Texas Tech Becomes First US University To Train Students With Full-Scale Oil Rig

Students will have the opportunity to learn hands-on training beginning this upcoming spring semester after the university spent 2 years completing the development of the rig. The red-and white-painted mast of the Raider rig can be seen in photos and a time lapse video shared by Texas Tech.

Texas Tech University is now home to the first on-campus drilling rig thanks in part to donations and contributions from university alumni.

The mission of the full-scale, fully operational modern drilling rig is to serve as an educational tool for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the university’s petroleum engineering program.

The drilling rig was “built to give our students hands-on experience in the oil field under a controlled environment where we have total safety,” said Marshall Watson, department chair for the university’s Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, in a release.

At an event that was years in the making, the 140-ft, Raider red-and white-painted mast of the National 610E 750-hp SCR drilling rig was raised on 6 January at the university’s East Campus Oilfield Technology Center (OTC) located in Lubbock, Texas. “OTC is designed to be a hands-on facility available to all students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. This rig is just the latest addition to the equipment available,” Texas Tech instructor Denny Bullard said.

Students will be able to learn and practice drilling techniques including rotating, lifting, and fluid circulation systems. The rig is equipped with two 1,000-hp NOV 9-P triplex mud pumps, an NOV ST-80C Iron Roughneck, and a 750-hp CanRig topdrive.

Time lapse video of the raising of the mast.

“In addition to being a teaching tool, the rig can also be used for research, testing, and workforce development. It will give students a head start in understanding how drilling systems work,” Bullard said.

The well the rig was placed over was drilled under the supervision of Texas certified professional engineers working in the petroleum engineering department at Texas Tech, according to the university.

“The well is not open to any formation, with steel casing run and cemented in place from the base of the casing to the surface,” the university said in a statement.

The rig is fully electric and powered by the Lubbock electrical grid. There are, however, three diesel generators on hand as backup power sources and as part of the learning experience for students.

Students will be able to participate using this technology as soon as this upcoming spring semester.

“The rig will be incorporated into the drilling curriculum much the same way other traditional laboratory equipment is used. It will provide students an opportunity to safely visualize all components of a drilling system in full scale,” Bullard said.

All parts of the drilling rig and the work required to assemble it and drill the wells on site were donated to Texas Tech by Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering alumni and industry partners.

Special thanks to Jennifer Presley, JPT Senior Technology Editor, for editing assistance.