The drill string is lowered through a conduit (riser). The drill string consists of a drill bit, drill collar and drill pipe. Drill pipe sections are added at the surface as the well deepens. The drill passes through a system of safety valves called a Blowout Preventer (BOP) stack which contains the pressures in the well to prevent a blowout (escape of pressure into the annular casing between the casing and the drill pipe or into the hole).
Drilling fluid (mud) is pumped into the drill pipe from the surface and flows through small holes in the drill bit. The mud collects rock cuttings and flows up the annulus between the drill pipe and the casing where the rock is strained out and the mud is recirculated. The weight of the mud exerts a pressure on the rock and keeps the well under control.