OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION IN NONTECHNICAL LANGUAGE PDF

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Oil And Gas Production In Nontechnical Language Pdf

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Oil & Gas Production in Nontechnical Language by Martin S. Raymond, , available at Book Depository with free delivery. Oil and Gas Production in Nontechnical Language Martin S. Raymond and William L. Leffler Disclaimer The recommendations, advice. Oil & Gas Production in Nontechnical Language [Martin S. Raymond, Dr. William L. Leffler] on cucurboldnegel.cf *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Completing the Well. Casing and Cementing. Production Concepts XXXV, p. Designed for easy reading and accessibility, this bestselling book by Norman Hyne provides an enormous amount of useful information on the upstream petroleum industry.

The new updated 3rd Edition includes a new chapter on unconventional oil and gas including gas shales , covers new well-logging The new second edition of this authoritative book has retained all the virtues of the best-selling original, explaining the unique challenges of oil and gas exploration and production in the world's deepwater provinces. New chapters on geology and geophysics, rigs, and service vehicles are Penn Well Corporation, Topics include the importance of the pipeline infrastructure; planning, Tract HuntsmanProduction Manager: Robin RemaleyAssistant Editor: Amethyst HensleyProduction Assistant: Amanda SeidersBook Designer: Includes index.

Oil wells. Gas wells. Petroleum engineering. Raymond, Martin. Oil and gas production in nontechnical language.

Oil and Gas Production in Nontechnical Language By Martin S Raymond and William L Leffler

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transcribed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, includingphotocopying and recording, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Nor do they fully appreciate the large sumsof capital put at risk.

They may not even realize that it is in productionoperations that all the upstream efforts of those companies turn intorevenue, into money. And that doesn'teven count the support services within the oil and gas companies. I don't doubt that in those specialized companies and support groupsthere are many, many people who want to and ought to know moreabout the processes of producing oil and gas. And I am also convincedthat if they did, both they and the companies they support would achievecontinuously increasing levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

This book by Leffler and Raymond is a broad leap across the gapbetween the mysteries of production operations and the need for betterunderstanding by those who help make it happen. This book won't tellengineers and operating people how to do their jobs, but it will make clearto people who have to deal with them what those engineers and operatingpeople are trying to achieve-and why.

Martin Raymond's long career in production and Bill Leffler's broad oiland gas background and credentials as a writer make them the right teamto create this essential book. John F. Continuing is hard. To petroleum engineers and geologists, the basics of oil and gasproduction are virtually second nature.

That's what they do. But what about the rest of theworld-the mud salesman, the informationtechnology specialist, the environmentalist, the accountant, the facilitiesengineer, the seismic crew member, the All these peoplehave to deal with petroleum engineers and geologists, providing the goodsand services. How do they get a grip on the challenges of extracting oiland gas from the ground? How do they relate announcements about newtechnologies and innovations to what their clients are currently doing?

And how does another group, those abruptly thrust into the industry-alandowner, a royalty-interest owner, or an incrediblylucky heir-eatch up?

We wrote this book with all those people in mind. Some are engineeringgraduates. Many havc only a vaguely related technical education. Othersdon't even have that arrow in their quivers. So this book attempts to reducethe technology to understandable prose.

Oh, there are one or two sectionsthat have formulas, but that's all. There may be complicated charts anddiagrams, but everyone has an easy explanation-even though weacknowledge that production is a complicated business.

The meat of this book is in the second two-thirds.

But at any propermeal, an appetizer, soup, and salad should come first. That's why thefirst third has the "upstream part" of the upstream-some geology andgeophysics, some legal stuff, and drilling. All the petroleum engineers andthe geologists had to learn it before they eould function. Without it, thebusiness of production would remain a mystery.

The scale and scope of oil and gas production cover both the world'slargest field, Ghawar, in Saudi Arabia, which produces more than fourmillion barrels a day, as well as a one-stripper-well field in West Texasaveraging two barrels a day.

Most of the world's oil fields are morelike the one in West Texas than the one in Saudi Arabia. Ultimateoil recovered inthe worldbyfieldsize. Onlya fewhundredfields account for most of the oil that willever be produced. Aseeminglyendlessnumberof small fields makeupthe remaining share.

