BarrelThe basic unit for measuring oil. A barrel is equal to 42 U.S. gallons.
BitA drilling tool that cuts the hole. Bits are designed on two basic and different principles. The cable tool bit moves up and down to pulverize. The rotary bit revolves to grind.
Blow-Out PreventerA heavy casinghead control, filled with special gates or rams, which can be closed around the drill pipe, or which completely closes the top of the casing.
Boyle’s LawA law of physics stating that when gas is subject to compression and kept at a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and volume is a constant quantity, i.e., the volume is inversely proportional to the pressure.
British Thermal Unit (BTU)A generalized measure of heating value, also used to compare energy potential in different types of fuels.
ButaneA flammable hydrocarbon gas that is a constituent of petroleum and is used in bottled form as a fuel. It is a member of the alkane series. Butane is highly flammable, colorless, easily liquefied gas that quickly vaporize at room temperature.
CasingHeavy steel pipe used to seal off fluids from the hole or to keep the hole from caving in.
CasingheadA simple metal fitting welded or screwed onto the top of the casing or conductor pipe and forms part of the wellhead system for the well. This fitting at the top of an oil or gas well allows pumping, cleaning, and the separation of gas from oil. This is the primary interface for the surface pressure control equipment, for example blowout preventers or the Christmas tree.
Casinghead GasGas produced with oil in oil wells. The gas is taken from the well through the casinghead at the top of the well.
Catalytic CrackingA refining process for breaking down large, complex hydrocarbon molecules into smaller ones. A catalyst is used to accelerate the chemical reactions in the cracking process.
Christmas TreeThe assembly of valves, pipes and fittings used to control the flow of oil and gas from the casinghead.
DerrickA tapering tower, usually of open steel framework, used in the drilling of oil and gas wells as support for the equipment lowered into the well.
Distillate Fuel OilsFuel oils which are products of distillation. They include fuels used for diesel fuel and space heating.
Directional DrillingThe drilling of a well that departs materially from the vertical direction.
DownstreamThose activities in the oil and gas industry which take place away from the source of the supply. Downstream operations commonly include refining and marketing endeavors.
Drilling FluidsSpecial chemical fluids, usually called mud, introduced into the hole to lubricate the action of a rotary bit, to remove the cuttings and to prevent blowouts.
Dry GasNatural gas which does not contain dissolved liquid hydrocarbons.
Dry HoleA completed well which is not productive of oil and/or gas or which is not productive of oil or gas in paying quantities.
Enhanced RecoveryThe increased recovery from an oil pool achieved by artificial means or by the application of outside energy sources to the pool.
Equivalent BarrelsQuantities of natural gas and natural gas liquids translated into barrels of oil based on equal energy content. The energy content of six thousand cubic feet of gas (6 MCF) is the rough equivalent of one barrel of oil.
ExplorationThe search for oil and gas. Exploration operations include aerial surveys, geophysical surveys, geological studies, core testing and the drilling of test (wildcat) wells.
Fault TrapA structural trap in the earth, favorable for the retention of petroleum, formed by the cracking and breaking of a rock plane.
GusherAn oil well that comes in with such great pressure that oil flows out of the well head into the air. Such wells used to be commonplace, but with improved drilling methods, notably the use of drilling mud, gushers are a rarity today.
Horizontal DrillingA method of drilling where the drill bit is turned in a horizontal direction to produce hydrocarbons from a number of areas located at the same approximate depth.
IndependentA company involved only in the exploration and production of oil and gas and possibly in the transportation. An independent will not be involved in the refining of oil.
Injection WellA well employed for the introduction into an underground stratum of water or gas under pressure. Injection wells are employed for the disposal of produced water from oil and gas wells.
Integrated CompanyA company involved in virtually all aspects of the oil and gas industry including exploration, production, transportation, refining and marketing. These companies are also referred to as major oil companies.
LeaseThe instrument by which a leaseholder or working interest is created in minerals.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)Natural gas becomes a liquid at a temperature of minus 258 degrees F and may be stored and transported in the liquid state.
MCF (Thousand Cubic Feet)The standard unit for measuring the volume of natural gas.
Natural GasHydrocarbons, which at atmospheric conditions of temperatures and pressure, are in a gaseous phase.
Natural Gas LiquidsHydrocarbons found in natural gas which may be extracted or isolated as liquefied petroleum gas and natural gasoline.
Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)Generally, the area outside the territorial boundaries of the coastal state over which the federal government exercises control.
Oil FieldAn area which is underlain by one or more reservoirs containing oil.
Oil PoolAn underground reservoir or trap containing oil.
