Oilfield Production involves the extraction, transport and refinement of crude oil. It is a complex process and requires extensive knowledge of the products and processes.
Oil fields can be found throughout the world. They are dotted with drilling rigs, offshore platforms, pump jacks and other equipment used for exploration, extraction and production of petroleum.
Oilfield exploration involves determining whether there is potential for oil and gas to be found in a reservoir. This process involves reviewing and analyzing existing geological, geophysical, and other data to determine the reservoir’s potential for discovery.
Energy companies use this information to develop well designs that maximize production while minimizing the risks associated with drilling in an oilfield. Drilling exploratory wells is typically the most costly phase of an oilfield development project.
State regulations are in place to ensure that waste management practices for exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas are appropriate and protective of human health and the environment. EPA strongly encourages operators to evaluate and employ best management practices that are most suited for their project and local environmental requirements, and to integrate source reduction and recycling measures into their operations, where feasible.
Hydrocarbon exploration can be a high-risk activity, and risk assessment is critical for successful project portfolio management. This process uses a combination of geological, structural and seismic data to assign confidence in the presence of imperative geological factors, such as oil and gas.
Whether a well is drilled for exploration, appraisal or production, it must be drilled through different rock layers, minerals and materials to reach the reservoir of oil and gas. The process begins with a geologist determining the best location to drill.
Once a geologic target is determined, a drilling rig will move on to the site to drill the well. Once the well is drilled, a service rig (a smaller rig purpose-built for completions) will be moved on to the site to complete the well and get it up and running.
Once the oil or natural gas is produced, it will be extracted and transported to a processing plant. This will leave behind a land footprint of the drilling operation, but it is relatively low in comparison to the impact it had when first started.
Well completion is the process of making an oil or gas well ready to produce. It includes running casing down the hole, cementing it in place and hooking up the proper valves for pumping oil or gas out to pipeline or truck delivery to refineries.
There are a number of different types of well completions, all of which depend on the specific characteristics of the reservoir and production. They include:
Cased hole completions: This is the most common type of well completion and consists of production casing being run down the well bore through the formation. The sides of the casing are perforated with tiny holes along them facing the formation, allowing hydrocarbons to flow into the wellhole but still providing support and protection for the formation.
This method minimizes formation damage, gives control over sand and makes cleanout easy. It also makes selective stimulation possible and allows the well to be deepened.
Production in an oilfield involves separating the hydrocarbons that are naturally found within reservoir rocks. Often, the process involves fracturing the rock and the separation of the different components into their liquid and gaseous forms.
Once this process is complete, it is ready to be transported and refined to make it marketable. This may be done at the well site or through pipelines.
In addition to the oil, gas and water that can be extracted from an oilfield, there are sometimes other impurities that may need to be separated as well. These can include natural gas and sour gas.
This process of separating and treating oil, gas and other impurities is important to ensure that the well produces at its optimal rate while also meeting all health and safety regulations. It can also help reduce costs and increase productivity in the field.