Drillers https://drillers.com Drilling Jobs & Professional Support for the Global Drilling Community Wed, 27 Nov 2019 19:35:37 +0100 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://drillers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/imageedit_8_3054722830.gif Drillers https://drillers.com 32 32 Thunder Cranes Wins Chevron Contract https://drillers.com/thunder-cranes-wins-chevron-contract/ https://drillers.com/thunder-cranes-wins-chevron-contract/#respond Wed, 27 Nov 2019 19:34:54 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050940 (PRESS RELEASE) The Thunder Cranes Group has been providing offshore lifting services since 1994 and it’s latest contract is a 3-year project with Chevron Corporation supporting plug and abandonment projects in the Gulf of Thailand for some 3000 wells. The multi-million dollar contract with Chevron will see Thunder Cranes adding a further 3 brand new […]

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TC70-crane-labuan-yard.jpg (Thunder Cranes’ TC70 crane undergoing rig up and testing at the Thunder Cranes facility in the ASB yard, Labuan)

The Thunder Cranes Group has been providing offshore lifting services since 1994 and it’s latest contract is a 3-year project with Chevron Corporation supporting plug and abandonment projects in the Gulf of Thailand for some 3000 wells.

The multi-million dollar contract with Chevron will see Thunder Cranes adding a further 3 brand new TC90XL cranes to its fleet, making Thunder Cranes the
largest operator of offshore rental cranes in the Asia-Pacific region and just one of only four providers of self-lifting offshore cranes globally.

“Apart from Malaysia and Brunei, Thailand has been a focal point for Thunder Cranes since our entry into the market a decade ago and this latest award demonstrates the reputation we have successfully built in the region. In the next 6 to 12 months we will be expanding further and bidding on several major project contracts in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia” said Chris Poheng, CEO of Thunder Cranes.

According to Poheng, “Providing an extremely niche service can make marketing Thunder Cranes a challenge, but when given the opportunity to
provide solutions and demonstrate our capabilities, clients often find Thunder Cranes invaluable to their projects.”

TC90-offshore-platform.jpg . (Thunder Cranes’ TC90 Portable, Modular Crane Installed on Platform Offshore Labuan)


According to CEO Chris Poheng, it Thunder Cranes’ combination of unique innovations in its crane technology, as well as it’s experienced, highly-trained
personnel has given the Malaysian based company its edge and ability to grow into Asia Pacific’s largest provider of self-lifting offshore cranes.

“Delivering operational efficiencies for our clients means continuously developing both our crane technology and our human capital”, said Poheng.

The soon to be launched TC90-05XL modular offshore pedestal crane is just the latest innovation from the company and they believe will keep Thunder Cranes
at the forefront of the self-lifting offshore market.

“Our offshore cranes can be rapidly deployed to any offshore location in the world in support of rigless well-intervention services, plug and abandonment projects, or facilities engineering.” In addition, Poheng says, the deployment of portable cranes offshore requires highly trained and experienced staff, “As important as the technology is, the deployment of portable cranes offshore requires highly trained and experienced staff – it is a real skill.”

For Thunder Cranes, growing and developing its employees’ skills is a priority that leads to success.

“To be a global company, our customers should expect the same standards wherever we go.”

Poheng went on to say that Thunder Cranes has had great staff retention over time – a key factor in its excellent safety record,

“Staff retention means experienced, knowledgeable and safer personnel, and ultimately the productivity that our clients appreciate”.

ThunderCrane-Dubai-HWO.jpg . (The TC90 Crane Supporting Rigless Hydraulic Work Over Project on an Offshore Platform in the UAE.)


Thunder Cranes, a leading provider of portable, offshore rental cranes, has just announced the latest innovation in its offshore crane technology that is set to
bring better lifting solutions to the oil and gas industry.

TC90-offshore-lifting.jpg . (Thunder Cranes’ TC90 Crane engaged in lifting activities on Malaysian Offshore Platform)

The TC90-05XL pedestal crane is the fifth generation of its portable, modular cranes, and incorporates 25 years of experience, distilled into a portable crane
that has been designed to meet the needs of the offshore industry for the next 25 years.

The TC90-05XL pedestal crane was built in partnership with Appleton Marine Inc, the USA-based API crane manufacturer, and is scheduled for delivery in Q4, 2019.

The TC90-05XL features:

Combined Turret and sub-base minimize rig up and rig downtime while maintaining the lightest component weight in its class.
●Enhanced boom section connectors
●New control panel offers better visibility for the operator with simplified controls equate to better control and placement of clients’ assets.
●Customized hoists made by Appleton are lighter and allow for more rope capacity with enhanced line speed.
●Different boom configurations provide clients with more options, resulting in more economically efficient lifts.

For further information please contact:

Ywan Georges Carraz
Thunder Cranes Sdn. Bhd.

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PVT Tests, Analysis and Its Advances in the Industry https://drillers.com/pvt-tests-analysis-and-its-advances-in-the-industry/ https://drillers.com/pvt-tests-analysis-and-its-advances-in-the-industry/#respond Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:57:19 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050886 Pressure, Volume, Temperature (PVT) Tests Offer Valuable Insights PVT tests are an essential part of the exploration and production process. The behaviors of reservoir fluids are nothing short of complex, but for oil and gas exploration projects to reach an optimal outcome, companies need to understand these unique behaviors so that they can make data-driven […]

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Engineering student looking simulated oil pvt tests

Pressure, Volume, Temperature (PVT) Tests Offer Valuable Insights

PVT tests are an essential part of the exploration and production process. The behaviors of reservoir fluids are nothing short of complex, but for oil and gas exploration projects to reach an optimal outcome, companies need to understand these unique behaviors so that they can make data-driven engineering decisions. A PVT (pressure, volume, temperature) analysis takes a deeper dive into the behaviors of a reservoir’s fluids to collect this essential data that will advance your project to the next phase.

True to the nature of the oil and gas industry, the amount of time required to extract the hydrocarbons from the subsurface will directly impact the cost of the well (more time = higher costs). Because oil and gas companies have no control over the commodity pricing of the market, experiencing increased costs will reduce the overall profit margin for each project.

In response, companies can determine the properties of the oil and gas contents in the reservoir to discover how hydrocarbons flow from the well, which will allow operators to determine the most cost-effective methods for extraction.

In essence, the PVT analysis looks at the way a specific reservoir’s fluids behave under certain conditions. The results of the study serve to answer critical business questions, including

  • What is the volume of crude oil and gas in the reservoir?
  • How can we optimize the liquid recovery process?
  • What are the unique flow properties of this reservoir?
  • What do we need to know to maintain the pressure?

PVT Tests and Analysis are conducted by a professional petroleum service provider that can not only collect the essential data but also provide insight and guidance on next steps.

Pressure Volume Temperature Analysis (PVT): A Brief Overview

Companies can perform a PVT analysis for any stage of the hydrocarbon extraction process. This method collects samples from specific well sites to study so you can make decisions based on your unique data, not just industry standards. As a result, PVT Analysis has made it easy to understand how reservoir fluids behave so engineers can maximize the hydrocarbon recovery process at a minimal cost.

Here’s a closer look at what a PVT Test and subsequent Analysis entails:

Finding the Bubble Point

To fully understand the mechanics of fluids in an oil well, we perform a test to find the bubble point of the sample fluid. This is a major component of a PVT Analysis that allows us to understand the characteristics of the reservoir.

Geologists will use the results of the bubble point test to determine information related to the expected recovery of oil in the well. If the oil to be recovered is undersaturated (i.e. contains very little dissolved gas), then only a small percentage of the oil can be recovered without the intervention of advanced tools or other methods. This can have a significant influence on the overall operating costs of the well.

Differential Liberation

PVT Analysis examines the differential liberation process, where the gas is separated from the liquid sample in a continuous cycle. Because the pressure is reduced gradually, the gas doesn’t reach equilibrium with the liquid.

Flash Liberation

A PVT analysis will also look at the flash liberation process. This occurs when a sudden drop in pressure causes the crude oil to separate into an oil and gas mixture quickly.

