Today’s oil and gas industry workers, including geologists who find crude oil and natural gas deposits; site supervisors who oversee field operations; and refiners, use computers and other technology to make their work easier, more efficient and less costly. And doing that is becoming easier as more and more technology is developed. Large oil companies have a definite advantage when it comes to using technology, since advanced technology costs more than small companies can afford. A lot of the technological innovations are not feasible except for big oil companies. But some pieces of technology are available to all, and even the small companies have latched onto them. Some of the top technologies in drilling include logging while drilling, horizontal drilling, “smart” drill bits, and new methods for recovering oil. Basic forms of logging while drilling, where a driller views the inside of the hole being drilled in one way or another, have been around for some time. Logging is used here in the form that you log, or check and write up, what is happening as it occurs. Keeping track of what you are hitting or missing helps in future drilling. There are various techniques of logging. Such techniques make drilling more efficient, meaning less money is spent on getting to crude oil, which eventually could lower consumer prices for oil-related products, such as gasoline.
Not all oil deposits are readily accessible to a traditional vertical well. In fact, in recent years many oil wells have been dug starting on one piece of land and crossing underneath a body of water to another piece of land to reach the deposit.
Surface drilling equipment is offset from the oil deposit. At the start of the drill process, the well is drilled vertically, then a few degrees at a time it turns whichever direction is needed to hit the deposit. Sometimes the arc of the well is great, other times less, depending on how sharp a turn has to be made.
The drilling part that actually tears or chips away at soil, rock and other materials as a well is dug, called a drill bit, is an essential tool to drilling a well. In recent years, technology advancements have made such tools more capable, longer lasting and less expensive. Newer bits, which have carbide teeth and are specially designed for different types of material, can go between 30,000 and 40,000 feet before needing to be replaced.Rotary drilling allows the use of fluids or drilling mud as rock is chipped away. The fluid washes out the drill hole as it goes, making the process more efficient. The fluid also stops an oil well from bursting forth unexpectedly (known as a “gusher”).
In the best conditions, nature helps oilfield workers bring their find to the surface after a well is drilled. After an initial surge, either large or small, pressure in the reserve decreases, meaning other methods must be used to get the rest.
One of those methods is artificial lift. With this method, a pump sucks oil into tubing which then feeds into a storage container on ground level. Several years back, walking beams-arms which pump back and forth like a teeter-totter to suck the oil upward were a common site in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, California and other oil-producing states. Another form of artificial lift involves pumping gas bubbles into oil to decrease its density, making it lighter and thereby allowing reservoir pressure to pump it out. Both of these methods leave much oil in the reservoir, meaning other methods must be employed to get the rest.
Water or gas injection are also alternative methods of bringing the oil to the surface. Ceramic rasher ring With gas injection into the top of the reservoir, a gas cap forms, forcing oil to the bottom and then pressuring it out. To use water flooding, water must be entered into another well site connected to the well being worked on. The water floods into all wells, forcing oil to the top, since oil floats on water. To see this, take any common oil, such as the kind found in most kitchens, and pour some into a cup of water. The two fluids stay separate with the oil on top even after vigorous mixing.
Natural gas can be pumped into a reservoir to mix with the oil, making it light enough to flow. Another option is to use a surfactant or soap-like substance ahead of water and behind the oil. The substance forms a barrier around the oil, and water behind the substance pushes the oil to the surface. The soapy substance also ensures a thorough gathering of oil.
Heat also can be used to get oil flowing. Up to a million times thicker than water, oil can be thinned by blasting steam into the reservoir. Barauni Water is first pumped off, then oil is gathered.