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From Schlumberger Dictionary,

pipe dope

1. n. [Drilling]

A specially formulated blend of lubricating grease and fine metallic particles that prevents thread galling (a particular form of metal-to-metal damage) and seals the roots of threads. The American Petroleum Institute (API) specifies properties of pipe dope, including its coefficient of friction. The rig crew applies copious amounts of pipe dope to the drillpipe tool joints every time a connection is made.

See: connection, dope, tool joint


I've got a workover crew I use now and then that puts the 'c' in copious amounts of pipe dope. If you don't tell those hands to dial it down a notch they'd use a half a bucket to make a tubing trip; they dope rod pins and boxes, stripper rubbers, fittings, truck door hinges; everything. That goopy shit then gets everywhere. You can't walk within 20 feet of that rig without getting pipe dope on your clothes, in your hair, behind your ears; even on your teeth. They'll be a big blob of it in the strangest places on location and its worse than stepping in wet cow pies. You'll get it on your boots and drag it into your pickup floorboard, even on the seats.

Some rigs have safety meetings every morning before work, with these yahoos we have pipe dope formation damage meetings.

If you are a rig hand you can often soak your coveralls in gasoline, then produced salt water and dish soap, and most crude oil and oil-base mud will come out in the wash. They'll be brown splotches everywhere but your stuff will at least look like you work in the oil field and your peers won't make fun of you.

Pipe dope, on the other hand, is a bitch. Never, I repeat ever, wash anything that has pipe dope on it unless it is in a laundryman in a town you don't live in. And this only if you are wearing a ski mask while you are waiting for your stuff to come out of the drier. When your clothes are dry don't fold anything... get your shit, get in the truck and get out of town ASAP. What you've left behind in those washing machines is a jailable offense.

Some worms think they have to dope the outside of the damn pipe. Whatzzup with that?

When I was a kid roughnecking on drilling rigs, pipe dope was often a great source of 'entertainment' for hands. I saw people sit in it, seen the stuff put in steel toed boots, hardhats, polka-dot gloves and even on white bread sandwiches. I once watched two fellas wail on each other for 10 minutes because one of them doped the other one's steering wheel in his brand new pickup. Jackin' with people on the rig with pipe dope is a time honored tradition.

If a hand can find out where the new pipe dope brushes are stashed in the dog house they make really good back scratchers and can be used to scrub fingernails...that have pipe dope all over them. If your cooking ribs between connections, new dope brushes can be used to sop on the BBQ sauce but it might be a good idea to not let the tool pusher catch you doing that; the US shale oil phenomena has caused the price of dope brushes to go up to $250 each, over $310 in the Permian Basin.

Now days you can get designer pipe dope from the 'rope, soap and dope' store that is in different colors. I think besides black, brown and cobalt blue it now comes in red, rather, burgundy, the color of French wine. So far nothing in amber yellow, like Bud light.

When they start to make pipe dope that smells like cinnamon, that'll pretty much be it for me. I'll get out of the damn oilfield and find some lawns to mow.

My buddy, Gus.

Gus never walked past anything he didn't feel needed dopin'.


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