Key Differences Between Offshore Drilling and Onshore Drilling


To those not entirely familiar with the industry, it may appear that the only difference between onshore drilling and offshore drilling is that one is on land and one is not. There is, however, an abundance of differences between the two. If you are in or thinking about getting involved in, the drilling industry, it is essential to thoroughly understand what separates one from the other.

Onshore Drilling

Explained simply, onshore drilling is drilling that takes place at a seabed. Coastal communities often benefit from this type of business. Onshore drilling sites are found across the Atlantic coast in the United States. Drilling can happen in a couple of different ways. There is mobile onshore drilling and conventional onshore drilling.

Mobile onshore drilling utilizes trucks or rigs mounted on trailers to transport equipment. Pipe storage is especially important in mobile drilling, as the equipment is taken from one location to another. Mobile rigs can reach depths of over 100,000 feet. Conventional onshore drilling features an immobilized rig that can reach around 30,000 feet into the ground. Most of the crude oil production in the world comes from onshore drilling, as opposed to offshore. If you are going to be involved in this type of business, it is best to make connections with some reliable drill pipe inspection companies in order to best maintain your equipment.

Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling occurs farther away from land. Oil companies set up rigs in the water, creating deep, deep wells that can last for up to a couple of decades. Building these rigs and drilling for oil takes a lot of time, money, and manpower. Offshore sites have a few different integral locations — crew quarters, derricks, and more. Pipe storage should be prioritized when planning for offshore drilling, as transporting equipment is definitively more difficult when the drilling takes place in the water.

To avoid floating away, rigs either must anchor themselves to a manmade platform or, if in deeper waters, find another way of hunkering down. According to, about 565 million barrels are extracted annually using offshore drilling in the United States.

The Similarities

Though onshore drilling and offshore drilling are different, there are a few things that tie them together. Equipment is one of the main similarities, with the primary difference in equipment being the drilling platform used for offshore drilling. Both methods can be used for similar types of exploratory extraction processes, and both take a lot of time to prepare for.

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