What Is a Kelly Driver and How Does It Work

Kelly drive is a piece of equipment used in drilling wells for production of natural fuel resources such as gas and oil. A pipe-like shape is also used in drilling wells for water purpose. The steel pipe, which is placed between swivel and drill pipe on the top of the drill, is used to dig earth and get oil and gas. The drive has been used since old wood structured tools have become obsolete. Kelly drive has made drilling of wells more efficient and expedited the process of oil and gas production.


  • 1

    Kelly drive is a piece of a pipe that is placed on top of a drilling pipe between swivel and drill pipe. These are the essential pieces of equipment used for drilling wells for oil, gas and water production.

  • 2

    Kelly drive is part of the technological advancements that have made the drilling process very easy. It has increased the well drilling time efficiency and has helped increase oil and gas production. The equipment is equally effective in drilling wells for production of water, either for human consumption or industrial use.

  • 3

    When it comes to drilling, several pipes have to be joined together to form one large pipe. As the depth of the well increases, more pipes are attached to keep the process running. The kelly holds the top joint of the drill pipe and a mixture of clay and water is pumped through it.

  • 4

    As far as drilling a well is concerned, Kelly drive does not directly contribute to it. It is a hexagonal shaped steel pipe that supplements the main drill rig. Hence, the drilling process speeds up and overall a well gets ready quickly.

  • 5

    Kelly drive helps in rotation of the main steel pipe. The pipe is hanged down from the swivel, a piece that is used to support the drilling pipe. Since Kelly drive is attached to drill pipe itself, it allows rotary table to revolve, while it remains stationary. The entire procedure supports the drill pipe to enter the ground to the desired level.

  • 6

    To understand how Kelly drive mechanism works, having an understanding of how well drilling equipment works is essential. While the drive is a key part of the entire equipment, its working cannot be understood as a lone piece. It has to be taken in the context of how the entire system is tuned. At the end, all the pieces of equipment are dependent on each other.

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