Prefacedistribution of oil reserves by field size in figure P-I. While we labored over the prose and illustrations of this book, our wivespatiently almost always let each of us huddle for long, uncommunicativehours. Without such tolerance, a less satisfying product would haveemerged. Our thanks go to them. Ask any well-married author and you'llget the same story. Pat Raymond read and critiqued the manuscript and gave aus a perspective from our intended audience.

Always we interpreted whateveryone said, so we have to take sole responsibility for what you see andread here. The History of ProductionWhat is history but afableagreed upon'-Napoleon Bonaparte Oily BeginningsIn , a character with the unlikely name of UncleBillyreached down with a tin scoop into the hole he hadjust drilled, drew a sample of the fluids, and started the eraof petroleum production.

He smelled it; he tasted it; herubbed it between his fingers and then giddily dispatchedhis gofer to town to notify Colonel Edwin Drake he hadjust struck oil. Most petro-historians start with the travails of thecolonel that led up to spudding the Drake well.

Drake dragged an iron waterpump from the equipment. He rigged the pump handle tothe oscillating arm that Uncle Billyused to drive his cabletool drilling rig and began the world's first "modern" oilproduction-into a metal washtub. Oil and Gas Producuon in Nomechnicall. Over the next century and a half, engineers havetirelesslydevised ingeniousways to move the oil and eventually gas from its resting place in theground to the pipelines and trucks that hauled it to market-including thepumps, the shafts, the power units, the wellbore itself, and all the surfaceequipment to make the oil and gas marketable.

Still, the appearance ofmany of today's well sites isn't remarkably different from those that sprungup in western Pennsylvania over the ensuing 10 years.

On his bare-bones budget, Drake employed the cheapest surfaceequipment he could find. In a quick upgrade, he switched his productionfrom a washtub to a wooden fish oil container. From there, he filledgallon wooden barrels and had them hauled away by horse-drawnwagons to market.

Eventually, Drake and his contemporaries switched to larger wooden-staved storage tanks.

For decades, tank maintenance often meant poundingthe tops of the staves to tighten the walls and reduce leakage. At the moreprolific wells, oil was simply pumped into a sump fig. I-I until it couldbe hauled away, a practice that lasted well into the 20th century. By thes, riveted and bolted wrought-iron tanks began to appear at the wellsites, but many of those were susceptible to leaks, lightning strikes, andfires fig.

Welded steel tanks didn't become popular until 60 yearsafter Drake filled his first fish oil container. Oil sump at Spindletop, ca. Oil sumps were open to the air, andmuch of the gasoline and naphtha just evaporated.

Producers didn't mind-theinternal combustion engine had not been invented yet.

They were after thekerosene. Courtesy of Spindletop Museum. How Did We Get Here? The History ofProductionFig. Burning tankat Spindletop, ca. Courtesy' of SpindletopMuseum. The stampede of oilmen that followed Drake soon found that producingoil was not as easy as the centuries-old technology of producing water. As they drilled deeper, they found the old pitcher pump, the kind thathad to be primed to pump water, could no longer pull enough suction.

They replaced it with a plunger-type pump that had two ball valves: All worked well withthe plunger pump unless they encountered oil with a lot of dissolved gas,which sometimes caused vapor lock in the pump chamber. The tinkerers rose to the occasion and stormed the U. Patent Officewith clever designs. In , for example, R. Cornelius put a wide spot inthe tubing just above the top of the plunger stroke to allow the gas to slipout and the column of oil to displace the accumulated gas in the chamber.

Early devised a slide valve to let the gas escape up the annulus. Countless variations and continuousimprovements on the basic plunger pump have been made since then.

With the advent of electricity at the well site, bottom-hole, submersible.

W Pickett started selling one in that featured a "Yankee screwdriver," a set of right and left threadson the same shaft. This clever mechanism allowed the shaft to rotatein opposite directions during the up- and downstrokes. The combination createda seal between the wellbore and the bottom of the casing, A seedbagapparently didn't last indefinitely, so producers were pleased when J. R,Cross introduced, in , an expandable rubber packer to do the samething, Solomon Dresser came up with what was apparently an evenbetter design for a cylindrical packer in , because it launched thecompany that bore his name for over a hundred years until Halliburtonabsorbed it.