Understanding the Reservoir to Surface Volume Relations

Though the bubble point test is a critical component of a PVT analysis, there are additional steps and measurements to take that will help to determine the best way to move forward.

The results of the flash liberation test and differential liberation test will yield three essential factors that will determine the relationship between the reservoir to surface volume: the oil formation volume factor, gas formation volume factor, and solution gas to oil ratio.

Let’s look at each one:

Oil Formation Volume Factor

This factor represents the ratio of the volume of oil at the reservoir conditions to that of the surface conditions.  The results are used to convert the flow rate of the oil at the surface to that of reservoir conditions.

Gas Formation Volume Factor

Similar to the Oil Formation Volume Factor, the Gas Formation Volume Factor is the ratio of the volume of gas at the temperature and pressure of the reservoir compared to the gas at the temperature and pressure of the surface.

Solution of Gas to Oil Ratio

This ratio indicates the amount of gas dissolved in the oil or water at any pressure. This ratio increases linearly with pressure and reflects the oil or water and gas composition. For perspective, a light oil contains more dissolved gas than a heavy oil.

Compositional Analysis: The Ultimate Goal of Performing PVT Analysis

The main reason that oil and gas companies choose to drill a well is to turn the project into a revenue-producing asset eventually. However, the main complication in doing so is the fact that the value of the oil extracted from one well is not the same as the value of oil extracted from another well.

This can complicate the process of determining the valuation of a project, calculating an ROI, and deciding whether to move forward or seek another drill site.

The composition of the oil, which can be discovered with compositional analysis, is an essential piece of the process. The results from this analysis can help companies determine with greater confidence how profitable a play will be. Once completed, the analysis can help companies learn just how much of each type of petroleum product (e.g. gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, etc.) can be produced from a single barrel of oil from that particular well.

Also, every refinery is set up to produce specific types of crude oil. A heavy crude oil and a light crude oil have very different production processes, which means they each require different refining methods. On the surface, this may seem like a small concern, but the differences in oil composition and the wells from which they came can have a major impact on your profit margins.

Depending on your projects, you may need to investigate refining along the Gulf Coast, where refiners are geared toward heavy crude oils, or in places like Europe or the East Coast of the U.S., where refineries are set up to handle lighter crudes.

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How Much Oil is Left in the World? https://drillers.com/how-much-oil-is-left-in-the-world/ https://drillers.com/how-much-oil-is-left-in-the-world/#respond Mon, 11 Nov 2019 18:26:43 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050879 In the oil industry, We can get our data from a variety of sources, from the largest government bodies to small independent niche oil supply monitoring specialists. The question of how much oil is left in the world has been speculated upon for a long as the industry has existed. Just a couple of years […]

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A black drum barrel pouring crude oil as a map of the world: Illustrating an article about how much oil is left in the world.

In the oil industry,

We can get our data from a variety of sources, from the largest government bodies to small independent niche oil supply monitoring specialists. The question of how much oil is left in the world has been speculated upon for a long as the industry has existed.

Just a couple of years before the 2008 financial crisis, peak oil supply was a popular topic, garnering a lot of headline space. Now, more than ten years later, it is peak oil demand that is bothering the industry. Meanwhile, the question of how much oil is left in the world continues to fascinate.

That oil, like coal and natural gas, is a finite resource is nothing new. It was this finite nature of fossil fuels that sparked the peak oil supply worry. Yet those worrying about peak oil did not factor in the continual improvement of exploration and extraction technology, and the development of new methods to tap these finite resources.

Future supply depends on current investment

Investment in these improvements and the application of new extraction methods, however, depends on oil prices, which, in turn, depend on numerous factors. And while it may sound counterintuitive, low oil prices tend to spur greater improvements in oil extraction as companies strive to boost the efficiency of drilling while maintaining—or even lowering—costs.

This is what we saw during the 2014-2016 oil price crisis. In the United States, this was not just a time of many bankruptcies as exploration and production companies with high production costs couldn’t survive the price pressure. It was also a time of innovation as those still afloat struggled to make more with less. Many industry observers today argue the so-called second shale revolution was to a great extent fuelled by that innovation drive.

It is precisely these improvements in exploration and extraction that make it hard to pin down exactly how much crude oil is left in the world. In 2016, for example, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated there were up to 20 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable crude oil in the Wolfcamp Basin. (Part of the Permian shale play). Two years later, the USGS revised this estimate to 46.3 billion barrels. In just two years, the extraction methods used in the U.S. shale oil industry had changed enough to make more than double the amount of oil that was technically recoverable in 2016 recoverable in 2018.

Yet, prices can also discourage technical improvements in oil exploration and extraction. They can deter exploration growth in general, which is another thing that happens when the industry cycle reaches a low point, and we witnessed it relatively recently during the 2014-2016 crisis.

Reserve replacement ratios

Every oil company keeps an eye on its reserve replacement ratio. That is the ratio between new oil the company discovers through exploration and the oil it produces. If the company wants to survive and remain profitable in the long term, it needs to maintain a reserve replacement ratio of at least 100%.

In 2015, the reserve replacement ratio of the seven Big Oil majors—Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, ConocoPhillips, and Eni—fell to just 75%. As a result, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie in 2016 warned the world might face an oil shortage of as much as 4.5 million BPD by 2035. To date, reserve replacement is at a 20-year low, according to Rystad Energy data; oil companies are replacing just one in six existing barrels with new discoveries.

There is also another metric related to the reserve replacement ratio that has a bearing on estimates of global oil reserves. This is reserve life: the period that an oil company can continue producing a stable amount of oil from its existing reserves. In 2017, according to a Reuters analysis, the reserve life of Exxon’s oil declined from 17 to 13 years, and that of Shell fell from 12 to 10 years.

Now for some hard numbers.

In its latest Statistical Review of World Energy, BP estimated the world had 1.7297 trillion barrels of crude oil remaining at the end of 2018. That was up from 1.7275 trillion barrels a year earlier and 1.4938 trillion barrels in 2008. In 1998, the world had 1.1412 trillion barrels in remaining reserves.

So, as demand has continued to grow consistently over the last 20 years, so has production and, counterintuitively, so have global oil reserves. Yet in that same statistical review, BP said these higher reserves would last us for just another 50 years: another metric oil companies use to measure their business sustainability.

Called reserves-to-production ratio, this simply means the oil reserves of a company—or a planet—at the end of any given year, divided by the production of oil during that year. The caveat here is that the R/P ratio only provides us with the length of time reserves will last if production continues at the same rate. In other words, the world would have enough oil for another 50 years if production remains at 82-84 million BPD, which it averaged in 2018.

This is unlikely to happen. Energy demand has been growing as consistently as oil production. While at the moment, demand is lagging behind supply, most forecasters expect this to change as the global population grows fast, and this leads to an equally rapid rise in demand for energy. Notably, demand for electricity is expected to expand by 62% by 2050, according to Bloomberg NEF. While a lot of the additional generation capacity will come from renewables, oil will continue to feature heavily in the global energy mix, which makes it safe to assume production will continue growing for some time.

As this happens, the work of oil companies will become more challenging because recoverability of oil reserves will worsen. This is yet another facet of oil exploration and production that has a bearing on the answer to that fascinating question: how much oil do we have left?

As in other human activities, oil extraction begins with the “easiest” parts of a deposit—the places where there is the most oil that is easy to pump out of the ground. As these sweet spots get exhausted over time, producers need to tap harder to access reserves, which cost more to develop.

Again, the story of U.S. shale is a case in point. Thirty or forty years ago few companies, if any, paid any attention to shale because there was enough conventional oil. As that started to run out, E&Ps turned their attention to shale simply because there was no other alternative.

Deepwater exploration is another case in point. Offshore production has historically moved from shallow waters to ever-deeper deposits as natural depletion takes its toll. Onshore production has moved from conventional deposits to shale and oil sands, and from easy-to-access oil to more challenging fields.


So, as the difficulty level in oil extraction increases, so do costs. When these rise to a point when a company cannot extract the oil at a profit, the deposit becomes economically unrecoverable. Even if it remains technically recoverable, this is one more reason to take any global oil reserve estimate with a pinch of salt. Whatever technically recoverable oil the world has – is not all economically recoverable.

