Running head: OIL PRODUCTION
Oil is an important natural resource that is highly valued worldwide. There are six basic
steps of a complete oil production process; exploration, appraisal, development, extraction,
refining, transportation, and site abandonment. Exploration involves locating the oil wells
utilizing primary technologies such as drilling wells and seismic surveys. Oil exploration can be
conducted using three methods, i.e., surface methods, gravity and magnetic surveys, and
seismographic methods. Exploration is followed by an appraisal process where further drilling is
done to confirm the existence of oil. This is done to minimize the risks or uncertainty.
After validating the presence of oil, the oil well is then developed by a team of experts
such as petroleum geologists, mining engineers, structural engineers, etc. to make it ready for
extraction. Hydraulic fracturing is a common method used to drill oil from shale (impermeable
rock). This method involves the use of extremely high pressure. The extraction of oil is followed
by refining, the most important process in the production of oil. Refining simply involves
separating the various components of crude oil based on their boiling points (fractional
distillation). The key processes involved are separation, conversion, and treatment. During
separation, several components of crude oil evaporate and condense at different temperature. On
the other hand, conversion entails breaking down the heaviest molecules by use of high
temperature and catalyst whereas treatment is the removal of compounds such as sulfur that can
cause corrosion and environmental pollution.
After refining, processed oil is then transported to the loading stations or consumers using
pipelines, trucks, ship, or rail. Decommissioning is the final step in oil production. At this stage,
the project is terminated, and the site abandoned because the oil wells are depleted. The site is
restored to its natural state.
Oil is one of the most valuable natural resources in the world. As a result of
industrialization, oil has turned out to be the world's main source of energy. The oil products are
the key drivers of the economic activities in modern society because they provide energy to
power industries and devices. Based on the current estimation of economic stability in terms of
GDP, oil-producing countries have stable economies as compared to those that do not have. For
example, the world’s major oil producers such as Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Canada,
United States, China, etc. have a higher GDP as compared to non-oil producing countries.
However, despite oil being a natural resource, the process of producing oil is very
important. The production process must be safe, feasible, and environmentally friendly. In this
regards, the due process must be followed to the later. Oil production involves six basic stages;
exploration, appraisal, development, extraction, refining, transportation, and site abandonment.
Exploration can be defined as the technique used by the geophysicists and petroleum
geologists to search for hydrocarbon deposits below the surface of the earth. It is the first stage of
oil processing. At this stage, the oil reserves are located utilizing primary technologies such as
drilling wells and seismic surveys. Exploration is an expensive process because the cost involved
is estimated in terms of a million dollars. Also, it is a risky exercise because some wells might
not contain any traces of hydrocarbons after drilling. In this case, the oil processing companies
are required to drill as many wells as possible to able to discover the existence of oil in the
proposed area. This exercise can take many years or even decades.
During oil exploration, drilling is done, and samples and important information collected
about the fluids and rocks (gas, water, oil) encounter to find out:
The existence of hydrocarbons in the area.
The volume of oil that might be available in the explored site.
The depth that the oil exists at the explored site.
Also, the collected samples and information are important in identifying some of the risks
and bottlenecks that can be encountered due to geographical location. Incurring a big loss can be
one of the risks that a company is likely to encounter as a result of the unavailability of oil yet
time and money have been invested. Another challenge that is encountered in mostly is wooing
the surrounding community to accept the project and mitigating the negative environmental
effects associated with the project.
However, there are three main methods of oil exploration. The selection of an appropriate
method depending on cost, nature of the ground, location of oil, etc. The three commonly used
methods are surface methods, gravity and magnetic surveys, and seismographic methods.
This is one of the most commonly used methods of oil exploration. Two principles are
applied when using surface methods. The first principle is that the geological feature of the
surface must be surveyed to identify the formations of sedimentar...