|Technology of Oil & Gas Production|
While oil and gas production has undergone a number of rebirths in its more than 100-year history, the elements of the process remain relatively constant. Oil is found in reservoirs deep underground or beneath the ocean floor, and is extracted vertically through relatively small-diameter, high-pressure tubing. The process extracts oil, water, and mixed gases (simple hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide, possibly also small quantities of nitrogen and inert gases) from the rock formations.
A sketch of a typical oil field gathering system is shown in the following figure:
Once at the surface, the production stream runs through a control wellhead into horizontal flow lines, normally of larger diameter and running at lower pressures. The flow lines carry the three phases into a separator vessel in which the gas phase flashes to the upper portion. The oil occupies the middle portion and the water drops to the bottom. Gas from the top may be reinjected into the reservoir, refined and marketed, or flared. Water is normally reinjected into the reservoir, and the oil is sent to a pipeline for delivery to a refinery, tanker terminal, or transmission pipeline system. Other oil field processes include gas processing and reinjection, seawater injection, and natural gas liquid (NGL) stripping and blending.
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