Oil field

Oil field

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Oil field'
Start a new discussion about 'Oil field'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil well
Oil well
An oil well is a general term for any boring through the earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.-History:The earliest...

s extracting petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 (crude oil) from below ground. Because the oil reservoir
Oil reservoir
A petroleum reservoir, or oil and gas reservoir, is a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. The naturally occurring hydrocarbons, such as crude oil or natural gas, are trapped by overlying rock formations with lower permeability...

s typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area. In addition, there may be exploratory wells probing the edges, pipelines to transport the oil elsewhere, and support facilities.

Because an oil field may be remote from civilization, establishing a field is often an extremely complicated exercise in logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

. For instance, workers have to work there for months or years and require housing. In turn, housing and equipment require electricity and water. Pipelines in cold areas may need to be heated. Excess natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 may be burned off
Gas flare
A gas flare, alternatively known as a flare stack, is an elevated vertical conveyance found accompanying the presence of oil wells, gas wells, rigs, refineries, chemical plants, natural gas plants, and landfills....

 if there is no way to make use of it, requiring a furnace and stacks, and pipes to carry it from well to furnace.

Thus, the typical oil field resembles a small self-contained city in the midst of a landscape dotted with drilling rig
Drilling rig
A drilling rig is a machine which creates holes or shafts in the ground. Drilling rigs can be massive structures housing equipment used to drill water wells, oil wells, or natural gas extraction wells, or they can be small enough to be moved manually by one person...

s and/or the pump jacks known as "nodding donkeys" because of their bobbing arm. Several companies, such as BJ Services, Bechtel, Esso
Esso
Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced , it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by...

, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes
Baker Hughes Baker Hughes provides the world's oil & gas industry with products and services for drilling, formation evaluation, completion, production and reservoir consulting. Baker Hughes operates in over 90 countries worldwide mainly based in countries with a mature petroleum industry as is...

 and Halliburton
Halliburton
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

, have organizations that specialize in the large-scale construction of the infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

 and providing specialized services required to operate a field profitably.

More than 40,000 oil fields are scattered around the globe, on land and offshore. The largest are the Ghawar Field
Ghawar Field
Ghawar is an oil field in Saudi Arabia. It is located in Al-Ahssa, Saudi Arabia. Measuring , it is by far the largest conventional oil field in the world. The field is entirely owned and operated by Saudi Aramco, the nationalized Saudi oil company...

 in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and the Burgan Field
Burgan Field
The onshore Burgan Field in the desert of southeastern Kuwait is one of the world's largest and richest oil fields.-Discovery:After its discovery in February, 1938, the USA and UK-owned Kuwait Oil Company began commercial oil production at Burgan in 1946. The oil field is so rich that it is one of...

 in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, with more than 60 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 barrel
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

s estimated in each. Most oil fields are much smaller. According to the US Department of Energy (Energy Information Administration), as of 2003 the US alone had over 30,000 oil fields.

In the modern age, the location of oil fields with proven oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

 is a key underlying factor in many geopolitical conflicts.

The term oilfield is also used as a shorthand to refer to the entire petroleum industry
Petroleum industry
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting , and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline...

. However, it is more accurate to divide the oil industry into three sectors: upstream (crude production from wells and separation of water from oil), midstream (pipeline and tanker transport of crude) and downstream (refining and marketing of refined products).

See also


  • Drilling fluid
    Drilling fluid
    In geotechnical engineering, drilling fluid is a fluid used to aid the drilling of boreholes into the earth. Often used while drilling oil and natural gas wells and on exploration drilling rigs, drilling fluids are also used for much simpler boreholes, such as water wells. Liquid drilling fluid...

  • Drilling rig
    Drilling rig
    A drilling rig is a machine which creates holes or shafts in the ground. Drilling rigs can be massive structures housing equipment used to drill water wells, oil wells, or natural gas extraction wells, or they can be small enough to be moved manually by one person...

  • List of oil fields
  • List of oilfield service companies
  • Natural gas field
    Natural gas field
    Oil and natural gas are produced by the same geological process according fossil fuel suggestion: anaerobic decay of organic matter deep under the Earth's surface. As a consequence, oil and natural gas are often found together...

  • OAPEC
  • Oil field acronyms
    Oil field acronyms
    The oil and gas industry uses many acronyms and abbreviations. Obviously, this list is not anywhere near exhaustive or definitive.It is an amalgam of user contributions. It is contextual and is meant for indicative purposes only...

  • Oil well
    Oil well
    An oil well is a general term for any boring through the earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.-History:The earliest...

  • Oilfield terminology
    Oilfield terminology
    Oilfield terminology refers to the jargon used by those working in fields within and related to the petroleum industry. It includes words and phrases describing professions, equipment, and procedures specific to the industry...

  • OPEC
    OPEC
    OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

  • Petroleum play
    Petroleum play
    In geology, a petroleum play, or simply a play, is a group of petroleum fields or prospects in the same region that are controlled by the same set of geological circumstances.The normal steps in the play cycle are:...

  • Subsea
    Subsea
    Subsea is a general term frequently used to refer to equipment, technology, and methods employed in marine biology, undersea geology, offshore oil and gas developments, underwater mining, and offshore wind power industries.- Oil and gas :...

  • Underground hydrogen storage
    Underground hydrogen storage
    Underground hydrogen storage is the practice of hydrogen storage in underground caverns, salt domes and depleted oil/gas fields. Large quantities of gaseous hydrogen have been stored in underground caverns by ICI for many years without any difficulties...