What’s the upstream oil & gas business?
How are oil & gasoline resources discovered?
Canada complete database
Surface and mineral rights
What jobs are concerned in drilling a effectively?
How are wells drilled?
Making a gap
Cores & cuttings
Logging & testing
Completion & servicing
Pipeling & processing
What’s the upstream oil & fuel business?
Whenever you fill up your car with gasoline or pay your pure gasoline heating invoice, you might be the ultimate link in an extended chain of companies that make it potential for us to enjoy these clear, handy and economical types of vitality. The entire chain is known because the petroleum industry. However, the industry is often divided into three main components: upstream, midstream and downstream.
Theupstream trade finds and produces crude oil and pure gasoline. The upstream is typically identified as the exploration and production (E&P) sector. As a result of Alberta accounts for greater than eighty per cent of Canada oil and gas manufacturing, many upstream businesses are primarily based in Alberta and most have their head offices in Calgary.
Themidstream trade processes, stores, markets and transports commodities reminiscent of crude oil, pure fuel, natural fuel liquids (NGLs, primarily ethane, propane and butane) and sulphur. The midstream gives the very important link between the far-flung petroleum producing areas and the population centres where most shoppers are located. In Canada, transmission pipeline corporations are a significant part of the midstream petroleum business. Most of those companies are also primarily based in Calgary, though their actions extend throughout the nation, into the United States and typically abroad.
Thedownstream business contains oil refineries, petrochemical plants, petroleum products distributors, retail shops and natural fuel distribution firms. Though many downstream companies are headquartered in Calgary, the biggest centres of exercise are close to Sarnia, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta. The downstream trade touches every province and territory-wherever customers are located-and provides thousands of merchandise comparable to gasoline, diesel, jet gas, heating oil, asphalt, lubricants, synthetic rubber, plastics, fertilizers, antifreeze, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, natural gasoline and propane.
The upstream petroleum industry in Canada consists of greater than 1,000 exploration and manufacturing companies as well as tons of of associated service companies such as seismic and drilling contractors, service rig operators, engineering companies and numerous scientific, technical, service and provide companies.
Upstream industry revenues totaled $sixty three billion in 2000, of which fifty three per cent came from the sale of crude oil. The remainder was from sales of pure fuel, pure fuel liquids and sulphur. About half of Canada oil and gasoline production is exported to the United States. Canada is self-enough in natural fuel-supplying just about all home markets with domestically produced pure gas-however imports of crude oil into Japanese Canada account for about 40 per cent of the nation oil provide.
The Canadian upstream petroleum industry has attained a global popularity for excellence in many areas together with:
How areoil & gasoline resources discovered?
The seek for oil and gas begins with aerial surveys and surface statement by geologists and geophysicists to see if an space has the sort of the rock formations that might contain petroleum. Companies then conduct seismic surveys or buy seismic knowledge from different companies to get a better picture of the underground rock formations.
In a seismic survey, the geophysical contractor crew lays out a line (or several traces) of delicate receivers, referred to as geophones or 鈥渏ugs,on the ground. Then explosions or mechanical vibrations are created on the floor. The geophones document the power mirrored again as seismic waves from rock layers at various depths. Geophysicists use highly effective computer systems to process the data from digitally recorded seismic surveys. Pc-assisted processing of the data creates a picture of the sedimentary constructions below and ideally reveals the situation and extent of porous layers inside these constructions.
Geophysicists and geologists look at the seismic information for the presence of suitable traps and for similarities with other petroleum-producing areas. If the outcomes seem promising, they use the seismic information to find and drill a nicely.
Canada complete database
Due to long-standing and shut cooperation amongst business, authorities and educational scientists, Canada is thought to be having probably the most complete information about its petroleum sources of any country in the world. Early necessities to file accurately every kind of knowledge from the 650,000 wells drilled up to now in Canada have given us a particularly worthwhile and reliable database that can be utilized rapidly and cheaply.
With the introduction of computerized industrial databases, new drilling prospects can be generated, producing fields could be optimized and field operations scrutinized
Surface & mineral rights
Access to land, and the minerals beneath it, is required in order to drill a nicely. Oil company land departments negotiate access with homeowners and federal or provincial governments. Specialised employees, generally known as landmen (who may be male or female), are answerable for all these negotiations. No exploration or production activity can happen with out the necessary permissions.
What jobs are concerned in drilling a properly?
About seventy five staff are straight employed by the drilling of 1 nicely, though solely 4 to seven could also be on duty at the rig at any given time. The actual number can vary considerably, relying on the type of properly being drilled.
