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Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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Tools

rotary drilling

1. n. [Drilling]
A method of making hole that relies on continuous circular motion of the bit to break rock at the bottom of the hole. This method, made popular after the discovery of the East Texas Field by "Dad" Joiner in 1930, is much more efficient than the alternative, cable tool drilling. Rotary drilling is a nearly continuous process, because cuttings are removed as drilling fluids circulate through the bit and up the wellbore to the surface. Cable tool operations are discontinuous and cuttings removal is inefficient. This difference in efficiency becomes particularly significant as hole depth increases.