The amount of technically recoverable oil will probably continue to rise from year to year. Oilfield service companies continuously work to make exploration and extraction more reliable and more efficient. As for economic recoverability, this is a whole other matter. It depends on oil demand, and many believe oil demand is getting threatened by renewables—a threat that will only grow. We may well have enough oil to last us another 50 years. Whether this is time enough to wean ourselves off the fossil fuel before it runs out remains to be seen.

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Petroleum Engineering 101 https://drillers.com/petroleum-engineering-101/ https://drillers.com/petroleum-engineering-101/#respond Tue, 29 Oct 2019 10:26:01 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050854 Rather than just the science, this post is focused on practical questions such as: What do petroleum engineers do? We cover the common job profile variants and tasks. What is petroleum engineering? Petroleum engineering is the branch of engineering that develops and implements ways of extracting crude oil and natural gas. Petroleum engineers play an […]

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Rather than just the science, this post is focused on practical questions such as: What do petroleum engineers do? We cover the common job profile variants and tasks.

Different drill bits used in petroleum engineering

What is petroleum engineering?

Petroleum engineering is the branch of engineering that develops and implements ways of extracting crude oil and natural gas. Petroleum engineers play an essential role in every stage of the upstream process: they are the ones who evaluate the results of exploratory drilling and decide whether drilling a production well is commercially justified. Then they are the ones who find the most cost-efficient way to drill that well and monitor its performance once the oil starts flowing.

Petroleum engineers design the equipment that is used to pump oil and gas from the ground, and they are also the ones who devise ways to maximise production by employing various extraction methods. In addition to this, petroleum engineers are in charge of making sure the whole production process runs smoothly, and all equipment operates as it should. Finally, petroleum engineers evaluate the production from a well in terms of quantity and quality to make sure they are both optimal.

With so many responsibilities, petroleum engineering has several subdivisions that focus on different parts of the oil and gas extraction process.

Reservoir engineers are the experts who evaluate the oil and gas reserves of a deposit and determine the best drilling locations. Their job is to find out as much about the deposit as possible using geological survey data and testing results to make sure wells get drilled where there is the most oil and gas to be recovered, and that this gets done cost-efficiently.

Drilling engineers are in charge of the first stage in oil and gas production: well design, including the equipment to be used to drill the well, data analysis, well completion, and, eventually, abandonment. Drilling engineers’ work overlaps with that of completion engineers.

Completion engineers are in charge of taking a well from getting drilled to the start of commercial production of oil and gas. The completion engineer makes sure the well is built correctly, using the appropriate materials and equipment, and that it will operate properly as well.

Subsea engineers specialise in the planning and installation of any production and transportation equipment below the sea surface at an offshore platform. Rig installation, wellhead construction, and pipelines are the area of expertise of the subsea engineer.

Production engineers step in once the well is completed, and commercial production begins. The main focus of their work is two-fold: 1) monitoring the flow of oil and gas, and 2) Implementing methods for boosting that and improving the efficiency of production.

What qualifications do you need to become a petroleum engineer?

A bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering is the basic qualification level you need if you want to start a career in this field. To prepare for that degree, focus on science subjects in high school is essential, with a side of social sciences to help develop communications skills that are also part of a petroleum engineer’s skill set as work involves extensive communication with various people and agencies.

Following the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, many universities also offer a master’s degree in the subject area, and there are also additional qualification opportunities in the United States from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The SPE awards certifications to those who complete its additional training course.

In the United States, in addition to completing a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at any of the schools, one also needs to earn a state license if they are to work as self-employed engineers. The licensing procedure involves passing an exam and logging in four years of qualifying work. The process ends with another exam. There are also state-specific requirements.

In the UK, universities that offer petroleum engineering degrees require three A levels, preferably in maths/physics and sciences, as well as five GCSEs, also featuring maths and sciences. Some accept level 3 vocational qualifications, as well. For graduate and postgraduate degrees, a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in any of the following: chemical, civil, mechanical, and petroleum engineering, and earth sciences, is required.

For work offshore, petroleum engineers in the UK also have to pass an exam in basic offshore instruction and emergency training, or BOSIET.

Postgraduate qualifications are not necessary to enter the oil and gas industry as a petroleum engineer, but it’s worth noting many oil and gas companies do expect a postgraduate qualification, which also has an impact on pay.

After earning the required degree, a petroleum engineer would start work under supervision from a more experienced colleague. Additional training at the company is also a common practice for new engineers.

Those with a degree in chemical or mechanical engineering can also go on to specialize in petroleum engineering after earning a bachelor’s degree.

The skillset of a petroleum engineer

Problem-solving: all engineers are problem solvers, and petroleum engineers are no exception, especially since unsolved problems in this industry could be quite costly.

Analytical skills: problem-solving requires the ability to analyse vast amounts of data, and while automation is taking some of the load off, it is still up to the engineer to make sense of all that data and decide how to use it.

Mathematics: data analysis and problem-solving in engineering require an excellent versing in maths as a fundamental tool in everyday work. Whether it concerns oil well construction, oil flow improvement, or any of the dozens of other tasks an engineer has to perform in their work.

Communication skills: Oil and gas production is teamwork in a heavily regulated industry. What’s more, this teamwork involves expensive equipment and infrastructure. Excellent communication within the team and with relevant government agencies is essential for ensuring the success of projects that commonly cost tens of millions of dollars at the very minimum.

IT skills: Information technology has become an integral part of the oil industry, and this part will only grow with the increasing adoption of big data analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence. In this context, IT expertise has become essential for petroleum engineers.

What does a petroleum engineer do?

  • Discover new oil and gas deposits.
  • Devise the best way to exploit deposits, including best drilling locations and the number of wells.
  • Design the equipment that will be used to drill the wells and extract the oil and gas.
  • Develop drilling and completion plans.
  • Monitor drilling and completion.
  • Monitor well flow and find ways to maximize it profitably.
  • Analyse well data and track daily costs.
  • Determine the optimal amount and method of injecting water, chemicals, and sand into the well to achieve higher flows at cost.
  • Recommend changes to extraction methods to boost cost-efficiency.
  • Develop enhanced oil recovery methods when necessary.
  • Continually evaluate well performance.
  • Make sure production operations comply with safety and environmental regulations.
  • Oversee well abandonment when its productive life ends.
  • Keep relevant stakeholders informed about progress, including management, contractors, and energy and environmental authorities.

How much does a petroleum engineer make?

Petroleum engineers are in strong demand despite a shift from fossil fuels to renewables in the energy industry. While there is demand for oil and gas, there will be exploration and production and petroleum engineers are essential in both segments of the upstream sector. Authorities and industry research companies are warning a talent shortage is emerging.

Petroleum engineers are already quite well paid in most countries, and the talent shortage will undoubtedly make them even better paid.

In the United States, the world’s largest producer of oil, the average salary ranges between a little over $100,000 annually to almost $120,000. Including bonuses and profit-sharing, the figure could increase substantially.

Hourly wages in the U.S. oil industry range from $36 to $90, depending on the state where the petroleum engineer is working, their experience, and the position they have at the company.

The highest-paying state, unsurprisingly, is Texas. According to data for 2015, Texas led the rank of highest-paying states for petroleum engineers with an average annual salary of $164,000. The oil industry is a dynamic one, and things change fast as oil prices vary. Still, Texas remains the hottest spot in the U.S. oil industry with its two colossal shale plays, so it will likely stay the best-paying state for petroleum engineers until the so-called second shale revolution runs out of steam. In evidence of this, new data from Indeed shows the average annual salary for a petroleum engineer in Texas was almost $137,000. That was 45% over the national average.

In the UK, petroleum engineer salaries average almost £52,000 annually, according to Indeed data. According to Prospects, the wages of a drilling engineer begins at between £25,000 and £45,000 and could reach £40,000 to £100,000, depending on the experience needed, and the size of the company employing them.

These salary ranges, however, are for engineers working full-time for an E&P. Self-employed engineers can—and often do—make a lot more. There is a striking difference between working for a large oil company full-time and working for it as a contractor or consultant. In the latter case, you could make a lot more (multiples of the employed take-home pay).