Overboard WaterAnother name for produced water or brine produced from oil and gas wells.
PlatformStructure used in offshore drilling on which the drilling rig, crew quarters and other related items are located.
Plugging of WellSealing off the fluids in the stratum penetrated by a well so that the fluid from one stratum will not escape into another or to the surface.
Probable ReservesAn estimate of reserves taking into consideration known geology, previous experience with similar types of reservoirs and seismic data, if available.
Processing PlantA plant to remove liquefiable hydrocarbons from wet gas or casinghead gas. This process yields the propane, butane and other products taken from natural gas.
Produced WaterWater that comes up a well with the oil and gas. Produced water is usually high in salinity. It is often the force that drives the oil and gas to the surface. After leaving the well, the produced water is separated from the oil and gas. Also referred to as overboard water, formation water, saltwater and oilfield brine.
PropaneA heavy flammable three-carbon alkane gas at standard temperature and pressure, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel and in chemical synthesis.
ProrationThe restriction of production by a state regulatory commission, usually based on market demand. The proration of natural gas is utilized to prevent physical and economic waste and to protect correlative rights.
Proven ReservesOil which is still in the ground, but which has been located and determined to be recoverable.
QuadA quadrillion of BTU’s. This unit of measurement is used in connection with energy consumption. A barrel of crude oil contains 5.8 million BTU’s. Natural gas contains about one million BTU’s per MCF.
RecompleteTo move the primary completion from one zone to another. May involve reperforating, running other tubulars or setting a new packer.
Redrill FootageOccasionally, a hole is lost or junked and a second hole may be drilled from the surface in close proximity to the first. Footage drilled for the second hole is defined as “redrill footage.” Under these circumstances, the first hole is reported as a dry hole (explanatory or developmental) and the total footage is reported as dry hole footage. The second hole is reported as an oil well, gas well, or dry hole according to the result. The redrill footage is included in the appropriate classification of total footage, but is not reported as a separate classification.
RefineryThe facility where the characteristics of petroleum or petroleum products are changed.
ReservoirA porous and permeable sedimentary rock containing commercial quantities of oil and gas. Three types of reservoirs are encountered including structural traps, stratigraphic traps and combination traps.
RigThe structures and equipment used in drilling an oil and gas well including the derrick, engine, engine house and other equipment.
RoughneckA driller’s helper and general worker on a drilling rig.
RoustaboutA common laborer around a drilling or a producing well.
RoyaltyThe landowner’s share of production, before the expenses of production.
Severance TaxA tax on the removal of minerals from the ground. The tax can be levied either as a tax on volume or a tax on value.
Shut InTo close down a producing well temporarily for repairs, cleaning out, building up reservoir pressure, lack of market, etc.
Sour GasNatural gas contaminated with chemical impurities, notably hydrogen sulfide or other sulfur compounds, which cause a foul odor.
Specific GravityIn the case of liquids, the ratio between the weight of equal volumes of water and another substance, measured at standard temperature and where the weight of the water is assigned a value of 1. However, the specific gravity of oil is normally expressed in the industry in degrees of API gravity.
Spudding InThe first boring of the hole in the drilling of an oil well.
StratumThe first boring of the hole in the drilling of an oil well.
A layer or a series of layers of rock or soil that was formed at the Earth’s surface with characteristics that distinguish it from other layers
Stripper ProductionThe final stage of production in the life of an oil well or oil field. This stage is characterized by low rates of production, sometimes no more than a barrel of oil per day.
Tension Leg PlatformA type of platform generally used in deep waters. Instead of a stationary platform attached to the ocean floor, the surface platform is tethered to a templet on the ocean floor by flexible steel tendons.
UpstreamActivities in the oil and gas industry which take place close to the supply. This normally includes exploration and production activities.
WellA hole drilled in the earth for the purpose of finding or producing crude oil or natural gas or providing services related to the production of crude oil or natural gas.
WellheadA term usually defined as being at the Christmas Tree but, which under exceptional circumstances, may be defined as located at some other place.
Wellhead RevenuesThe total dollar value of crude oil and natural gas at the wellhead. Wellhead revenues are calculated, based on the production volumes of crude oil and natural gas, multiplied by their respective average wellhead price.
Wet GasNatural gas containing liquid hydrocarbons in solution, which may be removed by a reduction of temperature and pressure or by a relatively simple extraction process.
Wildcat WellAn exploratory well being drilled in unproven territory, that is, in a horizon from which there is no production in the general area.
Work OversOperations on a producing well to restore or increase production. A typical work over is cleaning out a well that has sanded up.