Advanced Oil and Gas Technology

The oil and gas industry has always been driven by cutting edge technology. Dating back to the 1800s, companies in the US were using what was then the most modern technology to extract oil and gas reserves from wells found beneath the Earth’s surface.

As the United States grew and demand for more production, more manufacturing and more energy grew, the need for oil and gas increased.

Today, oil and gas continues to be a driver for the economy throughout the world. The US continues to be a leader in oil and gas production and recent advancements in technology have once again put the US on pace to become a leading producer of oil and gas.

Here is an overview of some of the technology used in the oil and gas industry.

Seismic Data

Geologists and other scientists to examine the layers of the Earth collect seismic data. This data is used in its various forms to help oil and gas prospectors find oil and gas reserves found beneath the Earth’s surface. The data is important to making operations as efficient as possible.

3D Seismic

3D seismic data provides geologists with multi-dimensional data about the layers of the Earth. The data provides volume along with other data points to give geologists a full image of what’s beneath the surface. 3D seismic data is the primary method for gathering information for oil and gas exploration today.

3D Seismic Reprocessing

Geological formations go through stages of exploration for oil and gas. There are often test wells drilled along with the seismic data collection. 3D seismic reprocessing is often used to reprocess initial information to confirm the quantity and quality of potential reserves.

4D Seismic

4D seismic technology has been around for some time and is now starting to see wider use. The data collected with 4D seismic collection can be used in reservoir management practices. The technology can also be used to analyze missed opportunity in reserves. 4D is often paired with other forms of data collection in oil and gas exploration.

AVO (Amplitude Versus Offset)

The concept of AVO or Amplitude Versus Offset began in the early 1900s, but became a main use for oil and gas exploration years later. AVO allows geologists to examine different aspects of underground rock formations including fluid content necessary for oil exploration.

Vertical Drilling

Vertical drilling was the main method used for drilling oil and gas reserves up until the 1970s. Vertical describes the downward directional nature of the drilling method although there have been deviations from absolutely vertical in the past.

While vertical drilling is still used today, rock formations and imperfections have forced those in the oil and gas industry to use different, more advanced drilling methods.

Directional Drilling

The concept of directional drilling started forming in the early 1900s. Difficult to access oil and gas reserves made it necessary for directional drilling technology to develop. Directional drilling allows companies to access the reserves at an angle allowing more reserves to be accessed when vertical drilling is impossible.

Horizontal Drilling

Horizontal drilling is part of directional drilling where a reservoir is accessed in a horizontal manner. It allows for more resources to be drained from a single source. For example, pay zones are normally horizontal or close to it. Accessing from a vertical angle gives only shallow access to the pay zone when horizontal drilling allows for access throughout the pay zone.

Hydraulic Fracturing in Horizontal Wells

Hydraulic fracturing is used in horizontal wells to allow companies more access to oil and gas. Reserves are often found in pores throughout rock formations such as shale. These pores are difficult to reach in most cases and often are not connected. Hydraulic fracturing is the process in which a horizontal well is drilled into the formation and a combination of liquid and sand are pumped into the shale. This procedure frees up the reserves making it easier to extract oil and gas and bring reserves to the surface for processing.

Reservoir Characterization

Reservoir characterization is the process for defining resources and elements within a particular oil and gas reservoir. Characterization can determine the quality of the reservoir giving geologists information to make decisions.

Reservoir Simulation

As part of the exploration process, geologists use reservoir simulation to predict the movement of fluid through targeted rock formations. The computer simulation allows teams to better understand how the reserves will react when it comes time to drilling. This practice leads to better well efficiency.

Reservoir Recovery Methods

  • Acidizing

Acidizing is a method for expanding pores within reservoirs. The process makes it easier for oil and gas reserves to be brought to surface by making it easier for flow to occur from the source.

  • Gas injection

Stimulating crude oil and gas is a major part of the oil and gas industry today. Gas injection is another method used to stimulate reserves so they can flow and be extracted easily. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are two gases used to stimulate oil and gas reserves.

  • Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is the method of taking pressurized fluid – water and sand – to create pathways for oil and gas to flow through rock formations or shale.

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