Eric Halliburton didn't found his temporarily named NewMethod Oil Well Cementing Company until , about the same timeGeorge and Herman Brown and their brother-in-law, Dan Root, formedtheir own enterprise, later to be absorbed by Halliburton.

Who's on First? Most Canadian petro-historians become distressed whenever thename Drake ismentioned, They are quickto point out that James MillerWilliams foundoil inOil Springs, Ontario, ayear before Drake drilledhiswell.

Americans are just as quick to retort that Williams only stumbledonto the oil while drilling a water well while Drake was purposefullylookingfor oil. The History ofProductionIt was not until that someone figured out that cementing casingto the borehole would eliminate almost all the water intrusion.

Frustratedwith leakage from the unconsolidated sands of his Lompoc, California,wells, Frank F. Hill of Union Oil Company dumped 20 sacks of cementmixed with water in the hole. He raised the casing 30 feet, capped the top,and lowered the string back to the bottom. Air pressure forced most of thecement up the outside of the casing. He still had to drill out the cementinside the casing.

Eventually, he tried pumping cement down some tubingwith a packer near the bottom. That eliminated most of the redrilling andbegan the era of modern cement jobs. Baker, an independent oilman, saw an opportunity in andbegan manufacturing tools to cement casing, securing his own immortality so far when he named the company after himself, Baker Oil Tools. The thought of running casing all the way through the sands containingthe oil must have seemed preposterous to early oilmen fig. By , blankcasing was being run through the oil-bearing formations and mechanicallyperforated by can-opener-type blades.

Pre-perforated casing, some withscreens to keep out sand, became popular until about Almostinevitably, a pair of clever oilmen, Walter T. Wells and Wilbur E. Lane,constructed a gun that could shoot holes in the casing. Their first perforationjob came in in a well that Union Oil thought was about played out.

Wells and Lane shot 87 holes in the casing at various levels. The well cameback to life and produced for several more years. Early drillers, ca. Courtesy of Canadian PetroleumInterpretiveCentre. Oil and Gas Production in Nontechnical LanguageMore FireworksIt is amusing now to look through the eyes of the oil pioneers at notionsof underground oil accumulations. The field of petroleum geology didn'texist in the s. With the evidence they had at the time, some would-be geologists theorized that oil accumulated in underground fissurescreated by uplifts and shifts.

Experience with coal-mining seams probablyinfluenced them. Even Uncle Billyreported that his cable tool dropped sixinches as he reached the infamous foot depth of the Drake well. downloading that premise and thinking about the likelihood of drilling rightinto one or more of these fissures, Colonel E. Roberts decidedbrute force might enhance the productivity of his oil wells. His Civil Warexperiences no doubt influenced his approach.

In , he lowered a flaskof gunpowder into a Pennsylvania well producing three to four barrels perday and ignited it with a percussion cap. The explosion of his torpedo, asit was called at the time, was followed by a tenfold increase in productionrate.

At his next trial, two wells went from 3 each to 80 and barrelsper day. Roberts rushed to the U. Patent Office and received a broadpatent on the procedure fig. For decades thereafter, however, lorehas it that midnight explosions around the Pennsylvania countryside gaveevidence of entrepreneurial patent infringement and a source of personaland litigatory frustration for Roberts.

While the geologicrational for using torpedoes proved totally misguided,Roberts spawned the notion of well stimulation. Still, it took more than80 years before the Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company offered thefirst hydraulic fracturing service. They pumped sand-laden napalm intoan oil reservoir with enough pressure to crack open rocks, creating newchannels for fluid flow. When the pressure was released, the flow of crudeoil flushed out the napalm, but the sand remained behind to prop open thechannels.

OnlyOne BinBarrelWhyis theabbreviation for barrel bbl? Sometimeafterthestandardizedbarrel was set at 42 gallons in the s, the oil industry scrambled tofind containers that size. Standard Oil Company began manufacturingbarrels to that specification and painted them blue to identify them. Transactions referred to the oil as coming inbluebarrels, or bbls.

