How does 30,000 feet of drillpipe fit into one ship?

The JOIDES resolution is designed to perform deep sea drilling: even in water depths of 9000 meters (27,000 ft), the JR can drill 1000 meters (3000 ft) into the bottom of the sea.

This means, that up to 10 km (30,000 ft) of drill pipe can be lowered from the ship!

The image to the right shows these extreme ratios (make sure to scroll down to find the seafloor!).

The drill pipes on board the JR have a diameter of about 14 cm (5 ½ in). Each piece of them has a length of around 10 m (30 ft). They carry threads at each end so they can be screwed into each other. Three of them are screwed together to form a „stand“, and then, they are pulled up into the derrick and lowered through the „moonpool“ opening in the bottom of the ship. Then the next stand is pulled up, screwed to the one already lowered, the whole pipe is lowered again and so on.

By that the drill pipe gets elongated in steps of 30 m until it reaches the sea floor. Therefore, for a maximum drill depth of 9 km this process has to be repeated 300 times.

But how does that pipe fit into the ship?

Let’s do some calculations: 30,000 ft of pipe consist out of 1000 pieces of 300 ft.

If you want to build a shelf to hold these pieces, that shelf should have 32 boards, each one holding 32 pipes next to one another (32 x 32 equals about 1000). The pipes have a diameter of 14 cm, so the shelf has to be about 4.5 m (15 ft) wide and high (32 x 5 ½ in = 14 ft 8 in).

So the shelf would be 4.5 m (15 ft) wide, 4.5 m (15 ft) high and about 10 m (30 ft) long, and THAT fits neatly inside the JR!

The image below shows the storage of the drill pipe on the JR.

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JOIDES Resolution