“I’m in the doghouse” has an entirely different meaning in the oil and natural gas industry. In fact, it’s a good thing. Doghouses are climate-controlled, ergonomically friendly work environments. You’ll find them next to the rig floor of a drilling operation.
The name might sound strange for a place of work, but when you consider it’s relatively small size compared to the rig, and it’s longstanding function as a storage house, it makes sense. These days, it could just as easily be called command central, because many critical tasks are performed inside.
These steel-sided shelters serve as the onsite office, communications center, rig top command center, tool and safety equipment storage, first aid station and extreme weather shelter.
Most days, you’ll find three workers inside.
Their surroundings are more advanced than ever with touchscreen applications and real-time drilling data at their fingertips around the clock.
The collected data is also available to offsite engineers, superintendents and geologists. They can access it anytime via smart phones, tablets and computers.
Inside the doghouse, the driller controls the rig from a specially designed chair with joysticks for drilling and pipe manipulation. The directional driller assists with the curve and direction of the wellbore. Modern technology allows them to monitor and control a multitude of drilling aspects, including pump pressures, flow rate, torque, RPM, weight on drill bit, total depth, and allows the directional driller to control and steer the bit. The accuracy and speed of the technology allows for monitoring, adjustments and rapid response when necessary.
Most importantly, these advancements have greatly improved worker safety on the rig.
The up-to-date data allows them to predict and analyze potential scenarios before they occur, which keeps them out of harm’s way.
Workers will tell you the doghouse serves as a welcome respite from the blistering Texas heat, wicked Oklahoma thunderstorms and frigid North Dakota winters. Through every season, it protects them from extreme weather conditions.
Whether it’s creature comforts like a coffee break, or a skillful change in direction due to geographical formation data, these doghouses are the reason drilling rigs are famous for staying operational year round. They’re incredibly efficient and continue to evolve with technology advancements.