Get to know about Oil wells

What exactly is an oil well? This term can be applied to any drilling or orifice made in the crust of the surface of the earth, with the main purpose being the retrieval of petroleum oil, or other fossil fuels. Petroleum oil is usually not the only product that is retrieved. Sometimes, by-products like coal, precious metals, ore and mainly natural gas are bound to turn up in the substances found while drilling.

Oil wells were initially utilized hundreds of years ago in China. The Chinese people used ingenious contraptions, like sharpened bamboo sticks, to bore into the earth to procure oil. These holes would go hundreds of feet deep. They used the oil to evaporate seawater so that salt would remain behind. Ancient Chinese and Japanese documents show us that these people used oil for various purposes like heating, lighting, and other things. The Middle East started drilling for oil around the 8th – 9th century. From these early oil wells, apparently, thousands of shiploads of early crude oil supplies were available.

In today’s advanced economy, there are many types of oil wells. The most important classification of oil wells is that there are two types: land wells and off-shore wells. Off-shore wells are those that try and procure oil reserves that are beneath the ocean floor. On-shore wells happen to be far more numerous and less expensive. We can see on-shore wells predominantly in the southern United States, the middle-east and the Great Plains regions.

Another way to classify wells is the stage of the oil drilling process that the well deals with. Production wells are, just as the name indicates, intended for the simple production of oil and natural gas. Appraisal wells are utilized to examine the primary features and feasibility of a suspected oil well site. Exploration wells are bored so to explore previously untouched and unexamined territory for the possible existence of oil reserves. Wildcat wells are wells that exist beyond the province of existing oil wells.

Production wells are further sub-categorized functionally. Oil producers mainly operate in the area of liquid hydrocarbons, but the chances of finding some gaseous byproduct (natural gas) remain possible. Gas producers operate almost purely on gas products and gas reserves. Water injectors insert water so that the pressure within an oil well remains constant and maintained at the right level for extracting crude. They also are used for extracting the water that is produced in the run-off, after treatment, to protect the environment. Aquifer producers also help the oil well maintain optimum pressure. They basically act as substitutes and are on standby for emergencies, such as blowouts. Gas injectors are in charge of inserting gas into the mechanism for optimal balance.

The capital and working costs of an oil well are subjective to many factors. But basically we know that the setting up and running of oil wells are matters best left to governmental bodies and highly endowed private organizations. The working cost of a well for one day alone runs up to an outrageously high amount.

By Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer

Chris Termeer is an oil and gas consultant, industry commentator and analyst. His book, Fundamentals of Investing in Oil and Gas provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including exploration, drilling, production, storage, transportation and refining, to name but a few.

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