What is a drilling rig audit?

Drilling rigs are found both on-land and offshore. These massive and complex integrated units of machinery and infrastructure are leveraged for oil exploration, drilling, and extraction and require intricate daily management and detailed oversight to ensure they function correctly. At the commissioning stage, drilling rigs undergo inspections for acceptance. These usually include inspections of critical systems such as the prime movers that produce energy for the rig, rig floor testing, blowout prevention control systems review, stack acceptance pressure tests, and many other detailed audits. During operations, routine rig inspections are needed to ensure that equipment, processes, and people are compliant with regulations and ensure that minimum performance standards are met. Let’s explore this theme further to understand some of the critical elements of drilling rig inspection checklist

Drilling Equipment Checklist

Thorough drilling equipment inspections are conducted to ensure optimum working conditions or repaired if needed. Wear and tear, corrosion, damage, and fraying can cause equipment to malfunction resulting in downtime, lower productivity, and increased safety risks. Usually, inspectors assess equipment in sections or groups, such as the drill floor equipment. This section would include, for instance, items like drilling instrumentation, man riding winches, survey lines, casing stabbing boards, etc. In addition, inspectors review other similar infrastructure groups such as pipe handling equipment, drilling subs, well testing tools, pipe racking systems, and pipe spinning wrenches. One crucial piece also included in such inspections is the iron roughneck, the hydraulic machinery used for connecting and disconnecting sections of pipes. 

Critical equipment operates at high stakes, and its optimum functioning is essential for day-to-day rig operations. During equipment inspections, technicians also review hoisting equipment like the rotary table, Kelly spinner, traveling block hook, etc. Typical drilling maintenance checklists also include equipment like the mud system consisting of mud pumps, mud mixing systems, centrifuges, mud agitators, etc. Other equipment, inspected using detailed checklists, include wireline logging equipment, mast equipment, lifting tools and machines, and equipment related to power generation, fuel handling, loading hoses, transportation devices, and storage. 

Well Control Equipment Checklist

Well control equipment refers to the set of systems, tools, and subsystems used in an oil rig to control the pressure in the wellbore. These tools help perform several vital functions, such as separating drilling fluid from formation fluids and blocking, redirecting, or controlling the flow of fluids coming up from the well. They also help identify any unintended flow of formation fluids into the well and help eliminate them from the wellbore. These complex systems include various tools and equipment, which inspectors have in well control of equipment testing checklists. They usually span BOP stacks pressure tests, ram-type preventers, Cameron style hub clamps, the diverter system, choke manifold used to control well pressure, annular preventers, surface hydraulic BPO control units, gate valves, etc.

Drilling Rig Inspection Checklist for Power Plant

Rigs often employ two power plants with automatic switch-over for operating in various shifts and use diesel or even waste natural gas to generate energy. They are critical in keeping the rig running and ensuring there is no disruption to work, especially since production downtime can cause considerable losses to rig operators. During power plant inspections, technicians check all the power generation components and tools such as generator sets, including the main diesel generators and backup or emergency generators, air system refrigeration, etc.

Rig Inspection Checklist for Electrical Systems

An assessment of electrical system components includes the main transformer, main switchboards, phase converters, AC and DC motors, emergency switchboards, etc. They also review the primary and emergency lighting systems, batteries, battery chargers, electrical welding, earthing, electrical outlet cables, alarm systems, and communication systems. 

Mud System

Mud systems inspections include a thorough assessment of mud pumps and high and low-pressure mud systems, chemical mixing and handling processes, brine system and bulk system checks, solids removal and degasser equipment, mud pumps, mud tank system, and cementing system. When oil-based mud is used, the inspections cover the earth and shaker area, well-controlled with oil-based mud and electrical earthing systems.  

Rig Accommodation, Storage, and Other Areas

Though operations equipment forms the bulk of a rig’s infrastructure, these extensive facilities also include worker accommodation, general infrastructure, and storage units. Therefore, comprehensive rig inspection checklists include workers’ quarters, galley, helideck, fuel storage, available administration facilities, medical facilities, offices, and stores. 

HSE Checklist

The Health, Safety, and Environment checklist is designed to help inspectors take stock of how equipped the rig is to ensure the safety of its workers and reduce risks to their health and wellbeing. It also focuses on aspects of operations that can adversely impact the environment. Several regulatory bodies outline norms and standards to be adhered to, and inspectors audit systems, processes, equipment, tools, and even staff behavior on the rig floor to assess the rig’s compliance and safety readiness. Usually, systems like fire detection and control, breathing apparatus, gas detection systems, and pollution control come under the purview of these audits. 

Workover and Drilling Rig Inspection Checklist for Offshore Rigs according to API & OSHA

Under API and OSHA guidelines, detailed inspections are conducted on offshore workover rigs and onshore rigs to review the drill site/location. For example, they check items like a hard hat, safety glasses, or steel-toe shoe usage signs. In addition, site inspections look at how clean the outhouse is and assess the general level of housekeeping, visitor tracking systems, safety equipment availability for visitors, correct labeling of vessels, etc.
Under Training, PPE, and General Safety, inspectors check the status of first aid training provided to staff and personal protective equipment such as eye protection, hard-toed shoes, gas masks, and gloves. In addition, the checklist includes how injury reports are handled and whether they are well documented and reported on time.
This safety inspection also reviews work sections like the mud pump area to see if the mud pump head and valve covers are securely attached and assess the condition of pumps, hoses, piping, valves, and other fittings. They also check the mud mixing area and mud tanks and pits. Likewise, detailed audits are conducted on the rig, such as material handling equipment, usage of forklifts, the generator area, electrical systems, fire protection systems, fuel, and flammable liquid storage tanks, pipe rack area, and blowout preventers, derrick, and substructures, etc.

Rig Safety Equipment Inspection Checklist

A comprehensive safety HSE audit spans a review of general safety and management protocols, staff training and awareness programs, and worker accounting. They also include safety-related communication mechanisms, emergency plans, first aid availability, and specific systems and equipment audits to ensure they are all geared to ensure the maximum safety of workers on the rig. 

Rig Inspection Checklist

Rig inspection checklists are complex and often tedious to manage. With digital solutions like the Fielda app, the entire inspection data gathering and post data collection workflow becomes more accessible and efficient. Fielda helps inspectors create forms with the required flexibility of format, data fields, and supporting evidence files and enables offline data capture. Fielda is a proven tool for end-to-end rig inspections helping on-site staff and operations management teams collaborate seamlessly for productivity and efficiency.