the foregoing disclosure and, in some instances, some features of the disclosed embodiments may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features. Many such variations and modifications may be considered desirable by those skilled in the art based upon a review of the foregoing description of preferred embodiments. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the disclosed embodiments.