The personnel employed at various instances throughout drilling may embody:
The rigs operate across the clock, seven days per week, and the crews usually work 12-hour shifts for two weeks and then have a week off. The workers sometimes reside in a temporary camp on site.
How are wells drilled?
The only way to determine whether or not a rock formation really contains oil or gas is to drill a well. There are about 690 energetic drilling rigs in Canada. Most rigs are owned by contractors who promote their companies to exploration and manufacturing firms.
There are lots of different types of drilling rigs. The smallest are mounted on trucks, whereas the biggest are installed on ships or offshore platforms. Some are specifically equipped for sour gas exploration, Arctic operations, slanted holes or horizontal drilling.
As a normal rule, the larger the rig, the deeper it might drill. Land-primarily based rigs will be rapidly assembled and taken apart in sections for shifting between areas, although this may require up to 50 semi-trailers for the most important.
Drillers call drilling making gap. The basic process is straightforward. A revolving steel bit at the underside of a string of pipe grinds a gap by the rock layers. The bit could also be studded with tungsten carbide or industrial diamonds to scale back bit wear and penetrate harder rock formations.
A fluid referred to as drilling mud lubricates the bit, removes cuttings, circumstances the nicely bore and stabilizes the pressure in the opening. The mud, a suspension of chemicals and minerals corresponding to bentonite clay in water or sometimes oil, is pumped down the drill pipe. It circulates again to the floor by the house outside the pipe, known because the annulus. The mud recirculates after cuttings are eliminated by a vibrating display screen called the shale shaker.
Sometimes, wells are drilled with out mud to increase penetration charges and to keep away from contacting sensitive rock formations with water. In so-known as air drilling, compressed air removes the cuttings.
Alternatively, drillers can acquire many of the same advantages through underbalanced drilling-utilizing mud lightened by the addition of nitrogen or other gasoline. Underbalanced drilling has change into more and more widespread in western Canada because it minimizes harm to the producing reservoir. This is particularly useful in clay formations. Clays can collapse into the properly bore or swell up when contacted with fresh-water-primarily based drilling fluids. Underbalanced drilling prevents the invasion of the drilling fluid into the reservoir and permits oil to be produced extra effectively.
As the bit penetrates deeper, the crew threads extra pipe onto the highest of the string. Sections of pipe are sometimes 9.5 metres long, but may be longer. Pipe diameters and wall thickness range, depending on effectively depth.
On most land-primarily based rigs, a rotary desk on the rig floor rotates the drill string to rotate the drill bit. Nevertheless, most offshore items and an rising variety of land rigs use prime drives-hydraulic or electric motors suspended above the drill string. In some situations, the bit might be turned by a mud motor, a downhole hydraulic drive which is inserted above the bit at the underside of the string. It receives power from the mud circulate. This is the technique used in horizontal drilling.
Wells are normally drilled in stages, beginning with a surface gap drilled to succeed in a depth anyplace from 60 to four hundred metres, relying on ultimate nicely depth and space circumstances. This is named pudding inthe well. The crew then pulls out the drill string and inserts steel pipe, referred to as floor casing, which is cemented in place to maintain the wall from caving in. It controls the return stream of mud and other fluids encountered during drilling and in addition prevents contamination of groundwater aquifers.
Blowout preventer (BOP) devices are typically put in on the highest of the casing, under the rig ground. BOPs are giant valves that help include the fluid and fuel pressure within the nicely. One kind of BOP can seal off the space between the drill pipe and the casing (the annulus) if the drill pipe is still in the opening. One other can shear off the drill pipe and thus seal off the complete nicely, while a third can seal off the properly if no drill pipe is in the outlet. If the nicely is prone to encounter high pressures, several of these BOPs could also be mounted in a BOP stack.
Opposite to the image portrayed in old motion pictures, drillers do their finest to avoid uncontrolled releases, generally known as ushersor blowouts. Blowouts waste priceless sources and often damage the surroundings. Some blowouts might release foul-smelling sour gasoline containing toxic hydrogen sulphide, which could be a serious hazard for staff, nearby populations and environments. Blowouts may be enormously expensive to convey below management. Crews are trained to make use of BOPs and drilling fluid to scale back the frequency and severity of blowouts.
Some wells are designated as vital bitter fuel wells because they have the potential for releases of hydrogen sulphide which may have an effect on close by residents. Firms and governments require emergency response planning, public session, security equipment and worker training for crucial sour fuel operations. When the drill bit enters the vital zone in a nicely the place sour fuel will doubtless be encountered, extra precautions could embody offering breathing apparatuses for rig personnel and notifying folks living nearby.
