(Nye)

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Pipes and tankers

So we have all this useful stuff… but how do we get it to people who will pay for it?  The answer is, simply enough, “in bulk”.  Oil and gas are valuable commodities but it still makes sense to save as much as possible by...

Processing 3 – gas gathering and treatment

Natural gas is processed in a broadly similar way to crude oil, but with a number of important differences. Significantly, the first stage is the cooling of the gas to separate condensate – the liquids that are naturally present as vapours in natural gas.  These...

Processing 2 – refining

Once stabilised, crude oil is processed at a refinery to turn it into useful products like petrol, diesel, and heavy oil.  This is a fiendishly complicated chain of operations – but there are not that many basic processes, and individually they aren’t too hard to get...

Processing 1 – stabilisation

As I’ve already mentioned, the exact composition of petroleum and natural gas is very variable.  In order to produce high-quality fuels a lot of processing is needed; this takes a number of steps, starting at the oil and gas field. When extracted from the ground...

Components

Having spent millions and millions of dollars surveying, exploring, appraising, designing, and developing a site, what do we have to show for it?  This depends very much on the type of reservoir.  ‘Oil and gas’ isn’t just one category (or even two), but covers a...

Drilling for riches

Rigs and platforms are not all created equal.  There are a number of different types, each designed for a specific task and environment, from the most basic land rigs to the very advanced (and expensive) platforms used for deep-water drilling. Land rigs are the original...

Well drilling – bits and string

I’ve already mentioned drilling as part of exploration and appraisal, but how does it actually work?  The well-publicised image of an oil derrick is only the visible part of a complicated engineering system, intended to drill through immense thicknesses of rock and to extract valuable...

Prospecting and exploration

Based on our knowledge of oil and gas formation we can make some reasonable guesses as to where they can be found.  The best places to look are sedimentary rock basins, especially those that are close to faults and plate boundaries – but there over...

Reserves and reservoirs

Having looked at how oil and gas are formed, it makes sense to look at where it all is now.  Everyone knows that you oil and gas are found underground, but you can’t just drill anywhere and find the stuff. Oil and gas reservoirs need...

Fossil fuels – what’s in a name?

It’s probably not escaped your notice that this series is about ‘oil and gas’, but you’ll also have heard a lot about ‘fossil fuels’ – they’re even in the title of this article!  What’s the difference?  The answer is somewhat complicated: fossil fuels are often oil...

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