Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hydraulic Rotary Drilling

Oil exploration experts do their best to discover the right places to drill for oil, but often the presence of oil cannot be determined until a drill bit penetrates the pocket. This can take many days or weeks of hard work in extreme circumstances. Utilization of the right drilling equipment is essential for a successful and profitable operation.

Once a promising site has been identified by explorers, operators must evaluate the site to determine an efficient drill plan. Geologists assist with this step using techniques such as mechanical earth modelling (MEM). By compiling information from core samples taken at the site, and correlating with information from other wells in the area geologists can generate a picture of the earth strata that drillers may encounter. This information consists of the depth that different types of sediments will be encountered as well as the rock density and hardness. All of this enables drillers to select the appropriate drilling equipment for the operation.

Pre 1900’s most holes were done using percussion drilling. This is when a heavy object is lifted up and dropped to the ground repeatedly. This method only allows for depths of several hundred feet and the work can take many years. With the drive to reach deeper depths in shorter time frames technology has rapidly evolved. Today companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corp depend on hydraulic rotary drilling, which allows rig operators to reach the deepest oil reservoirs between 30,000 and 40,000 feet below the earth’s surface and oceans. Beyond 40,000 feet the intense heat from the earth’s core will have vaporized any useable crude oil.

Hydraulic rotary drilling consists of a tungsten carbide drill bit impregnated with synthetic or natural diamonds on the end of a hollow pipe assembly. Drilling mud, a gel like mixture of bentonite, clay, and other additives, is used to lubricate and cool the pipes and drill bit. Cuttings and rock chips travel up the hole on the outside of the drilling assembly. Samples of rock chips are collected at various depths. Drill bits are often between 18 and 26 inches in diameter. The largest drill bit in the world is over 3’ in diameter. Larger holes are required to reach attain higher flow rate of crude, therefore faster production times. If stability of the bore hole becomes a problem, as it can in softer sedimentation, steel collars or casings must be put in place to keep the hole from collapsing. A rotating three cone drill bit, like the one pictured in the popular Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon”, reduces friction and increases wear

One of the latest advancements is a rotary steerable system (RSS). This system allows deviations from the vertical up to several hundred feet. By reducing the friction and wear on the drill bit there is less chance of stuck pipes, or a jammed drill bit twisting off. The benefits substantially reduce production costs by saving time and equipment costs.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

How is Oil Formed – Crude Oil is Solar Power

Oil and Natural gas are among the most valuable and sought after natural resources being used today. Crude Oil is the organic compound harvested from the Earth that is used to make all forms of petroleum products. Refineries convert most crude oil into energy producing compounds such as gasoline, diesel fuel, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel, and heating gases such as propane. However, a surprising amount of everyday products also contain petroleum components. This long list includes deodorant, plastics, inks, eyeglasses, tires, paraffin wax, lubricants, cleaning products, heart valves, and bubble gum. Another important derivative is used in road asphalt. The U.S. consumes about 22 million barrels of oil/day, most of which is imported from other countries such as Canada, and Saudi Arabia. A 45 gallon barrel of crude oil can be converted to approximately 20 gallons of automotive fuel.

Petroleum, which comes from the Latin meaning “rock oil”, is found all over the world at varying levels of concentration. They are called “hydrocarbons” because their chemical composition mostly consists of hydrogen and carbon atoms chained together. Crude is being formed all the time; however, conditions during certain periods in the Earth’s history were extremely suitable for the formation of oil. Jurassic period over 150 million years ago the Earth’s Oceans were abundant in microscopic plants, and bacteria which drew their energy from the sun in a process known as photosynthesis. Swarms of plankton fed on the plants and bacteria. As the plants and plankton died they sank to the ocean floors and became covered in mud and silt. Overtime layers upon layers of organic material and silt become stratified. Since the organic materials do not have access to oxygen they will not breakdown the same way. Anaerobic micro-organisms, that do not require oxygen to live, decompose the material into a carbon rich substance. Heat and pressure increase with depth and eventually presses the substance into other sediments forming source rock. Intense heat and pressure continues to act on the rock for thousands of years eventually releasing liquid hydrocarbon chains known as crude oil. Essentially it is the suns energy preserved deep within the Earth’s crust. The crude oil then migrates to porous rock and becomes trapped in underground reservoirs. Reservoirs can be tens of thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface, and require. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corp are among the leaders of oil extraction in the United States.
Oil sands are a form of heavy oil, or bitumen found on the Earth’s surface. One of the largest deposits of bitumen is in the Athabasca region in Alberta thought to hold an estimated 175 billion barrels of oil. Oil sands were formed in a similar fashion. Scientists speculate a large inland sea once covered Alberta. Over eons of geological shifts the oil formed has migrated through porous limestone and sandstone towards the surface.