After setting surface casing and put in the BOPs, the crew resumes drilling. A probe for shallow gas or heavy oil in jap Alberta or Saskatchewan may require solely two or three days to drill 450 metres by way of gentle shale and sandstone to the goal depth. However, a rig may match eight months or more to penetrate four,500 metres or extra through onerous, complex rocks within the foothills of the Rockies.
The drill bit column could also be a number of kilometres deep by the time high-pressure fuel deposits are reached. The burden of the drilling fluid will be increased by adding heavy minerals resembling bentonite clay to the mixture. Drillers try to maintain the mud heavy sufficient to hold again gasoline from entering the opening, but not so heavy that the mud will penetrate into the reservoir enough to damage it.
If the reservoir pressure is higher than the pressure exerted by the mud column, some gas may enter the properly bore. This is named a kick and have to be managed to stop a blowout. Kicks are detected by sensitive devices which monitor the mud stream and composition and the mud tank ranges. Drillers control most kicks simply by managing the mud stream and growing the weight of the mud.
Cores & cuttings
When a well is drilled, small rock chips known as cuttings are recovered from the drilling fluid. These are items of rock floor up and damaged off by the drill bit because it cuts into the earth. Geologists, geochemists and paleonologists (scientists who study pollens and small fossils) look at the cuttings to learn extra in regards to the age, chemistry, porosity, permeability and different properties of the subsurface rock formations.
Larger, extra steady cylindrical rock samples, called cores, can also be reduce using a special coring bit. Though coring provides to the price of the well, laboratory analysis and visual examination of the core present additional essential details concerning the basin history, the composition and physical characteristics of the rock and any fluids contained within it.
Logging & testing
Throughout drilling, various logs are plotted to file the well progress, like a ship log. The file consists of information about the kind and thickness of rock layers, primarily based on the wellsite geologist examination of cuttings dropped at the surface throughout drilling. The speed of penetration is one other indicator.
The primary signal of doable success is normally a rise in the rate of penetration adopted by the looks of oil or gas traces in cuttings. If more information is needed about the rocks, a particular cylindrical bit may be used to cut a core sample for analysis by geologists, reservoir engineers, geochemists and paleonologists.
Further data is obtained by decreasing a package deal of devices, called wireline logging instruments, into the nicely bore. The instruments file and transmit info concerning the rock layersthickness, porosity and permeability and the composition of the fluids (oil, fuel or water) contained in them.
A logging instrument may also be mounted on the string above the bit to send information constantly during drilling. It sends signals to the floor via pulses, like sonar indicators, in the mud. Another instrument, called a measurement while drilling (MWD) software, can similarly measure the direction and exact location of the bit while drilling horizontal wells.
Another frequent manner to find out potential oil or gasoline manufacturing is the drillstem check, utilizing a special instrument instead of the bit on the top of the string. The device has valves and rubber sleeves, called packers, that can be controlled from the floor. First, the packers are expanded to isolate the section of the outlet to be tested. Next, valves on the tool are opened, allowing liquids or fuel from the formation to circulation into the empty drill pipe. This provides a great indication of the kind and volume of the fluids in the formation, their pressure and price of movement.
If exams point out the nicely is a dry hole, not capable of producing commercial portions of oil and gasoline, the drilling crew plugs the effectively bore with cement and cleans up the location. An identical process is adopted if a producing properly is now not economical to operate.
Completion & servicing
After exploration has positioned a reservoir of oil or gas, the working company production department takes over the task of supervising the companies required to convey the resource to the floor. Oil is just not produced from underground lakes. Somewhat, the oil is contained in the pores of certain sedimentary rocks in the same method that water is held in a sponge.
Completion is the procedure by which a profitable well is readied for production. The first step for most wells in Canada is the set up of production casing. Open hole completion, hardly ever utilized in Canada, does not use production casing.
The casing-tubular steel pipe connected by threads and couplings-strains the overall size of the effectively bore to ensure secure control of manufacturing, prevent water entering the effectively bore and keep rock formations from loughinginto the nicely bore. Manufacturing casing is cemented in place by pumping a cement mixture into the casing and forcing the cement back up the annular house, between the casing and effectively bore. The duty should be done rapidly but carefully, as a result of a poor cement job can adversely have an effect on the producing formation.
As soon as the cement has set, the drilling rig is usually moved and a smaller, truck-mounted service rig is introduced in to finish the properly. There are about 870service rigs in Canada. In addition they return to wells periodically to perform upkeep, change equipment or enhance production.