TIle History ofProduetionFig. Drillers lowering a torpedo intoa well in Drillers to the left holdanother torpedo. Chemical engineers surprised petroleum engineering circles when theystumbled onto a breakthrough in well stimulation. In a happy coincidence,Dow Chemical of Midland, Texas, had an arrangement with Pure OilCompany to dispose of their voluminous quantities of waste acid bypumping them down Pure's nearly abandoned oil wells. They noticed thatthe more hydrochloric acid they injected into the limestone producingformation; the faster it pumped oil.

After stumbling across this Aha! They pumped two SOD-gallon slugs of hydrochloric acid and,to inhibit corrosion of the tubulars, some arsenic acid. Most agreeably,production increased fourfold.

That was an improvement from 4 to stillonly 16barrels per day, but they established the principle. At the beginning, geologists hada series of doomed theories about petroleum and reservoirs. With almosttotal disregard for geology, the Pennsylvania oil pioneers in the spunched holes with their cable tools at places that looked just like Drake'swell site-in the valleys, along the creeks, near oil seeps. Few tried fartherup the hills. In , oilman Cyrus D. Angell mulled over the characteristics of hisfew oil wells.

The layering and thickness of the formations, the locationof the wells, and the quality of the oil led him to his now-notorious belttheory: Oil lies in more or less continuous belts that run in a straight linefrom northeast to southwest; reservoirs slope away from that center line;.

Angell's unrelenting exploration successes over the next 10 years,from western Pennsylvania to southern Ohio, made it hard for geologiststo argue against the theory, especially since, at the time, many of themwere considered the snake oil salesmen of the oil industry.

Still, thecadre at the Pennsylvania Geological Survey and the U. GeologicalSurvey offices plugged away at developing an acceptable description ofsubsurface petroleum reservoirs. Professor Ebenezer B. Andrews almosthad it right when he asserted that oil, gas, and water get trapped in naturalcavities caused by uplifting geological forces that form anticlines, layersof rock pushed upward like a hump in a rug.

For this, his colleagues andsuccessors, who forgave him his obsession with fissures, named him thefather of anticlinal theory. By , the notion of stratigraphy the study of the history, composition,distribution, and relationships of subsurface rock layers had captured theattention of most serious thinkers, led by the work of I. White, JohnCarll, and Edward Horton. Their report laid out the importance of porousrock layers as receptacles for oil and gas.

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Thereafter, stratigraphy becameincreasingly acknowledged as a key to describing petroleum reservoirs. Somuch so that John Carll labored and lobbied hard in the Pennsylvaniaassociation meetings to get drillers to note what came out as they madehole. In , he decried, " miles of borehole [in the past year] TIle History ofProduetionSouffles andSandstoneIn the early 19th century, the great chefs of Dijon, France, moanedincessantly about the filthy water comingfrom the citymains. Along the way, he experimented with Auid Aow throughporous materials and developed equations to describe it.

For thiseffort, Darcy earned his own two instances of immortality: Eventually, the whining and cajoling of Carll and his colleagues earnedthem the respect they deserved, Drillers began savingtheir cuttings. Sortingthrough buckets of rock chips was slow and tedious-which no doubtinhibited rapid accumulation of subsurface data-but the informationallowed the beginnings of subsurface mapping.

Besides the boon to stratigraphic knowledge, close examination ofcuttings allowed geologists to begin having serious conversations aboutporosity and permeability, two fundamentals of petroleum engineering.

By , the notion of fissures was almost totally debunked. Enoughoilmen had used the fissure finder-a device that "finger felt" the sidesof the borehole to locate crevices-to make them skeptical. Laboratoryexamination of drilling cuttings showed that oil and gas could reside inallegedly solid rock. With a few calculations using Darcy's equations seethe "Souffles and Sandstone" box , John Carll showed that even gusherscould originate in fissure-free oil sands.

An emerging general theory neededonly a few more pieces. Water, Water, EverywhereTo the early operators, water was more than a nuisance. It was a menace. In the beginning, oil-field production philosophy most often called fordrilling up a field and producing at maximum natural flow rates for aslong as possible.