The essential requirements are quite simple. Organic material becomes trapped and preserved under sediments and rock strata. Ever increasing pressure and heat slowly converts the substance into hydrocarbon chains and the crude oil deposits migrate to reservoirs.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties.

The Oil Change

You are on your way home late at night and you notice the check engine light is on. What could be the problem? It dawns on you that it has been quite a while since you last checked or changed the oil. Here’s why you should stop immediately and check it out instead of waiting till morning.

The oil in your car lubricates the engine parts, reducing friction and heat. It coats all the metal parts in the engine which reduces engine corrosion or oxidization. The oil must also hold all the by-products of combustion in suspension. Continuing to drive if there is no oil, or even lower levels of oil, will cause the engine to seize up and stall. This can do permanent damage to your engine which may require you to replace it entirely.

One of the most common procedures that goes hand in hand with automotive ownerships is the oil change. While you may have very little desire to change the oil yourself it is unwise to ignore the check engine warning light for too long. Here is some basic information to help you understand what an oil change is and why it is important.

Oil is made from “crude”. Crude is an organic compound found beneath the earth’s crust. Companies that own oil fields, like Triple Diamond Energy Corp, hire drilling rigs to bring up the oil. It is then sent to a refinery that converts it into different kinds of oil. Not all motor oil is equal. Various properties described by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) are used in grading. Viscosity refers to the resistance of motion or thickness of oil. Flash point is the lowest temperature the oil will begin to burn at. Pour point is the warmest temperature the oil stops flowing at. There are also Synthetic oils which are essentially manufactured molecule by molecule. These oils have a greater consistency, since they are free from irregularities and contaminants. Synthetic oils were first used by the Air Force during World War 2 for the new high performance radial engines used on fighter planes and bombers, which would not run on regular oil.

Oil breaks down over time and its ability to protect the engine is lessened. Most regular oils will last between 5000 – 7000 miles; however manufacturers often recommend changing your oil every 3000 miles. Synthetic oils do not breakdown as quickly, the additives in them still will and should be changed every 15 000 – 20 000 miles.
It doesn`t take much to prevent this kind of automotive breakdown. Always keep an emergency tool kit in the trunk of your car. Be sure to include a flashlight, funnel, some rags, and a few quarts of oil. Familiarize yourself with the layout of your engine should you find yourself. If your car has an oil pressure or engine temperature gauge on the dashboard you can look up the safe operating ranges in your service manual. Knowing this can prevent catastrophe in the event the check engine light fails to activate. Typically any readings in the “red zone” are cause for concern. Should a problem arise this can get you home, or to your preferred auto mechanic before any serious damage is caused.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties.

Cleaning Up Kuwait's Oil Fields

At the outset of the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq’s generals gave orders to demolish Kuwait’s oil production facilities and wells to insure the coalition forces would recapture nothing of value. The ensuing scorched earth tactics led to the destruction of over 85% of Kuwaiti oil wells. Serious fires erupted in over 600 of the 700 wells that were blown up sending up toxic clouds of smoke. Oil flowed at uncontrolled rates. Enormous lakes of oil covering 100’s of square kilometers formed in the flat desert. Another hope was that the massive flames and smoke would prevent coalition forces from operating; however it had very little impact on the advancing troops. The efforts to control fires and well blow outs lasted nearly 9 months. Fallout of immeasurable proportions continues to be an issue to this day and it is estimated that 1 billion barrels of oil were consumed in those fires.

