Oil and gas exploration and production involves significant risks. Resources found in oil- and gas-rich rock formations fluctuate and can be depleted faster than the rate of discovery. Oil and gas companies must constantly innovate and find new drilling locations to maintain production.
The petroleum industry is a rapidly evolving sector. New discoveries and technologies have reshaped the global industry, creating many new opportunities for companies that can stay one step ahead.
This course will explore the history, geology, and economics of oil and gas exploration and production. You’ll learn the terminology and concepts associated with this dynamic industry, and discover what opportunities exist for those who have the drive to succeed in this sector.
What is the history of the petroleum industry?
The discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1853 sparked the oil industry. Before then, oil was used primarily as a lighting and heating fuel. The discovery of multiple oil fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio in the 1850s quickly led to a scramble for oil. By the end of that decade, oil was being harvested in Ohio. By the start of the 20th century, the United States was exporting oil and developing oil fields around the world.
Where do we get oil and gas from?
We get oil and gas from rock formations, also known as reservoirs. Oil and gas are held in rock formations under the Earth’s surface. Sometimes oil and gas come from multiple reservoirs together in what is called a geologic formation. Other times oil and gas come from a single reservoir together with other hydrocarbons, salts and non-hydrocarbons.
Reservoirs are classified according to their age. Primary or conventional reservoirs are those that have been producing oil or gas continuously for one year or more. Secondary reservoirs have produced oil or gas in the past, but are currently non-productive. Finally, tertiary reservoirs have never produced either oil or gas.
What is tight oil and gas?
Tight oil is a term used to describe oil and natural gas that is found in rock formations with higher porosity (p). Tight oil reservoirs have a higher degree of open-space relative to their rock formation. This means that there is an abundance of pores and fissures in the rock, which can be exploited with more effective drilling technologies.
The term tight is related to the fact that this type of oil does not naturally flow very far beneath the Earth’s surface. Unlike conventional oil reservoirs, which produce large quantities of oil that can be pumped through a well, tight formations produce much smaller quantities that must be collected and processed through techniques such as fracking.
What are the different types of oil and gas wells?
Well types - There are many different types of oil and gas wells, each with its own unique characteristics. When searching for new oil and gas wells, it’s important to be aware of the types of wells available so you can make an informed decision. Below are the most common types of wells.
Conventional Well - A conventional well is the traditional method for oil and gas exploration. Conventional wells requirefracementing the rock formations containing the petroleum deposits to gain access to the hydrocarbons within. Conventional wells are often vertical, although they can be horizontal.
Artic Well - An artic well is a well that taps an offshore oil field. An artic well is drilled into the seabed and connected to a production platform. In this case, the production platform is the wellhead.
Vertical Well - A vertical well is drilled into a rock formation and inclined at a 60 degree angle. The goal is to intersect hydrocarbons in the rock formation at or near the well’s depth.
Horizontal Well - A horizontal well is drilled in adirection parallel to the Earth’s surface. The goal is to intersect hydrocarbons in the rock formation at or near the well’s depth.
Is the petroleum industry a reliable source of oil and gas?
Yes, the petroleum industry is a reliable source of oil and gas. The United States has a wide range of oil and gas resources. Moreover, these resources are distributed fairly evenly throughout the country. The United States has the largest proven reserves of any country.
These facts and figures are encouraging for the future of the petroleum industry. The United States has one of the most advanced and versatile petroleum industries in the world.
What are the challenges of the petroleum industry?
Environmental Protection - The production and refining of crude oil and natural gas results in a significant amount of pollution. There are several challenges associated with reducing these emissions, including finding new sources of energy without polluting the environment and finding safe and responsible ways to produce and use energy.
Economic Factors - The petroleum industry is a capital-intensive industry. In order to maintain production, companies must continually invest in new drilling locations and in refining existing wells. This means that the petroleum industry is vulnerable to economic factors such as poor investments, low oil prices, and high unemployment.
Is the petroleum industry going through a revolution?
Yes, the petroleum industry is going through a revolution. Advances in drilling techniques have led to an abundance of oil and gas discoveries in recent years. As a result, the future of the petroleum industry is very exciting. New discoveries and technologies have created many opportunities for those who can stay one step ahead.