Jobs in offshore exploration and development, for example, are generally a lot more lucrative than onshore assignments. A subsea engineer on an offshore platform could earn anywhere between $75,000 and $188,000 annually. A drilling engineer employed on a deepwater rig could make up to almost $200,000 in base pay plus bonuses. Yet this is considerably less than what an offshore drilling consultant would make: $143,000 to $305,000.

Working overseas can also be more lucrative than working at home, even doing the same job as a petroleum engineer. Big Oil companies active across the globe pay generous compensation for working overseas in addition to the basic pay, any bonuses the engineer earns, and profit-sharing allocations. What’s more, they pay even more to contractors or consultants.

A drilling engineer working for one of the supermajors could make almost $80,000 working for the company in Saudi Arabia. As an independent contractor, however, the same engineer could make more than $300,000 working with the same company in the Middle East.

Profit-sharing additions are also worth mentioning when it comes to the money a petroleum engineer can make. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the average salary of a petroleum engineer is equal to about $70,500. However, this is just the principal salary. In addition to it, a petroleum engineer could make about $5,900 in bonuses and another $8,000 in profit-sharing allocations.

As in other industries, pay depends not just on location or contractual terms but on experience as well. The longer you have worked as a petroleum engineer, the more you would be paid. For example, in Indonesia, the starting salary for a petroleum engineer with zero to two years of experience is about $630 per month. However, an engineer with 15 to 20 years of experience would get $1,440 per month, and those with experience of over 20 years would get over $1,700 per month.

In China, work experience is the most critical factor for employers when they determine the pay of the petroleum engineers they hire. The pay difference between an engineer with up to two years of experience and one with experience of between two and five years is 46%: $2,240 a month for the former versus $3,270 for the latter.

Across the globe, a drilling consultant would make more than a drilling engineer on an offshore rig because of their supervisory responsibilities. To become a drilling consultant, however, you need at least ten years of experience, both as a permanent employee at an oil company and as a self-employed consultant. In short, experience pays well.

There has been growing concern recently that the profession of a petroleum engineer is dying out because of the shift to renewable energy. A lot of people are in two minds about whether to pursue petroleum engineering or another engineering degree. Indeed, over the long term, the industry might need fewer engineers than it required in the 1970s, for example. However, there is still a shortage of skilled petroleum staff looming over the oil and gas industry, and this means petroleum engineers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

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Gender Inequality in O+G Engineering https://drillers.com/gender-inequality-in-og-engineering/ https://drillers.com/gender-inequality-in-og-engineering/#respond Mon, 28 Oct 2019 11:14:38 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050848 How to fight the gender imbalance within the offshore oil & gas engineering sector From the gender pay gap to increasing the number of females at the board table – gender equality has been making headlines for several years now. It’s fair to say in many situations gender imbalances are being addressed successfully. But, when […]

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How to fight the gender imbalance within the offshore oil & gas engineering sector

From the gender pay gap to increasing the number of females at the board table – gender equality has been making headlines for several years now. It’s fair to say in many situations gender imbalances are being addressed successfully. But, when it comes to the male-dominated maritime industry, gender inequality is less of a gap and more of a gaping chasm.

The Maritime HR Association reports that the gender pay gap in the industry is a staggering 45.7% – a particularly unhealthy number when you compare it to the national average, which itself still stands at 17.4% according to the Office for National Statistics. The data was extracted from a survey from HR Consulting, which revealed that female maritime workers earn an average of £16.50 per hour – compared to nearly double what their male counterparts earn, £30 per hour.

Progress in achieving gender parity is agonisingly slow, and if it continues at current rates, it will be another 200 years before we realise it. Happily, achieving gender equality in the sector has become an important focus for everyone in the industry – men and women. And with some powerful initiatives being put into place, it may be achievable in a far shorter time frame.

Why Does the Maritime Industry Need More Women?

Just two per cent of the world’s 1.2million seafarers are women – and when you take into account that 92 per cent of that minority are working within the cruising industry, you can see the scale of the problem.

In more recent years we have seen strides forward in increasing the numbers of females working onboard a cruise ship. But, while it has grown to around 20 per cent, the majority of these women are involved in the hotel and catering service – just a tiny 0.5 per cent are employed in the technical maritime profession.

In the past, a career in shipping for women may have been discouraged – after all, it was commonly held that females were the fairer sex and would struggle to carry out some of the tasks required. But, technological advancement and progress in the industry mean that now what’s needed is less of the heavy lifting and more of the heavy thinking. For the maritime sector to thrive, it needs fresh knowledge to drive innovation – and this is something that is not just the preserve of men. By recruiting for skills and experience over gender, the industry will be well equipped to take some giant strides forward.

There is also a wealth of evidence that suggests having women high up in the workforce can do wonders for a company’s performance while more women in Parliament leads to more legislation in key social issues like health, child support, anti-discrimination and education. As the International Maritime Organisation puts it: “The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all”.

What’s Being Done to Address The Problem?

Back in 1988, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed the first programme designed to promote the advancement of women in the sector. The key goal of Strategy on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector was to boost the presence of women in the workforce in developing countries, through education, training and knowledge transfer. Fast forward to today, and the IMO adopted the theme of empowering women for World Maritime Day 2019 – suggesting that women in shipping still have a tough deal.

In the UK, the Women in Maritime Charter was launched in September 2018, which is urging companies to agree to specific targets on gender diversity. And in the same year, the IMO approved an application from Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) – itself founded in 1974 – for consultative status. This crucial step forward means the Association now has an active voice within the global industry and can do much to advance women’s positions in maritime.

Gender Parity Is the Goal

To truly address the issue of gender equality, it’s vital to consider what the end goal needs to be. Success shouldn’t be measured by achieving a 50/50 split of male/females in the maritime sector. But instead, be measured by the ability for all – regardless of gender – to have the same opportunities to enter the profession. Access to training and education as well as employment opportunities and career advancement will aid this. To help encourage female participation, there need to be visible role models, mentoring and coaching opportunities and well-publicised recruitment adverts.

And once these first steps are taken, they have to be followed through with strategies to retain the skilled and experienced female workforce. They must have the same opportunities as men to progress and advance, and female-friendly initiatives need to become written policies. It is known that there is a significant difference in the time that men are prepared to spend onboard compared to women. Overwhelmingly women say they wish to work offshore for a few years and then move to onshore roles to start a family. Few want the challenge of building a family while at sea.

Steps in the Right Direction

In April of this year, over 350 participants attended the WMU (World Maritime University) Empowering Women in the Maritime Community Conference. At close, a set of conclusions based on the development and implementation of gender-related policies was drafted. These included enforcing gender-responsive policies; promoting role models; establishing mentoring programmes; ensuring equal employment opportunities and pay; and engaging with school children to raise more awareness of the sector.

This year’s International Women’s Day in March also saw an important step forwards revealed by the UK government. The Department for Transport has given the 1851 Trust – an educational charity – £100,000 to fund ten roadshows to attract more women to maritime careers.

These are bold initiatives and great steps forward for an industry that is lagging. Change is occurring – despite progress being frustratingly slow. There are a vast number of female-centric initiatives being put into place in recent years, but these will all take time and patience before we start seeing any real change in the maritime workforce.

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Facilitation: What Will a Facilitator Bring to Your Next Meeting? https://drillers.com/facilitation-101-what-will-a-facilitator-bring-to-your-next-meeting/ https://drillers.com/facilitation-101-what-will-a-facilitator-bring-to-your-next-meeting/#respond Mon, 14 Oct 2019 12:54:44 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050790 Introduction: This article was kindly submitted to us by a writer for a corporate facilitation company. It sparked some lively debate among our team, regarding the differences between corporate and industrial facilitation approaches. The post will be published as-is, and then after, we want to highlight some nuances of industry-specific planning and areas that share […]

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This article was kindly submitted to us by a writer for a corporate facilitation company. It sparked some lively debate among our team, regarding the differences between corporate and industrial facilitation approaches. The post will be published as-is, and then after, we want to highlight some nuances of industry-specific planning and areas that share commonalities across sectors.

