Natural gas and oil lie deep beneath the earth’s surface, which complicates the oil drilling process. To reach the fuel deposits, oil companies drill a hole through the earth’s crust. In this post, we explain how the oil drilling process works.
Locating oil reserves
The first step is to find oil. This is the job of geologists, who identify the right conditions for an oil trap. They examine surface rocks, surface features and soil types using a variety of techniques including satellite images, gravity meters, smell detection, and seismic surveys. Once geologists spot a reservoir of oil, they mark the spot using GPS coordinates or with the help of marker buoys.
Oil drill preparation
In this phase, scientists survey the site to demarcate its boundaries and assess the environmental impact. The oil company might need lease agreements, titles, and access before it can begin drilling. Once the legal issues are sorted, the drilling crew begins preparing the land.
They begin by clearing and levelling the land. As water is an important part of the drilling process, they must locate a source of water or drill a water well if needed. They will then dig a reserve pit, which will be used to dispose of drilling mud and rock cuttings while the drilling is in process.
Drilling the hole
The first step of the oil drilling process is to drill a hole through the earth’s crust. This process calls for a drill string featuring a long bit, which is available in diameters ranging from 5 to 50 inches. Once the hole is drilled, a steel pipe of a smaller diameter is inserted, while the gap around the pipe is filled with cement. This ensures the steel casing remains stable.
The drilling process begins
As part of the oil drilling process, the operators usually fill the hole with “mud”, a mixture of fluids, solids and chemicals to help lubricate the rotating bit and get rid of the broken rocks. New pipes are added to the drill string as the bit goes deeper. For a secure connection, the operators screw pipe connections together to ensure they do not separate in the well.
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