People use oil more than 5000 years. It is used in a raw form, as medicines, building materials, in the military affairs, and many other fields. For the production of oil, people often used native oil appearing on the surface of land or water. Oil refining and petrochemistry did not exist until the middle of the XIX century. Isolated cases of deeper processing of oil or the production of complex compounds of oil and other substances could be observed, but they rather were interesting to historians and museum professionals as the first precedents of this kind of technical solutions. However, nowadays, this field is extremely developed. It is called petroleum engineering. Petroleum engineering is an area that is located at the intersection of science and engineering.
People learned to produce energy thousand years ago. “The evolution of human civilization is synonymous with how it meets it energy needs” (Islam and Khan 1). The earliest wells were drilled in China in 347. Their depth was over 244 meters. The wells were made with the use of a drill bit mounted on bamboo racks. Oil was burned to evaporate brine and receive salt. By the X century, oil wells and salt springs were connected with a long network of bamboo pipes. Ancient chronicles indicate that people used fossil fuels for lighting and heating. In Japan, in the VII century, oil was known as hot water. Even at that time, it was essential for people. In the book The Petroleum Engineering Handbook: Sustainable Operations, the authors state that “Humanity has progressed as a species, it must exhibit, as part of its basis, some evidence that overall efficiency in energy consumption has improved” (Islam and Khan 1). These days, energy is also one of the most important components of the modern life. In such a way, for a safe future of energy, it is necessary to find a balance between possible supply and environmental influence. Thus, there is an area of petroleum engineering. “Petroleum hydrocarbons are considered by some to be the lifeblood of modern society” (Islam and Khan 5). Petroleum engineering is a mixture of expansion, analysis, and innovation. It is an area of engineering connected with the manufacture of hydrocarbons. In turn, they can be produced from both natural gas and crude oil. Petroleum engineering is connected with other disciplines including civil, chemical, and mathematical. Petroleum engineering involves many specialists including geologists, seismologists, geophysicists, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers. In such a way, to work in petroleum engineering, it is necessary to know other fields such as geology, geophysics, economics, drilling, well engineering, well logging, reservoir stimulation, and others.
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A team of the oil extraction consists of geologists specializing in the preparation of maps and projections regarding the composition of the rocks below the surface and the location of sedimentary rocks that give the key to the location of the oil fields. As soon as this phase of work is completed, there are specialists on the work with the layers of soil. They study the fragments of rock brought to the surface during the drilling process. They also analyze the data obtained by electric and acoustic instruments that with the help of a special cable are immersed in the well. Transmitted data help get an idea of soil layers. Seismologists decipher these complex signals due to the fact that sound waves reflected from the borehole walls return back to the surface. Geophysicists study the transformation of the organic matter and the principles of this matter detection in the deep layers. In addition, petroleum engineering needs such experts as physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers. They all contribute to designing new technologies for the extraction of raw materials. Engineers are responsible for the development of oil deposits. Typically, engineers working in the oil industry specialize in narrow fields of oil extraction including drilling and construction of surface facilities, petrophysical and geological analysis of the reservoir, evaluation and analysis of the level of maximum development of the field, as well as the control of the oil production.
Such specialists as engineer-drillers and engineer-petrophysists are also involved in petroleum engineering. A drilling engineer specializes in the process of drilling of a well. After analyzing numerous specific instrument, engineers-petrophysists and geologists make a preliminary description of the deposit as well as its capacity, porosity, and integrity. After that, engineers-developers of the deposits make the layout plan and decide the number of wells that subsequently will be drilled over the deposit. These experts make predictions of the percentage of the production at optimal recess. They also take into account all the costs of an extra notch. Engineers-developers evaluate the productivity of the deposit and the maximum value of excavation from it. They make the production schedules and work estimates. These specialists also calculate the value of the extracted raw material. Only after this, production engineers observe the behavior of wells. The engineer has the right to make recommendations and correct the working style of the well including prevention of fracturing, acid treatment, deepening of the well, the use of gas and water, and any other means to improve the economic performance of the well. These days, people involved in petroleum engineering have great opportunities since there are many companies conducting petroleum operations in different countries around the world. Petroleum engineers should constantly develop their methods and technologies to isolate hydrocarbons. Nowadays, they use modern technologies and computers to automate the drilling operations and the production of oil. They should also develop modern technologies to isolate oil that can be left under the surface after the use of producing technologies.
In the area of petroleum engineering, specialists need to participate in the design and development of oil and gas fields. It includes schematization of deposits and creation of geological models. When designing deposits, specialists use modern computer equipment and software tools. They perform work on the construction, repair, reconstruction, and restoration of oil and gas onshore and offshore wells. Experts in this field search for and explore objects to create underground gas storage. They design and construct oil pipelines. One of the most important tasks for the experts in the field of petroleum engineering is to assess risks and take measures to ensure safety in the oil and gas production. They also promote oil and gas pipelines, monitor underground storage of gas and oil, as well as sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and liquefied gasses (Fink 339-340).
In conclusion, surface deposits of crude oil have been known to humans for thousands of years. In places where there were oil lakes, oil has been used for such needs as the production of drugs, building material, and many others. In such a way, it can be concluded that in one form or another, oil is not new to the world industry. For a safe future of energy and humanity, it is extremely important to find a balance between the environmental influence and possible supply of oil. To achieve this purpose, there is an area of petroleum engineering. Many people are involved in this field including engineers, geologists, geophysicists, seismologists, physicists, chemists, and biologists.