– Jason Lavis

A lock connecting multiple straps, to illustrate a bond created by a facilitator

A Facilitator Definition

Facilitation styles vary from industry to industry, but generally, there are three different ones: delegating, exploratory, and directive. When the facilitator assigns attendees functions, roles, or tasks, that is the delegating style. A facilitator who asks questions about ideas and experience is using the exploratory style. Finally, one who gives instructions and information is directive. The best facilitators use a combination of the three approaches.

The word facilitation comes from ‘facile’ in Latin, which means ‘to make easy’. If we were to go by that definition, a facilitator works to make things easy for other people. Of course, this is a broad definition that would cover a host of other professions as well, including mediation and training. Defining this profession clearly can help create realistic expectations on the part of the client, the facilitator, and the group or organization he or she serves.

What Do Facilitators Do?

Facilitators help organizations or other groups of people understand, plan for, and achieve common goals. In the process, the facilitator doesn’t take a particular position; they remain neutral. Some facilitator tools can assist the organization or group in reaching an agreement on issues that have emerged during a meeting or that already existed.

Types of Facilitators

Business facilitators normally work for companies, but they may also assist other communities or groups. They do not enforce or even state an opinion on the subject of facilitation; their role is to make it easier for the group to make its own decision or find an answer. As conflicts between different management levels can emerge in this process, facilitators have to be very flexible. Facilitators also take measures to empower the groups they work with, increasing their degree of self-determination and autonomy so they are able to represent their interests responsibly.

Normally, facilitators are not experts in the company’s field of activity. For example, if your company works in the automotive industry, you shouldn’t expect the facilitator to possess specific knowledge in this field. Rather, he or she will draw on participants’ existing knowledge in the interaction and, if needed, facilitate access to training if it emerges that knowledge in a certain area is insufficient.  

Facilitators can be appointed to help individuals in small and medium-sized groups solve specific tasks or work through a given problem.

Human Factors

No company can do without meetings. Ideally, these are an effective way to improve team dynamics, exchange information, brainstorm, and reach an agreement on important issues. Unfortunately, it’s all too often the case that executive and staff meetings fail to be productive. Facilitators help avoid this by using a variety of techniques to achieve optimal outcomes depending on the type of meeting. 

Executive and board meetings benefit most from facilitators with experience in design and strategic planning to stimulate discussion and creativity. Meetings are structured so that groups remain focused on strategic factors, in particular, tendencies that could disrupt their sector or industry. With facilitation, clients find relevant and innovative solutions to address these tendencies.

Management meetings benefit from the facilitator’s team management and corporate experience to enhance team interaction. Team members can attain higher levels of productivity and engagement during meetings as a result.

Advantages of an External Facilitator

If your company doesn’t have any staff trained to work as strategic planning facilitators or you’ve never created an official plan for a meeting, you may find an external facilitator quite useful. He or she will bring a new, fresh perspective that participants in a meeting may not have, being too focused on the results. What is more, the staff involved in the planning process will find they can be honest and open with an external participant without fear of conflict with management or coworkers.  

If your company is facing a series of issues and finding it difficult to arrive at an efficient strategy, an external facilitator can help you set appropriate targets and goals. Facilitators have one single responsibility – to offer you guidance in the planning process – and this process will have their full and undivided attention. Your employees have other duties and may not be as invested in this process as an outside consultant.

The Skills of a Good Facilitator

A good facilitator has a variety of different skills and isn’t easy to find. Basic skills include timekeeping, keeping a clear record of meetings, and following the agenda as agreed. More advanced skills are related to extensive knowledge of group dynamics, the ability to build conversation, the ability to paraphrase, to balance participation, and to empower reserved group members. A good facilitator augments group creativity because they have the skills to intervene effectively. They are always respectful of all participants and aware of the multiple layers of a human group’s reality.

If consensus or agreement on an issue cannot be reached, the facilitator helps participants in a meeting understand the factors dividing them. Successful facilitators also possess excellent problem-solving skills. They can enable group decision-making and structure plans and agendas to achieve optimal outcomes.

The Economic and Cultural Value of Facilitators

Facilitators are highly valuable where issues are controversial or complicated, where there are diverse perspectives and interests, or where a high degree of consensus, creativity, and collaboration are needed.

Engaging a professional facilitator is not faster or more cost-effective in the short term, particularly compared to the traditional approach of making and cascading policies, decisions, and plans from the top down. 

If these policies, decisions, and plans aren’t achieving the desired results, it may be because the employees crucial to their success haven’t played an optimal role in the process. Down the line, an investment in a more effective, efficient, and inclusive process can save your company a lot of money.

Facilitators bring the additional advantage of familiarity with different work environments and cultures. Cultural differences can emerge as an obstacle in strategic planning and facilitators have the experience needed to help participants understand these and reach a consensus despite them.

What Should You Look for in a Facilitator?

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) has six guiding principles for those looking for a specialist facilitator. According to IAF, competent facilitators plan appropriate group processes, build and maintain an inclusive environment, create collaborative client relationships, develop and sustain professional knowledge, guide the group to suitable and optimal outcomes, and model professional and positive attitudes. Evidence of these skills can be found in a facilitator’s resume, case studies, testimonials, or references from previous clients.

You may be looking for outside support to develop in-house competence and capacity to establish and facilitate processes to achieve long-term goals. In other words, you may need facilitation services for a longer period of time. If this is the case, look for experience in facilitator coaching or facilitation training as well.

Finally, take into account the magnitude of your tasks in terms of space, time, and the number of people involved. You might find it best to engage an organization with a broad network of associates in case your facilitator needs assistance from a coworker or a facilitator team. A participatory, multifaceted approach is something your company can only benefit from.

Facilitators in commercial industries may place a greater focus on promoting creativity and reconciling individual differences, while those in state or government organizations will fulfill the role of organizers and integrators. The most effective facilitators utilize a combination of these approaches.   


Hi, Jason here again. Sylvia does a great job of covering some of the main concepts of facilitation. There are soft skills and techniques that would make a good facilitator across industry sectors for example:

  • A great facilitator will focus on shared ideas raised during the workshop, not on historic mistakes or achievements.
  • There’s an art to creating an atmosphere of energy and a meritocracy of input.
  • Finding that balance of leading the meeting, but also creating a leaderless zone at the same time.
  • Careful recording and the drawing out of action points is also an art. Anyone can find challenges and pitfalls, not everyone can crowdsource a robust plan and record it in a report.

Here’s a quick video where common best and worst practices are highlighted:

The lively debate:

From time to time, the topic of a facilitators competency comes into question. Some would argue that the best facilitators are able to get everyone together in harmony and that the expertise from the participants is the priority. It’s possible to envisage someone with great people skills, but without industry experience creating a great workshop. Imagine Tony Robbins facilitating a meeting at the sales department of a hardware distribution company. That would work, wouldn’t it? Would it matter if Tony has ever sold the same widgets as the team? Probably not.

An external facilitator has an advantage because they can treat people equally without fear of political consequence.

For industrial workshops, such as the ones in the oil and gas industry that Relentless Pursuit of Perfection host, we argue that a general facilitator won’t suffice. Can you imagine the same scenario with Tony facilitating a plan of action for a hazard and operability (HAZOP) study? What about Tony working with a bomb disposal team, as Phil Smith and the team at Critical Team Performance do? On balance, most would prefer to work with those that have had skin in the game and are seen as professional industry equals.

There are a few reasons that spring to mind for this rationale:

  1. Unlike the average office-based job, an oil rig is stressful for the mind and body – and dangerous, potentially deadly. Camaraderie and group focus is experienced by people who have taken the same risks and had the same stories to tell.
  2. A facilitator that holds workshops for different companies in the same industry, all over the world will often know answers to challenges that come up. They can absorb combined knowledge from all of the teams that they interact with.
  3. The notes recorded during the workshop and the post-workshop reports contain degree level, and often postgraduate-level science, knowledge and industry jargon. Have you ever tried to take notes about, and then write about something you know nothing about? What if lives depended on it all being accurate?

