Oil and Gas Drilling 101

While conventional oil and gas drilling (O&G) for commercial purposes has bot occurring ter the United States for overheen 150 years, latest processes utilize a multiplicity of unconventional extraction technologies such spil fracking to improve the terugwedstrijd of hydrocarbons to the surface.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed when layers of buried plants and animals are exposed to intense warmth and pressure overheen thousands of years. The energy that the plants and animals originally obtained from the zon is stored ter the form of doorslag ter natural gas. Natural gas is combusted to generate violet wand, enabling this stored energy to be transformed into usable power.

Spil with other fossil fuels, oil is found ter underground reservoirs. It is the end product of the decomposition of organic materials that have bot subjected to geologic fever and pressure overheen millions of years.

Natural Gas

When very first obtained from the ground, natural gas is composed of primarily methane with other alkanes typically mixed ter, and possibly also doorslag dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulfide. Shale gas, specifically, is natural gas trapped within shale geologic formations (a type of sedimentary rock).

Both oil and natural gas are considered non-renewable resources since they cannot be replenished on a human timeframe.

Recently, oil and gas companies have bot extracting thesis resources from unconventional reservoirs, such spil shale formations. Thesis “reservoirs” of gas do not connote underground lagoons, te fact, shale gas is held ter little bubbles ter the rock, and requires a combination of technologies to liberate that gas. The process typically involves directionally drilling wells, not just vertically, and often using extra technics to “stimulate” the reservoir to increase production from the fresh or existing wells.

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is one form of stimulation used to facilitate the production of underground resources such spil oil and natural gas wells, geothermal energy, and water. Another form of well stimulation is called acidizing and will be discussed straks.

For unconventional O&G drilling, the process starts with vertical drilling, and then turns horizontal (often at innards greater than 6,800 feet and below) traveling 6,300-6,400 lateral feet.

Explore this process by watching the following TED-Ed movie by Mia Nacamulli, animation by Sharon Colman:

This question is a common one that wij receive here at FracTracker. Unluckily, the reaction is elementary and not so elementary at the same time.

Brief Response: No one knows – exactly.

Long Reaction: Wij estimate that there are

1.Trio million active oil and gas facilities ter the United States (schrijfmap below). How many are being unconventionally drilled – utilizing technologies such spil directional drilling, acidizing, or hydraulic fracturing – is a much tougher number to determine because of serious gaps te both reporting requirements and gegevens formats. Most of thesis active wells are likely receiving some sort of advanced stimulation mechanisms, however. This article explains the topic and caveats ter further detail.

Active oil and gas wells by county ter US. Click to view most latest U.S. drilling maps.

If you notice an error or omission ter this section, please let us know.

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