After that, pumps were used in the wells until the amountof water coming up with the oil made pumping uneconomic. Water wasa menace. Trout tolunchto discuss avexingoilfieldproblem-sfindingareliable pumpingmechanism for low-pressure oil wells. Trout returned to hismodestmachine shop and proceeded with a fewunsuccessful prototypes.

Global warming

At another lunch, this time with W. Todd, of Standard Oil, Troutshowed a sketch of a pumping unit built around a counterbalanceprinciple. Trout patented thedesign in , andthe Lufkin pumpjack design became an enduring worldstandard ng. Anearly designof a Lufkin pumpjack.

Today's pumpjackslookmuchliketheydid60years ago. Courtesy of lufkin Industries. In ,the operators of the prolific Bradford Field in Pennsylvania noticed anincrease in oil production after some surface water inadvertently poureddown some adjacent, dormant oil wells.

Inspired by this observation, theoperators pumped water into the edge wells of the nearby Pithole Field andwatched as the flow from their oil producers steadily rose. Waterfloodinghad begun. About that time, geologists started to speak about the idea that oilgenerally sat on a layer of water, especially in anticlinal reservoirs.

Someothers vehemently disagreed. In fact, the State of Pennsylvania summarilyprohibited pumping water into an oil field and didn't reverse the regulationuntil By that time, overwhelming evidence contradicted even themost stubborn bureaucrat. Another brick in the foundation of reservoirengineering had found its place-water replacement as a source of energythat could push oil to the surface.

Breathings of the EarthLike water, for a long while natural gas was at least a nuisance andsometimes also a menace. Certainly, minor amounts of gas found theiruse at the well site as boiler fuel for steam engines powering the pumps.

A limited market for natural gas in nearby cities for heat, power, and lightabsorbed some. But mostly, oilmen flared their gas throughout the 19thand well into the 20th century just to get rid of it. Only 2 of the first wells in Pennsylvania flowed unassisted. The restwere pumpers. Then came a series of gushers: Thatstarted geologists thinking about the reasons.

Leslie, another insightfulmember of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, put the pieces together in He wrote that dissolved gas and water have enough energy in somereservoirs to force oil out of the formation and up the wellbore for longperiods of time. The crude oil and natural gas would arrive at the surface"just like seltzer from a soda fountain.

Drawing oil from therock may be compared to drawing beer from a barrel. The barrel is placedin the cellar and a pump inserted.

At first the liquor flows freely throughthe tnbe without using the pump, but presently the gas weakens and thepump is called into recognition. And finally, the gas pressure becomes soweak that a vent hole must be made to admit atmospheric pressure beforethe barrel can be emptied, even by the pump.

For this and many othercontributions, industry sages nowadays consider Carll the Father ofReservoir Engineering. Crisis and Reservoir EngineeringBythe s,operators began todownload into the idea of conserving reservoirenergy by putting a choke on the producing lines to hold pressure on thereservoir.

But conservation of natural gas was not yet the objective. To thecontrary, billions of cubic feet of gas were flared through most of the 20thcentury in the United States fig.

The markets for gas were just too remote from those oilwells that contained associatedgas. Automobile drivers could turn off theirheadlights when they passed many oil fields at night. Gas flaring turnednight into day.

Understandably, the waste bothered many conservationistsand environmentalists, who were not necessarily the same people at thattime. The conservationists worried about the economic recovery of theresource in the ground; the environmentalists were tormented by theimpact of wanton production on the ecology. The advance of technology sometimes had contradictory effects.

One ofthe hazards cable tool drillers always faced was unexpectedly tapping intoa high-pressure reservoir. Nothing blocked the space between them andthe fluids that came gushing up the borehole.

The walls of museums in theoil patch are replete with nostalgic pictures of blowouts-hydrocarbonsspewing a hundred feet into the air.

