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The Question:

In the oil drilling industry there is a term called "spudding." What is it and how does it work?

The Answer:

To spud comes from the Middle English word, "spudde" meaning a short knife. In oil drilling "spudding" means the very start of drilling on a new well. Check out Infoplease's oil spill glossary, written after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. In addition, the American Petroleum Institute offers the following definitions using the word spud:

Spud Contractor Name

The name of the contractor spudding the well.

Spud Date

The day when the drilling bit penetrates the surface utilizing a drilling rig capable of drilling the well to the authorized total depth.

Spud Time

The actual time (hours and minutes) when the drilling bit penetrates the surface utilizing a drilling rig capable of drilling the well to the authorized depth.

Spudding In

The very beginning of drilling operations of a new well.

—The Editors


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