Oil and Gas Production and Processes Involved

What is oil and gas production?
This entails extracting of hydrocarbons and separating the mixture of liquid hydrocarbons, fluids such as oil gas and water as well as solids, eliminating the elements that are non-viable, and selling the viable ones such as the liquid hydrocarbons and gas. Production areas mostly contain crude oil in numerous wells. Oil is then taken for refining at refineries; natural gas is often processed to get rid of impurities either at the site or taken to a natural gas processing industries.

The oil and gas production processes involve some crucial activities which are experienced during every project stage.

These phases follow the following category:

  1. a) The survey/exploration phase
  2. b) The drilling/well development phase
  3. c) The production stage and finally,
  4. d) The takeout phase/decommissioning or site abandonment phase.

This article will highlight the important things that are involved in each phase.

  1. The survey/exploration phase

Under this phase, a search is conducted for the rock formation that is linked with oil and gas components mainly by use of geophysical searching also known as experimental drilling.

Numerous activities are carried out during this phase which includes:

  • Plotting and mapping external and internal geologic components to find out where oil and gas is stored.
  • Gathering seismic information to assess geologic formation’s potential for containing economically producible amounts of oil and gas and ascertaining the exact location to drill an experimental well to evaluate the founding and
  • Drilling exploration and delineation wells to identify the areas where oil and gas accumulate as well as finding out the coverage in form of how thick the oil and gas bearing pool is.

Under this phase, there comes the need to have access road constructed or improved to enable a smooth running of the exploration activities.

Exploratory drilling is very crucial as it helps to verify the existence of hydrocarbons and whether the area has enough oil and gas to make it economically sustainable to develop.  The need for construction of roads is required as there is a need for access to the drilling area, bush clearing as well as ensuring the area is well leveled.

Experimental/exploratory drilling is:

  • The utilization of rotary machines and tough drill bits weighted and oiled by drilling lubricants, to allow for penetration into the rock surface.
  • Putting in place power-driven logs and gathering basic models to illustrate selected internal formations
  • Injecting sheath on every well to secure the interior of the well and regulate the flow of oil, gas, and water from the pool and
  • Fixing an oil platform at the exterior of the well to control and monitor the flow of oil, gas, and water and thwart possibly hazardous blowouts.
  1. The drilling/well development phase

This is the second phase that follows the exploration phase after an economically recoverable site is identified. Here the use of FieldAp is highly recommended as it helps with visual field development and cost management. Numerous wells are constructed from the inception via a process known as spudding which can be a sign of decommissioning if there is no hydrocarbons accumulation or to show that the well is completed as a result of the presence of enough amounts of hydrocarbons.

At this phase, the development of the site is fully done which involves the erection of well pads, roads, assembling of pipelines and other essential amenities.

The following drilling methods are carried out during this phase:

  1. a) flat/horizontal drilling.
  2. b) Multidimensional/multilateral drilling.
  3. c) Stretched/extended reach drilling and
  4. d) Composite/complex path drilling.

Ø  Flat/horizontal drilling
First, a vertical well is drilled the on reaching the reservoir rock it turns flat to pave way for enough wide hole to the reservoir. The flat legs can run up to a mile long since the longer the exposure length, the more oil and natural gas is drained and also to allow for faster flowing of the fluids; oil, and gas.

Ø  Multidimensional/multilateral drilling
There are situations where oil and gas accumulate separately underground. As multilateral drilling is done, it becomes easier for operators to easily reach the reservoir at diverse depths so as to allow more oil and gas to be produced from one well and minimize the number of wells drilled on the surface.

Ø  Stretched/extended reach drilling
This form of drilling allows operators to tap into deposits that are deeper away from the drilling rig. This makes it possible for the production of oil and gas deposits underground which cannot be reached via vertical drilling.

Ø  Composite/complex drilling
Composite well routes can have numerous twists which can enable the production of higher amounts of oil and gas from a single well site. In fact, this technology is believed to be more cost-effective as it minimizes waste and surface impacts than drilling many wells.

Ø   Site abandonment
This activity comes the last. Here, the well(s) are plugged and the site is restored if there are no enough quantities of oil and gas.

About the Author

Ali Dino
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