Monday, 3 September 2018

Innovations in Oil Drilling

Horizontal Drilling:

A horizontal well is drilled deep down vertically at first, but then changes direction (at what is called the kick-off point) before it encounters the reservoir (at the entry point) and extends horizontally through it. But the advantages of horizontal drilling go beyond increasing well productivity. It also allows wells to be dug safely under environmentally sensitive and protected land.

Although the first horizontal well was drilled in 1929, they were expensive, and the development of hydraulic fracturing soon improved the productivity of vertical wells.

Measurement-while-drilling Systems:

MWD allows operators to receive real-time information on the status of drilling, as well as the ability to steer the well in other directions. It relates information such as gamma rays, temperature, and pressure, as well as the density and magnetic resonance of the rock formations. This serves a myriad of functions. It helps operators drill more efficiently while preventing blowouts and tool failures. It also helps operators show that they’re not drilling into unauthorized areas.

Seismic Imaging:

One of the most important innovations in oil exploration was 3-D seismic imaging. This relies on the idea that sound bounces off and travels through different materials in slightly different ways. In this process, an energy source such as a vibrator truck sends sound waves deep into the earth. Special devices called geophones are positioned on the surface, which receives the sounds that bounce back up and send the information to recorder trucks.

Hydraulic Fracturing:

To help stimulate the well and drive out the trapped oil, drillers employ hydraulic fracturing. In this process, they inject water combined with chemicals into the well with enough pressure to create fractures in the rock formations — fractures that can extend hundreds of feet long. To keep the fractures from closing again, drillers send down a proppant, which is a mixture of fluids, sand and pellets. These fractures allow oil to flow more freely from the rock.

Offshore Drilling and ROV’s:

One of the technologies that spurred the development of offshore drilling was remotely operated vehicles, or ROV’s, which the military was already using to retrieve lost equipment underwater. Because diving in deep water is dangerous, the oil industry adapted ROV’s for drilling in the 1970s.

Controlled from the rig above the water’s surface, an ROV is a robotic device that allows operators to see underwater. Some types allow the operator to make an ROV’s robotic arms perform different functions, such as subsea tie-ins and deep water installations, as deep as 10,000 feet (3,048 meters).

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