From Derrick's Handbook of Petroleum, The Armstrong 2 well in Butler County, Pa, was thought to be aduster, until torpedoed. One excited observer wrote, "thegrandestscene everwitnessed inoildom. When the shot rookeffect, barrenrock, as if smitten by the rod of Moses, poured forth its torrentof oil. It was sucha magnificent and awful a spectacle that only apainter's brush or poets pencil woulddo it justice For a moment the cloud of gas hid the derrickfrom sight, and then as it cleared away, a solid gold column Natural gas flaring in the United States.

Trillions of cubic feet of gas have beenvented or flared. As late as the mid-twentieth century, 20 percent of the produced gaswas being wasted. But bythe last quarter century, nearly all produced gas was conserved. Part of the rotarydrilling design called for circulating drilling mud a slurry of water and clay down the borehole with the drill bit, with providentially beneficial results. Not only did the mud remove the cuttings from the hole, cool the drillingbit,and keep water from seeping into the upper parts of the hole, but it addedweight and enough bottom-hole pressure to help prevent hydrocarbonsfrom escaping the hole uncontrollably.

Ironically, at the first attempt atSpindletop, the hole blew out anyway. Around , Jim Abercrombie, anoilman who had-nearly been killed in a recent blowout, brought his phobiato a young machinist named Harry Cameron. Together fig. With these two innovations, countless volumes of oil and gas have beencontained that would otherwise have been vented to the environment. Yet rotary drilling continued the inexorable march of efficiency that letoilmen reach deeper, more hidden, and more nearly unreachable targetsand bring increased volumes of oil to market.

It was overproduction of oil that triggered public policy remedies. Asthe giant oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma came onstream at the beginningof the 20th century, a stampede to produce every oil field as rapidly aspossible fig.

Promptedby the court-established rule of capture, any landowner could-andusually did-drill a well to tap the petroleum that lay beneath. On the92,acre East Texas Field, 3, wells were drilled. Wasted oil randown the streams and bayous of the Southeast.

Oversupply drove pricesto 10cents per barrel. In , the governor of Texas declared martial lawto control the chaos. Henry L. Doherty, an oilman and firebrand of some repute, capturedthe imagination and support of the conservationists. Initially, the IOCC institutedvoluntary cutbacks of oil production, but in , mandatory reductions,called proration, were introduced. The Texas Railroad Commission andits counterpart agencies in the other states set and enforced the rules.

Thefederal government supported them by passing the Connelly Hot Oil Act,which prohibited moving excess oil production across state lines. It alsoestablished the authority of the state commissions to regulate well spacing,limit individual well production rates to protect reservoir pressures, andencourage unitization.

HowDid We Get Here? The first rotary drilling job. Rotary drilling came to theU. Courtesy of Cooper Cameron. Everyone got something at the stroke of a pen: To prorate, every well needed a documented, authorized maximumefficient rate MER of production. Horizontal DrillingDrilling vertical wells into horizontal reservoirs bothered someproduction engineers for a long time. Almost all reservoirs are wider thanthey are deep, so a vertical wellbore contacts the hydrocarbon interfacein the wrong plane.

Elf Aquitaine finally exploited some enablingtechnologies that let them do the precursor to horizontal drilling. In,they successfully penetrated several reservoirs in France and Italy withnearly horizontal wells and satisfactorilyimproved their productivity.

Thefirst horizontal wells recorded were drilled in Texon, Texas, in , andVenango County, Pennsylvania, in , but sadly, these efforts generatedlittle commercial interest at the time. To accomplish the turn from vertical to horizontal, the drillerscould not rotate the drill pipe without buckling it. Instead, they useda downhole motor, which turned only the drill bit.

They began a wideturn, with a radius of 1,, feet, steering the drill bit to the target,using downhole devices that diverted the drill bit in small increments anddownhole telemetry to track the course. Still, although the technique hasmatured, horizontal drilling is far more painstaking than conventionaldrilling; however, the extra expense has often proven rewarding. The History of ProduetionAGolden DecadeIn the s, innovation andconsolidation of intellectual and practicalknowledge permeated the upstream industry in a productionrenaissance.

