Everyone knows that the extraction of oil and fossil fuels is crucial to the operation of the modern world. But not many people know how those extractions take place. It’s a fascinating and technologically advanced process.
Here are the seven steps oil and natural gas extraction.
Step 1: Prepping the rig site
First, the aboveground infrastructure must be established. The most important considerations here are to make sure that the land is prepped for drilling and that roads are developed to maintain a steady flow of traffic to and from the site.
Step 2: Drilling
The first thing to occur here is that the drill rig is brought to the site. A well is then drilled down into the ground. First it is drilled to 100 feet below the deepest known aquifer with a steel casing put in place so there is no risk of pollution.
Then, the long hold is drilled, reaching a depth of about 1000 feet. It is then drilled horizontally, often a mile or two in distance along the same rock bed.
Unlike vertical drilling, horizontal drilling will minimize the impact and scale aboveground because it allows drillers to use just one drill pad. In the past, multiple drill pads and vertical drilling would be necessary to extract the same amount of product that can be extracted with just one drill pad today.
Step 3: Cementing and Testing
Once the target distance is reached, the drill pipe is removed, and steel pipe is pushed to the bottom. Rigorous tests are performed on this pipe to make leaks as less likely as possible.
Step 4: Well Completion
Before drillers can tap the oil and fossil fuels or natural gas, workers lower a perforating gun in the ground and fire it into the rock layer. This crates holes that connect the rock holding the oil and natural gas and the wellhead.
Step 5: Fracking
With the well open, it is now time for the oil and natural gas to start flowing. Specialized instruments fire a solution that is made up of water, sand and common chemicals are pumped through the holes to free oil and natural gas trapped inside.
This process may be done 20 to 30 times but only takes a few days to finish typically.
Step 6: Production and Fluid Recycling
When the fracking process is completed, the production process beings. Oil and natural gas flow up from the well, then the fracking fluid within is extracted and recycled for later extracting operations in the future.
Step 7: Well abandonment and land restoration
When all the oil and natural gas has been produced at a given well, the well is typically permanently plugged and the land is returned to the way it was before the drilling operation took place. Often, it is possible that the land can be restored to the way it was before the drilling occurred and is safe for both plant, animal and human life.