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Finding oil and gas trapped deep underground and drilling a well are very complicated and expensive. It costs millions of pound to drill a well and only a few are successful. The liquids found underground can be a complicated mixture of water, crude oil and gas. The crude oil and gas need to be separated before they can be transported safely.

Advanced Drilling Technologies

Which rocks are porous and could make good reservoir rock? Plan an investigation to find out which rocks are most porous. Can you find out how the people who search for oil discover oil traps deep beneath the land and sea bed? Oil and gas are often found far away or under the sea. They have to be transported to an oil refinery.

See the COAL page for more information.

Oil and gas processing

So, the plankton is buried and it turns into oil and gas…but where does it go? Like the sponge in your kitchen sink albeit, less spongy and a bit heavier certain kinds of rock mainly sandstone and limestone contain pores large enough and with enough connections to serve as storage and migration sites for oil or water or any other fluid wishing to call them home. Because most hydrocarbons are lighter than water and rock, those that exist within the earth will tend to migrate upwards until they reach the surface, or are trapped by an impermeable layer of rock. There is a particular window of temperature that the zooplankton must find to form oil.

Therefore, the formation of an oil reservoir requires the unlikely gathering of three particular conditions: The geologic history of some places on earth makes them much more likely to contain the necessary combination of conditions.

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This is done at the refinery. Oil can be used in many different products, and this is because of its composition of many different hydrocarbons of different sizes, which are individually useful in different ways due to their different properties.

The purpose of a refinery is to separate and purify these different components. Most refinery products can be grouped into three classes: Light distillates liquefied petroleum gas, naphtha, and gasoline , middle distillates kerosene and diesel , and heavy distillates fuel oil, lubricating oil, waxes, and tar. While all of these products are familiar to consumers, some of them may have gained fame under their refined forms. For instance, naphtha is the primary feedstock for producing a high octane gasoline component and also is commonly used as cleaning solvent, and kerosene is the main ingredient in many jet fuels.

After being sent through a furnace, the crude petroleum enters a fractionating column, where the products condense at different temperatures within the column, so that the lighter components separate out at the top of the column they have lower boiling points than heavier ones and the heavier ones fall towards the bottom.

The Basic Process

Because this process occurs at atmospheric pressure, it may be called atmospheric distillation. Some of the heavier components that are difficult to separate may then undergo vacuum distillation fractional distillation in a vacuum for further separation. In the same manner that natural mineral catalysts help to transform kerogen to crude oil through the process of catagenesis, metal catalysts can help transform large hydrocarbons into smaller ones. This is a primary process used in modern petroleum refining to form more valuable lighter fuels from heavier ones.


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All of the products then undergo further refinement in different units that produce the desired products. Alkanes are saturated hydrocarbons with between 5 and 40 carbon atoms per molecule which contain only hydrogen and carbon. The light distillates range in molecular composition from pentane 5 carbons: This depends on the cost of the extraction method and the current price of crude oil. When prices are high, previously unprofitable wells are brought back into use, and when they are low, extraction is curtailed.

The Development Process

The use of microbial treatments is another tertiary recovery method. Special blends of the microbes are used to treat and break down the hydrocarbon chain in oil, making the oil easy to recover. It is also more economical versus other conventional methods. In some states such as Texas, there are tax incentives for using these microbes in what is called a secondary tertiary recovery.

Very few companies supply these, [ quantify ] however, companies like Bio Tech, Inc. The amount of oil that is recoverable is determined by a number of factors, including the permeability of the rock, the strength of natural drives the gas present, pressure from adjacent water or gravity , porosity of the reservoir rock, i. When the reservoir rocks are "tight", as in shale , oil generally cannot flow through, but when they are permeable, as in sandstone , oil flows freely. Although recovery of a well cannot be known with certainty until the well ceases production, petroleum engineers often determine an estimated ultimate recovery EUR based on decline rate projections years into the future.

Various models, mathematical techniques, and approximations are used.

Oil and gas processing -

Shale gas EUR is difficult to predict, and it is possible to choose recovery methods that tend to underestimate decline of the well beyond that which is reasonable. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. European Commission Joint Research Center. Acronyms Oil shale gas Peak oil mitigation timing People Petrocurrency Petrodollar recycling Shale band Shale gas Swing producer Unconventional oil heavy crude oil sands oil shale.

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