Currently, oil is a big part of our everyday lives whether we pay it much attention or not. Petroleum powers our cars and heats our homes. It’s used to make the plastic and pave roads. The US alone uses upwards of 7.3 billion barrels of oil a year, but how is it collected?
Finding A Field
Engineers in geology and petroleum work together to study rocks in an area which is believed to have oil reserves. If they find an area with oil, and the amount of oil is promising, further study is done to determine just how much oil and the best way to extract it.
Environmental Impact Studies are also done, and local regulatory approval is required.
Types of Oil Wells
There are three main types of oil wells to drill the oil out of the ground: vertical, horizontal, and offshore wells. Vertical wells are what most people imagine an oil well to look like because they drill straight into the ground and are the least expensive type of drill to use. Horizontal wells will find oil that a vertical well might miss by taking a different horizontal path. Offshore wells are on a body of water and drill where oil was previously unattainable.
The Drilling Process
A drilling rig will push through many layers of dirt with the assistance of a piping rig that is pumping above it. A thick substance that is referred to as mud is going down the pipe to maintain the pressure while debris is collected that comes out of the hole. For the drill to go deeper, piping is continuously added to make sure they can extract as much oil as possible.
Wettability alteration can be used to strengthen the amount of oil production. Wettability enhances the extraction of oil andcauses water to swell within the site.The goal is to make sure the wettability alteration can adapt to its given environment for the best results.
A pipeline is the most common form of transport and is much more efficient than a truck or a train. Trains are a growing more common as a form of transportation because of their ability to move across country with a lot of oil at one time, though.
When the oil is collected in its original state (crude oil) it is then boiled until the oils separate. This process helps to create some of the products we useevery day (diesel fuel, gasoline, etc.). The remaining oil is boiled further until a cool layer forms on top of the hot layer to be turned back into liquid, and heavy oils are converted into more useful oils through cracking (here heavy molecules are broken into lighter ones with heat, pressure, or a catalyst).
All the oil that is useful for automobiles, houses and other pieces of equipment will collect the final product of these processes at the gas station, store, or a shipment that arrives. Since oil reserves are predicted to run out within 40 to 60 years, multiple different forms of energy are being sought out by scientists.