What do you think? What has been missed? Does an external facilitator need extensive personal experience in the same industry vertical? Perhaps you prefer an in-house person to lake lead on a workshop? Please comment below.

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US Shale Update Through June 2019 https://drillers.com/us-shale-update-through-june-2019/ https://drillers.com/us-shale-update-through-june-2019/#respond Fri, 11 Oct 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050814 These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from 114,539 horizontal wells in 12 US states, through June 2019. Cumulative oil and gas production from these wells reached 11.7 billion bbl and 133.7 Tcf of natural gas. West Virginia is deselected in most dashboards, as it has a greater reporting lag. Oklahoma […]

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These interactive presentations contain the latest oil & gas production data from 114,539 horizontal wells in 12 US states, through June 2019. Cumulative oil and gas production from these wells reached 11.7 billion bbl and 133.7 Tcf of natural gas. West Virginia is deselected in most dashboards, as it has a greater reporting lag. Oklahoma is for now only available in our subscription services.

Oil production from horizontal wells in these states increased slightly in June, to around 7 million bo/d (after upcoming revisions). That would represent a growth of 100 thousand bo/d in the first 6 months, far lower than the ~670 thousand bo/d increase in the same period last year, but still positive.

As is visualized in the chart above, total oil production in June can be divided into 3 roughly equal parts: the contribution from wells that began production in the first 6 months since year (dark blue), the ones that started last year (light blue), and all the wells that came online before 2018 (all other colors).

Natural gas production also set a new record (switch “Product” to gas), at 64 Bcf/d.

In the “Well quality” tab, you can easily see how well productivity has changed in the major tight oil basins. Results have steadily improved since 2008, but markedly slower after 2017. Normalized for lateral length (which is possible in our advanced analytics service), and averaged for all the oil wells in these basins, we see no clear improvement since 2016.

EOG is by far the largest operator of tight oil wells (see “Top operators”), producing almost double the numbers 2 to 5. However, its production dropped by almost 8% in June, from which it somewhat recovered in July (based on preliminary data, not visible here).

This “Ultimate recovery” overview shows the relationship between production rates and cumulative production over time. The oil basins are preselected and the wells are grouped by the year in which production started.

The 2nd tab (“Cumulative production ranking”), ranks all counties by cumulative oil production. McKenzie County is shown here in the top spot. Since 2005 more than 1 billion barrels of oil have been produced in this county from horizontal wells, and production is still above half a million bo/d. Lea, Midland, Reeves and Weld are also close to this production rate.

In the following overview (taken from our ShaleProfile Analytics service (Professional)) you can see how well productivity has evolved in each of these 5 counties.

Well productivity in the top-5 oil-producing counties

The chart on the top-right shows the average cumulative oil production in the first year on production, by production start date, for each of these counties. It clearly shows that based on this metric, McKenzie is still the most productive area. If you normalize for lateral length in this dashboard, Lea is clearly outperforming the other areas. That probably explains why you can now find the most rigs drilling horizontal wells in Lea County, based on the latest rig count (65, vs. 53 in Reeves and just 18 in McKenzie).

The charts below it reveal that McKenzie also has the longest laterals, while in Midland most proppant is used.

Early next week we will have a new post on North Dakota. Production data through July, in which another production record was set, is already available in our subscription services since last week.

Production data is subject to revisions. For these presentations, I used data gathered from the sources listed below.

  • FracFocus.org
  • Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission
  • Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
  • Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Similar to Texas, lease/unit production is allocated over wells in order to estimate their individual production histories.
  • Montana Board of Oil and Gas
  • New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission
  • North Dakota Department of Natural Resources
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Texas Railroad Commission. Individual well production is estimated through the allocation of lease production data over the wells in a lease, and from pending lease production data.
  • Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining
  • Automated Geographic Reference Center of Utah.
  • West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
  • West Virginia Geological & Economic Survey
  • Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission


The above presentations have many interactive features:

  • You can click through the blocks on the top to see the slides.
  • Each slide has filters that can be set, e.g. to select individual or groups of operators. You can first click “all” to deselect all items. You have to click the “apply” button at the bottom to enforce the changes. After that, click anywhere on the presentation.
  • Tooltips are shown by just hovering the mouse over parts of the presentation.
  • You can move the map around, and zoom in/out.
  • By clicking on the legend you can highlight selected items.
  • Note that filters have to be set for each tab separately.
  • The operator who currently owns the well is designated by “operator (current)”. The operator who operated a well in a past month is designated by “operator (actual)”. This distinction is useful when the ownership of a well changed over time.
  • If you have any questions on how to use the interactivity, or how to analyze specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Oil and Gas Production: A Beginners Guide https://drillers.com/oil-and-gas-production-a-beginners-guide/ https://drillers.com/oil-and-gas-production-a-beginners-guide/#respond Mon, 07 Oct 2019 09:20:21 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050793 Upstream Industry Guide: Oil and gas production is a fundamental cornerstone to the global economy. The world consumes close to 100 million barrels of crude oil every day, and the number is set to continue rising despite the expansion of renewable energy. In short, oil will continue to be an essential primary source of energy […]

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Vector of an oil platform and pipeline used for oil and gas production

Upstream Industry Guide:

Oil and gas production is a fundamental cornerstone to the global economy. The world consumes close to 100 million barrels of crude oil every day, and the number is set to continue rising despite the expansion of renewable energy. In short, oil will continue to be an essential primary source of energy for the foreseeable future. Here is how energy companies find it and extract it.

Seismic exploration

Oil and gas get formed when hydrogen and carbon atoms in plant and animal remains connect in geological formations.  It happens under the growing weight of sand and other sediments that accumulate on top of the remains over millions of years. With time these accumulations hardened and became rock.

That rock, in layers of different density, or strata, moved over these millions of years driven by tectonic movement. This movement created pockets of oil and gas trapped in porous rocks sandwiched between harder layers. Identifying such sandwich-like structures that contain so-called oil traps is the first step in oil exploration. The second is conducting seismic surveys of the area.

Seismic surveying involves sending sound waves into the rock commonly using either a seismic vibrator, for onshore exploration, or an air gun, for offshore exploration. In the past, dynamite was popular as a tool for seismic surveying. It is still sometimes used today for locations when it is vital to limit the impact of the vibrations to the surrounding area.

When sound waves penetrate rock formations, part of their energy gets reflected by the harder layers of rock, while the rest continues deeper into other strata. The reflected energy travels back and is recorded and then interpreted.

The industry differentiates between 2D and 3D seismic surveying. The difference between the two comes down to the number of seismic lines used to derive data about potential reservoirs. Seismic lines are the lines of geophones—the devices that receive the sonic signal reflected from the layers of rock—arranged in the surveyed area. The more geophones there are, the better the data. Also, in 3D surveying, the geophones are more closely-spaced to capture more detailed data.

Based on how much energy from the sound waves gets reflected, (and where), explorers identify potential oil and gas-bearing strata. The next step is exploratory drilling. Time to spud the wildcats as drillers call these wells.

Exploratory drilling

Drilling exploration wells is the only way to confirm there are oil and gas in the location identified as a possible reservoir by seismic surveying. From exploration wells, E&Ps gather data not just about whether there are oil and gas in the ground but also whether there is enough of it to progress to development wells.

If the drillers strike oil in the well, the next step is to measure flow rates and pressure, which would tell the company if the well is viable and worth the additional investment for appraisal wells.

Appraisal wells are drilled around the first exploration well in case the flow of oil from the first well suggests there are enough hydrocarbons to justify developing the field. The purpose of the appraisal wells is to quantify the reserves of the oil field. Also, they enable the drilling team to examine the quality of the hydrocarbons contained there.

Another thing appraisal wells tell drillers is how much oil they can reasonably expect to produce from the field. This information would inform other decisions afterwards, chief among them how to best approach extraction to recover most of the identified and quantified reserves. The number of production wells, their location in the field, the drilling and launch schedule are all determined thanks to the data collected and analysed during the appraisal drilling stage.