Duringthistime, companies routinely adopteddrillingriginstrumentation andmud controlside-wall coringbullet perforationsqueeze cementinginternal combustion engine power to replace steamdownholepumpsOver thesame decade, geologists andengineers regularly usedcalculation of porosityandpermeabilitydownholepressure andtemperature measurementsAuid Aow and material balance equations, based on reservoirs ascommon containers of both hydrocarbons and energyreinjection of wateracidizingdrill-stern testingseismic mappingelectric andradioactive loggingWhat all these are iswhat thisbook is about.

The Great OffshoreUntil well into the 20th century, oilmen had to start geologic surveyswith surface observations. That limited their efforts to the onshore.

Eventhe first offshore production-at Summerland, California, in wasjust an extension of onshore fields.

The operator built piers into the PacificOcean to follow the reservoirs beyond the shoreline fig. Operators coped with exploration and production operations in theshallow inland waters like Lake Caddo, Louisiana, starting in and themore prolific Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela, starting in by buildingplatforms on top of timber Or concrete pilings.

Even at these locations,geologists sited their wildcats by observing oil and gas seeps. Piers and derricks at Summerland, CaliforniaOil, Courtesy of USGS.

It was the advent of seismic technology that enabled offshoreexploration by allowing a look at the subsurface without surveyingthe surface. Kerr-McGee grabbed the brass ring for the first successfulwildcat and production at a location out of sight of land.

In , theyplaced a small and largely prefabricated platform on a site their seismicsurveyors recommended, in the Ship Shoal area, 40 miles from theLouisiana coast. The platform rested on steel pilings, linked togetherlike Tinker Toys, to withstand the occasional hurricane-force winds andwaves.

Flushed with exploration success, they used the same platformfor their production operations. Later, offshore exploration switched to the more mobile and lessexpensive submersible, semisubmersible, and drillships, but for almost thebalance of the 20th century, permanent offshore production facilities inever-deeper water sat on top of ever-tallersteel platforms.

Shell Oil installedthe tallest conventional steel production platform, Bullwinkle, in 1, feetof Gulf of Mexico water in The supporting structure needed 44,tons of steel and another 9, tons of piling to anchor it to the bottom. Bullwinldebecame a watershed. The increasing number of prolificreservoirs in the deepwater depths of more than 1, feet could notafford the cost of conventional platforms.

In the s, Petrobras hadalready chosen an alternative approach to develop a continuing stringof exploration successes in the very deep waters of the Campos Basin ofoffshore Brazil. They placed the wellheads of their producing units onthe seafloor and produced up risers into floating production facilities.

Bullwinklefixed platformMarlemfloating productionsystemFig. Marlem andBullwinkle. Twodifferent approaches to productionplatforms as industry venturedinto deeper water. In the Gulf of Mexico, operators initially chose tension leg platformsand lighter and more flexible compliant towers.

From both, they could drilltheir development wells and produce, even as the platform swayed aroundthe drill site thousands of feet below.

By the end of the 20th century, thelist of offshore development systems being used around the world alsoincluded spars huge, buoylike storage containers and FPSOs floatingproduction, storage, and off-loading vessels , especially in waters deeperthan 1, feet.

From its real beginning in , offshore development has been acontinuous battle against a tickingclocle. At any instance, the cost of almostevery task during the development of an offshore discovery escalates almostexponentially with water depth. But, driven by an imperative to improveeconomics, advances in tools and procedures have continuously loweredthe cost curves. And three factors have enabled an inexorable march intodeeper waters: That becomes promisingly evident tothe most casual observer of the pages of the oil and gas industry journals,the trade shows, and the expositions, all conspicuously rich in innovationand exuberant optimism.Eric Halliburton didn't found his temporarily named NewMethod Oil Well Cementing Company until , about the same timeGeorge and Herman Brown and their brother-in-law, Dan Root, formedtheir own enterprise, later to be absorbed by Halliburton.

The agency raises that figure to 3. Lane,constructed a gun that could shoot holes in the casing. These data can provide clues about the fluid content, porosity, permeability, age, and formation sequence layering of subsurface rocks.

Cornelius put a wide spot inthe tubing just above the top of the plunger stroke to allow the gas to slipout and the column of oil to displace the accumulated gas in the chamber. Among their administrators are the superintendentsof drilling or production.