Saturday, April 19, 2008

The People in the Business

What's neat about the industry is that it is so uniformed that you won't feel a difference whether you're in the North Sea drilling or completing an extended reach drilling well in Sakhalin.

Let's talk about the engineers first. The main groups are Drilling, Completion, Reservoir, Facilities. Obviously, the drilling people drill, the completion people complete wells (completion is a process where a tubular is ran in the well with 'jewelry' to aid the production of the mineral. Jewelry simply means completion equipment such as a sliding sleeve door, a nipple / profile where plugs are set, downhole pressure gauge which reads the pressure and temperature of the reservoir or close.

Some Operators would have the same engineers work as Drilling and Completion engineers. Some Operators separate the two. Some Completion Engineers also do what's called a "Workover", a process of repairing completed wells. Over time, tubulars or "Casings" or "Tubings" corrode with CO2 content in the produced gas or jewelry stop functioning and production is disrupted.

The Drilling Engineers obviously drill holes in the ground. They design how wells are drilled, the trajectory that the well takes, the equipment to be used (Equipment are supplied by "Contractors" or "3rd Party Services"), establish a cost estimate for the project, duration of the project. The deeper the "Target" is, typically it gets tougher. Deeper could translate to higher temperature, higher pressure, more abrassive formation, faults, etc. These are elements of mother nature that a Drilling Engineer has to factor in his design of a well.

The Reservoir Engineers estimate the volume of the reservoir from the data gathered. Reservoir Engineers normally work closely with the Geologists to determine the location of the minerals. Reservoir Engineers estimate the rate of extraction and depletion using sophisticated softwares and models. During the production of a well, a "Surveillance" Engineer monitors the production and performance of that well. The surveillance engineer is normally the reservoir engineer in charge of the field. In the Oil Majors, the top Executives normally have reservoir background.

The Facilities Engineers are normally chemical and mechanical engineers who design the processes on a platform. A "satellite" platform or a small platform could hold between 3-6 wells and a "Mother" platform could house as many as 48 wells. On the platform, numerous equipment are installed such as "Test Separators" or "Multi-Phase Flow Meters" to accurately measure production, Compressors to generate power, chemical injectors to transport curative additives in the well and so forth. Facilities Engineers design and ensure the functionability of these equipment.

There are also support groups in the business, from Marine, Procurement, Accounting, HR, etc like other business setups.

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