Onshore vs offshore oil and gas production

Drilling an exploration or an appraisal well and turning the latter into a production well is pretty straightforward on land. Once the well gets drilled and the presence of oil and gas confirmed, drillers remove the drillbit, add production tubing, and the oil begins flowing. The rig is dismantled and moved to another location.

Offshore, however, everything depends on depth. For shallow water exploration, a drilling barge with a rig attached to it is sufficient. In depths of up to 500 feet, drillers use jack-up rigs, which are a type of mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs). Jackup rigs are attached to the seafloor, and the drilling rig is “jacked up” above the surface.

Further out into the sea, at depths of up to 10,000 feet, E&Ps use semi-submersible platforms. These are floating MODUs that feature pontoon-like “legs” underwater, hence the name. These legs make semi-submersibles more stable than drillships—the vessels used in deepwater exploration.

Another kind of vessel used in deepwater and ultra-deepwater offshore exploration and production is the floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or the FPSO. FPSOs look like ships, and they accommodate processing equipment and storage space. The oil and gas extracted on-site and processed on the FPSO are either loaded on smaller vessels to take to shore or fed into pipelines.

Once the drilling rig has done its job, commercial production begins. Onshore, the process from exploration to production start takes a lot less time than offshore. Putting a shale oil well into production takes a few months, making shale the fastest deposit to develop, at least in the United States. Offshore projects, on the other hand, still take years between discovery and the start of production. This slow process is both because of the much more challenging maritime environment and because of safety concerns. These were heightened after the Deepwater Horizon disaster and have remained elevated since then.

Conventional oil

Initial production of oil and gas from a conventional well, onshore or offshore, has traditionally relied on the underground pressure of the hydrocarbon reservoir, which pushes up both the oil and the gas. Primary production is called free flow.

The underground pressure of oil and gas deposits quickly declines and E&Ps need to help the oil keep flowing by injecting either gas or water into the well to boost the pressure of the reservoir. Increasingly often, gas, steam and water injection are moved back to the start of a production well’s life to maximise initial recovery.

Free flow—primary production—can recover a relatively small portion of a well’s reserves. Different sources put this at between 5% and 25%. Secondary recovery, commonly called enhanced oil recovery, features water, steam, and gas injection. It can increase recovery rates substantially, bringing the total to 40% of the oil in the deposit. EOR’s main drawbacks are that it is both expensive and uncertain. There is no guarantee the injection of fluids or gas would increase recovery enough to justify the expenses.

Oil sands

Oil sands are a special kind of oil deposits. They are so special that they require unique technologies to recover the solid-state bitumen. About 80% of oil sands get mined in-situ, on-site. The most popular technique for bitumen recovery is called steam-assisted gravity drainage, and it involves drilling two horizontal, parallel wells in the bitumen layer. Producers then inject steam into the top well to melt the bitumen around. Gravity makes this bitumen flow into the lower well and from it, up to the ground.

Shale oil

Shale oil differs from the conventional oil in that there is no pool of oil that drillers tap into. The oil in shale formations is trapped in the rock, and E&P companies drill directly into that. The initial drilling is vertical, like in a conventional field. From this borehole, horizontal laterals are drilled to maximise the amount of oil recovered.

After the well gets drilled, E&Ps inject water into it to release the oil from the rock: the notorious hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Besides water, drillers also inject chemicals into the rock and sand, to keep the rock pores that contain the oil open for longer and recover more oil. Shale oil wells are much quicker to start producing, and depletion also comes more quickly than in conventional oil wells.

Abandonment and decommissioning

Every well that has stopped yielding enough oil and gas to make economic sense needs to get plugged so as not to contaminate underground aquifers or leak above ground. First, there are tests to make sure there are no cracks in the well casing that could cause leaks. Then the operator of the well plugs it with cement and removes the surface structures used in production.

Offshore, in addition to the plugging of the depleted wells, E&Ps need to decommission the platforms that have housed the production and storage equipment. Decommissioning involves dismantling the equipment and related infrastructure (pipelines), and removing the platform – or at least most of it – from its location.

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Offshore Oil Rigs: Power, Equipment and Technology https://drillers.com/offshore-oil-rigs-power-equipment-and-technology/ https://drillers.com/offshore-oil-rigs-power-equipment-and-technology/#respond Sat, 28 Sep 2019 17:16:09 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050775 Introduction Offshore oil and gas production involves the extraction of oil and gas from often extreme depths under the sea. Land-based drilling is much easier, but offshore production plays an essential role in the world’s energy supply. With 71% of the world’s surface as water, hydrocarbon deposits are found in larger quantities in the sea […]

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Offshore oil rigs rely on a robust power supply, and support equipment.


Offshore oil and gas production involves the extraction of oil and gas from often extreme depths under the sea. Land-based drilling is much easier, but offshore production plays an essential role in the world’s energy supply. With 71% of the world’s surface as water, hydrocarbon deposits are found in larger quantities in the sea than on the land.

Even with new technology in renewables, offshore oil production is likely to continue to increase. Green energy isn’t keeping up with the high demand for oil and gas production across the world. Finding a sustainable, suitable, and cost-effective power source is a significant challenge for offshore oil production.

Drilling for oil involves the use of bulky and specialized equipment. The equipment needs an enormous and continuous power supply. That makes power supplies an essential part of the oil and gas industry. Heavy instruments include equipment such as hoisting systems, cranes, turntables, pumps, and large engines. A power supply gets needed for the smooth functioning of machines for extracting and producing oil and is also required to provide employees for their daily needs and use.

Offshore oil rigs also require water for desalination, to power washing machines, process waste, and a power source for cooking. This much-needed power supply in gas and oil fields is significant for the smooth functioning of the oil rig.

Ensuring Powering Supply for Off-Shore Oil and Gas Rigs

The use of diesel-powered generators is the most common method of power supply to the rig. Additional configurations and features get required for stationed offshore diesel generators. The generators are manufactured with materials and coatings that can withstand the extreme temperature along with water, salt, and wind in marine conditions. Diesel and gas generators get used for generating power for offshore rigs.

Oilfield Equipment Used Offshore

The oilfield equipment market majorly includes upstream operations. The primary use of oilfield equipment is the development of successfully explored oilfields. Various applications of this equipment include well completion and drilling. The main functions of oilfield equipment include flow control, pressure maintenance, well intervention, drilling, well logging, data acquisition, well completion, etc.

On account of rapid fluctuations in prices, the oil and gas industry witnessed a significant number of downturns in recent years. A recent upturn is expected to increase the global number of oil wells, thereby propelling the oil field equipment market.

According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global oilfield equipment market is expected to reach $127.6 billion USD by 2020. Incorporating advanced technology for improved recovery rate, better performance, and higher production is expected to fuel market growth.

The main factors driving the growth of the market are oil price recovery, increased field development activities, number of mature oil wells, and oil exploration. For instance, in April 2018, Carnarvon Petroleum Ltd., a company located in Perth, announced the redevelopment of Buffalo oil field in the Timor Sea after signing the Maritime Boundary Treaty with Australia.

Product segment in the market includes field production machinery, drilling equipment, valves and pumps, etc. Crude extraction, processing, and transportation has extensive usage of this equipment and is also used to perform multiple operations offshore.

Instances of accidents on onshore and offshore drilling sites have generated concerns regarding the testing, production logging, and survey equipment and services. These factors are expected to propel the growth of exploration and drilling equipment. The oilfield equipment also helps operators control borehole erosion and subsurface pressure, reduce formation damage, and optimize drilling parameters.

The proper pipeline transport system is required for efficient energy transportation for cost-effective and safe movement from supplier to end-user customers.  Valves and pumps are required for these pipeline systems, which is driving the demand for the oilfield equipment market. There are various other tools used for removing impurities and harmful chemicals before it’s transported to end-use customers or refineries.

Trends and Advancement in the Market

Leading companies in the market are inclined to invest in technological development to ensure security and safety for equipment usage. That is further anticipated to fuel the global oilfield equipment industry. To meet continued global demand pressures, the oil and gas industry is shifting toward unconventional sources of energy production, which is anticipated to impact the growth of the market positively.

