Definition - What does Snubber mean?

A Snubber, also known as slip, is a device which is used to hold or grip the drill string when it is inserted into the wellbore. It ensures that the drill string is suspended in a rotary table and is not damaged. It has steel wedges (two or three) which are hinged together to form a circle near the drill pipe. Snubbers also help in suppressing the effect of pressure surges and pressure pulse from the medium in the wellbore.

Petropedia explains Snubber

Snubbers are designed to withstand temperatures and pressure of up to 120 degree Celsius and 400 bars respectively. There are two types of snubbers:

  • Stationary Snubber– This type is used when the snubbing operation needs to be performed under light pipe conditions. The orientation of the snubber is in hold down position to grip the drill string with the force acting in the upward direction on it.
  • Travelling Snubber – It is also used when the snubbing operation needs to be performed under light pipe conditions; however, the orientation of the snubber in this case is in a way such that the force acts in same direction to the hold down position of the gripped drill string.
Both types of Snubbers work in tandem to carry out the work. Basically four slip bowls are used in this process. ‘Pipe heavy’ and ‘Pipe light’ are two terms given to the operations carried out using the slip bowls. When the tubular weight in the well is less than the wellbore force, it is known as Pipe light; in other case it is Pipe heavy (in this case either the fluid weight inside pipe is greater or the pipe had been snubbed enough).
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