The second step is the installation of the manufacturing tubing. Production tubing is steel pipe smaller in diameter than the manufacturing casing. It’s lowered into the casing and held in place by packers which additionally isolate the producing layers of rock. The tubing hangs from a surface set up called the wellhead. The wellhead contains valves, chokes and stress gauges, and makes it attainable to regulate manufacturing from the well.
The third step is to perforate the nicely. The casing prevents the opening from collapsing, but it surely prevents the oil or gasoline from entering the nicely bore. Due to this fact, holes are made by way of the casing and into the formation. That is normally accomplished with an explosive device that’s lowered into the well on an electrical wireline to the required depth. This machine, a group of explosive expenses in a special service, is known as a perforating gun. An electrical impulse fires the fees to perforate the casing, surrounding cement and reservoir rock.
Whereas some oil wells include enough pressure to push oil to the floor, most oil wells drilled immediately require pumping. This is also called synthetic lift.
If a well requires it, a pump is lowered down the tubing to the bottom of the well on a string of steel rods, referred to because the rod string. The rod string is hung from the wellhead and connected to a drive unit and motor on the surface. The rod string conveys energy to the pump both by rotating or moving up and down, depending on the type of pump employed. Submersible pumps are used on some wells.
In lots of oil and gas wells, one additional step is required-stimulating the formation by bodily or chemical means in order that hydrocarbons can move extra easily to the effectively bore through the pores or fractures in the reservoir. This is usually achieved earlier than putting in a pump or when the pump is removed for upkeep.
Acidizing, one form of stimulation, is the injection of acids below strain into the rock formation by means of the production tubing and perforations. Hydrochloric acid, for instance, is particularly effective in dissolving portions of limestone and dolomite. This creates channels past the perforations for oil to flow again to the properly.
Fracturing or racingis one other common method of stimulation. A fluid akin to water or an oil product is pumped down the opening underneath sufficient pressure to create cracks in the formation. A hard materials-like sand, glass beads, aluminum pellets, even walnut shells-is injected with the fluid. Because the fluid disperses, this material remains to prop open the cracks.
Coiled tubing has been an essential innovation in well completion and servicing. Coiled tubing is a jointless, excessive-strain-rated hollow steel cylinder. Production tubing is historically made up of joined sections of pipe, just like the string of pipe used for drilling; but coiled tubing is now additionally used on this utility. It’s brought to the wellsite on reels holding as much as 19,000 metres. Special gear is used to insert the tubing by the wellhead into the nicely bore. This technique is considerably quicker and extra environment friendly than joining sections of pipe.
Coiled tubing has additionally proved helpful in different applications comparable to properly stimulation and under-balanced drilling. Coiled tubing may even be used with downhole motors (driven by mud circulation) for sure kinds of drilling reminiscent of horizontal re-entries. On the Hibernia platform off Newfoundland, coiled tubing is used for quite a lot of completion and servicing duties.
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Pipelining & Processing
All natural fuel production in Canada is linked to processing services and ultimately to markets by buried pipelines. Some crude oil manufacturing is trucked to the nearest processing facility (called a battery) or pipeline terminal. Pipelines serving wells and amenities in the upstream petroleum industry are known as flowlines or gathering programs.
Oil and fuel companies operate greater than 200,000 kilometres of flowlines and gathering methods in the producing areas of western Canada. These are relatively small pipelines-2 to 24 inches, or 50 to 600 millimetres, in diameter. About 60 per cent of the gathering lines in Alberta carry pure fuel and pure gasoline liquids. Processing facilities separate the uncooked petroleum into marketable commodities and by-merchandise. If the oil or fuel contains sulphur compounds, it’s termed ourand requires particular gear and procedures. Sulphur compounds are extremely corrosive, so common upkeep and inspection of pipelines are significantly necessary. There are about 6,000 kilometres of pipelines in Alberta carrying sour fuel from about 2,000 producing sour fuel wells.
At gasoline processing plants, sulphur compounds and liquids are removed from natural fuel by chemical and bodily processes involving heat, cooling and catalysts. Plants dealing with giant volumes of bitter gasoline include sulphur recovery amenities to provide elemental sulphur for sale to the fertilizer manufacturers and other industries.
Of the nearly 300 fuel processing plants in Alberta, greater than 60 are massive amenities that produce elemental sulphur as a byproduct. The British Columbia sour gas trade consists of three large sulphur restoration plants, four smaller subject plants and greater than four,600 kilometres of bitter gas pipelines.
Found and produced along with crude oil are various portions of pure gas, known as related fuel or resolution fuel. This gas may be directed to processing plants or flared if quantities are too small to justify recovery. In the 1990s, there was a sharp reduction in the proportion of solution gasoline that is flared. This has been accomplished to conserve economically priceless product and to cut back air emissions.