Companies are focusing on innovation to maximize their productivity, which is promoting the growth of the market. Better internet connectivity provides offshore oil rigs improved productivity by connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT). This helps to add internet to physical objects and also add sensors, to measure the flow accurately through pipes.

Various technological advances in well drilling and completion have enabled exploration of new oil and natural gas sources for the energy industry. That has resulted in meeting with the rising demand along with reducing the environmental impact of energy production.

Technological advancements will play a vital role in meeting global energy demand because they:

  • Enable the discovery of new resources,
  • Provide access to harsh or remote locations, and:
  • Help develop vital reservoirs, which were previously not economical to produce.

These have also enabled more oil and natural gas to be recovered from the length of each well. That improves productivity and reduces the environmental footprint of energy production.

The global market has a presence of the number of companies across the value chain. Manufacturers and sellers of oilfield tools include companies such as FMC Technologies and National Oilwell Varco. Other companies involved in extracting and finding crude oil are Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Weatherford International. Some companies who own equipment are engaged in leasing out offshore oil drilling rigs. Major market players include Aker Solutions, National Oilwell Varco, Halliburton, Cameron International, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford International.

Company Bio:

This article has been written by the team at of Grand View Research, Inc., a U.S. based market research and consulting company. The company provides syndicated and customized research reports, as well as consulting services. To help in making informed business decisions on oilfield equipment market, the team offers market intelligence studies ensuring relevant and fact-based research.



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Guyana: The New Star on the Global Oil Map https://drillers.com/guyana-the-new-star-on-the-global-oil-map/ https://drillers.com/guyana-the-new-star-on-the-global-oil-map/#respond Tue, 24 Sep 2019 14:44:02 +0000 https://drillers.com/?p=2050749 Exxon Guyana Oil Discoveries When Exxon first started drilling off the coast of Guyana, it hardly anticipated the oil price crash of 2014. The supermajor first struck oil in the Stabroek block in 2015, in the worst of the crisis. Since then, Exxon and its partner Hess have made 13 oil discoveries, tapping reserves that […]

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The Guyanese flag on an oil barrel vector with the globs and oil pumps in the background

Exxon Guyana Oil Discoveries

When Exxon first started drilling off the coast of Guyana, it hardly anticipated the oil price crash of 2014. The supermajor first struck oil in the Stabroek block in 2015, in the worst of the crisis. Since then, Exxon and its partner Hess have made 13 oil discoveries, tapping reserves that may reach as much as 5.5 billion barrels of crude. That could be less than half of what the rocks under the waters around the tiny South American country contain.

In 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the Guyana-Suriname Basin could hold some 13.6 billion barrels of oil and 32 trillion cu ft of natural gas in recoverable reserves. That was 19 years ago, and since then exploration and production technology has improved significantly, making more barrels technically recoverable. No wonder Exxon has been striking oil repeatedly.

Liza well scheduled for production in Q1 2020

Exxon and Hess—and their partner Chinese CNOOC—plan to begin commercial production from the Liza well in the first quarter of 2020. Initially, this should be 120,000 BPD, rising to 220,000 BPD during the second phase of development. Meanwhile, Exxon is working on its other discoveries in the Stabroek block. The combined output from these discoveries could reach 750,000 BPD over the next five years.

That is an impressive speed of development. There has been a lot of talk, from industry insiders and observers alike, about offshore projects taking too long to bring from discovery to commercial production to be worth the investment. (In the post-crisis world of lower-for-longer prices). Exxon’s success in Guyana has disproved the universality of this observation. Guyana is turning into the next focal point of the oil industry in a world of shrinking discovery potential.

Tullow Oil gets in on the action

Exxon and Hess are not the only ones drilling for oil offshore Guyana. Tullow Oil announced in August its first discovery in the Orinduik block, two months after drilling started. The well, Jethro-1, could hold more than 100 million barrels of crude, the company said. Another two wells got scheduled for the Orinduik block, with the combined reserves of all three estimated at 400 million barrels. The whole block, however, could hold almost 4 billion barrels of recoverable crude. That’s the latest reserve estimate, and it is much higher than earlier ones.

Then, in mid-September, Tullow announced a second discovery in the Orinduik block and quite a significant one, at that.

“Joe is the first oil discovery to be made in the Upper Tertiary,” the UK-based company said, “and de-risks the petroleum system in the west of the Orinduik block, where a significant number of Tertiary and Cretaceous age prospects have been identified.”

In other words, the find in Joe-1 may open up a lot more recoverable reserves than initially thought.

Investment by Total

It appears Guyana’s oil wealth got underestimated from the start. When Hess Corp. bought its 30% interest in the Stabroek block, its reserves were estimated at just 500 million barrels of crude. Now, Shell must be kicking itself for selling the stake in what has turned out to be one of the most significant discoveries in the oil industry in decades. Other oil majors, in the meantime, approached Eco Atlantic, the minority partner of Tullow in the Orinduik block with offers for a stake acquisition.

At the time, in early 2017, Eco Atlantic’s chief executive declined to name names but said they were “big”. One of those big names was French supermajor Total: it snapped up 25% of Eco Atlantic’s 40% stake in Orinduik in September 2017. The deal got completed last year.

Total’s entrance into Guyana’s offshore oil industry is significant. The French company has been particularly picky with its investments post-2014 and has created a lasting impression of being a lot more cautious and low-risk than most of its peers. In other words, if Total has bet on Guyana, it is a safe bet.

It was not always this way. When Exxon signed its first production sharing agreement with the Guyana government, it was 1999 and exploration efforts until that year had failed to produce any discoveries. It took another 16 years for the first discovery to get made. Since 2015, however, it seems wherever drillers set their drillships, they strike oil. The problem for companies that might want in on the Guyana action is… The pie has been already cut and served.

Other players

Besides Exxon, Hess, CNOOC, Tullow, Total, and Eco Atlantic, explorers in the waters off of Guyana include Chevron (after its acquisition of Anadarko, which holds a license for the Roraima block) and Repsol, as well as one energy junior, CGX Energy. Most of the acreage available for exploration offshore Guyana is in supermajor hands.

Besides the Stabroek block, Exxon shares control of the adjacent Canje block with Total, each with a 35% stake. The U.S. giant also holds the operatorship and 35% in another block adjacent to Stabroek: Kaieteur, where the first well is scheduled for next year. Hess is a minority partner there as well, with 15%. Total, for its part, holds a minority stake of 25% in a third block, Kanuku, where the operator is Spain’s Repsol, with 37.5%. Drilling in the Kanuku block will begin in late September.

CGX Energy, the junior, holds the rights to two blocks, Demerara and Corentyne, which it earlier this year agreed to share—along with the exploration expenses—with Frontera Energy.

Guyana has always held the promise of oil riches. The tiny nation is squeezed between Venezuela with its biggest-in-the-world oil reserves, and Suriname. Suriname is a minor oil producer but shares with Guyana the basin that holds all those billions of barrels. If anything, not finding any oil should have been surprising.

Can Guyana survive the oil curse?

The country has yet to start reaping the benefits of its oil wealth. Some worry it will become the latest to suffer the so-called oil curse. (Which has most recently and spectacularly manifested itself in Guyana’s northern neighbour, Venezuela).

Indeed, as a BBC analyst noted in a story earlier this year, Guyana has all the symptoms of a country vulnerable to the oil curse. Poverty and unemployment are widespread, and so is corruption. In other oil-rich nations, Simon Maybin observed, the petrodollars have only made matters worse rather than better. That, in turn, has had a bearing on the investment climate, and therefore the future development of oil wealth.

Right now, the political situation in Guyana seems relatively stable. Earlier this year tempers flared up with the ruling coalition refusing to accept the result of a no-confidence vote and challenging it at court. It lost the case, and elections could get held before this year’s end.

Whoever wins, chances are Exxon and company are safe, at least for the time being, until the oil starts flowing and the petrodollars start coming. As history in other resource-rich countries such as Indonesia and Iraq has shown, the time may come for contract term renegotiations that oil supermajors might not like. That is only a possibility and a relatively distant one. For the time being, Guyana loves Big Oil, and Big Oil loves Guyana.

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