Innovations in Crude Oil Production Essay

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Innovations in Crude Oil Production The first oil well was drilled in 1859 by Edwin Drake. It burned to the ground several months later, but had it survived it would only have yielded around 20 barrels of oil per day, hardly a drop in today’s market.(“Story”) At the time however, it was considered a success and it began a revolution in oil production. Crude oil production in the world skyrocketed from a few hundred barrels of oil per day to 76 million today. (“International”) Of course, in the long term, this is not sustainable. In the near future however, it is the goal of the oil industry to continue this growth in order to continue to meet the world demand. Unlike the rest of the world, crude oil production in the US has…show more content…
Examining the technological leaps made from early means of oil production to present day emerging technology shows a trend of increasing efficiency that suggests efforts to access this unrecoverable oil will succeed. Traditionally, oil production is a very inefficient process. To see this, examine a conventional oil well, which lacks most modern innovations. Means used to locate this well, such as 2D seismic imaging, were imprecise, so developing this well probably involved drilling and abandoning several so-called ‘dry holes’ where no oil was struck. The well itself consists of one vertically drilled hole. The structure and equipment surrounding the well take up a great deal of space. Only around 10% of the oil in the reservoir the well taps will be recovered. (“Enhanced”) Obviously, there is room for improvement in the efficiency of the well and in its environmental impact. The first major area of improvement is in the process used to locate sites for oil wells. The first really accurate way to do this was by employing 2D seismic technology. This still resulted in many dry holes. Using Shell and Amoco’s Foenhaven Oil Field as an example, only around 25-30% of the oil was recovered from wells located using the 2D technology. With the advent of 3D seismic locating technology, the depth of an oil pocket could be determined, and as a result far fewer dry holes were made, which
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