Numerous challenges had to be overcome to cap a blazing well. First the heat from the fires combined with the hot desert sun made in extremely difficult to even get near the well sites and toxic black smoke reduced visibility in the area. The blaze must first be extinguished before custom designed equipment can be used to seal the blow outs. Massive amounts of water were needed to fight the blaze, which had to be trucked in and stored near the site in 500 gallon tanks or large pits that were dug. Preparations for an attempt on a blaze took several days. Crude oil spewed from the extinguished wells high into the sky. Wind carried the black substance as far away as 500 yards covering both man and machine. A process called “stinging” sealed the blow out. The stinger assembly attached to a pump truck delivers mud at high pressure and volume to overcome the flow of oil.

Another regional problem of great concern is the enormous quantities of waste oil in tank bottoms and earth pits. Although the U.N. has pledged several billion dollars towards the cleanup much of the funds have been unused, however some progress is finally being made. Each pit is a mixture of sub standard oil, chemicals, and other solid by products from the oil extraction process that may contain up to 30 million barrels of usable oil. Methods are being developed to bring up this sludge and separate out the usable oil and contain the left over chemicals and waste materials.

Due to regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency oil extraction performed in the U.S. by companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corp produce far less waste than Kuwait. A similar organization in Kuwait has made some changes however due to mounting political pressure for development many environmentally harmful methods are still practiced.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Drilling In Ultra-Deep Water

As the major terrestrial oil fields near retirement, there is an ever increasing drive to bring deep sea oil fields to production. The Gulf of Mexico is thought to contain the largest untapped oil reserves in the world. Based on current findings, some estimates by the Department of the Interior Mineral Management Services number reserves at over 100 billion barrels. Finding oil in deep water is one thing, but extracting it from these undersea reservoirs is an entirely different challenge. Deep water rigs are designed to overcome the unique technical problems associated with deep water drilling.

Deep water rigs and the equipment on them must withstand extreme and variable conditions. Freezing temperatures, stormy seas, hurricane wind forces are just a few things to contend with at the surface. Equipment on the sea floor may be difficult or impossible to access during drilling and must be designed to be nearly maintenance free for several years at a time, while still operating 24 hours around the clock. The price tags on these rigs can easily climb past half a billion dollars.

Sending drill bits down through a mile or two of ocean and then three of four miles of variably dense rock strata to reach reserves is no small feat of engineering. The drill is made up of hundreds of pipe sections all linked together. Once a rig reaches its desired drilling site crews spend several days linking pieces together; as each piece is dropped into the water it is affixed to the next. Joints at each connection point allow limited amounts of flexibility for drilling.

Once a rig goes into production it must stay anchored in place for years at a time. In shallow waters rigs are anchored in place with synthetic moorings. These ropes are strong enough to resist the wind forces of a hundred year storm like Hurricane Katrina. Anchoring a deepwater rig is much more difficult and can even be dangerous by preventing it from moving to safer water in the event of a hurricane. Ocean currents in deepwater are much more powerful than shallow areas. Anchoring a deep water rig is done using massive propulsion mechanisms positioned at each corner of the rig. GPS monitoring equipment tracks the rigs position and tells the thrusters how to maintain status.

Systems are put in place on the ocean floor to help increase production speeds. Rock strata on the ocean's floor is porous and sponge like, therefore well pressures may not be strong enough to overcome the water column above. Powerful pumps are used to increase production speeds. The pipes and pump systems must withstand both the extreme freezing temperatures of the sea water at that depth, as well as the intense heat of the oil coming from the well which can reach temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This interaction between the hot oil and the cold water can cause catastrophic backflow problems. High grade insulation is used to counteract this problem. Should a problem arise, robotic submarines can be dispatched to investigate and repair damages.

As exploration into the deepest regions of the Gulf of Mexico escalates and some of the largest oil fields in history are being discovered, Oil and Natural gas companies based in the United States, such as Triple Diamond Energy Corp, are able to work towards reducing US dependency on foreign oil imports. The future is promising!

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties

Friday, February 1, 2008

Deep Ocean Exploration

As accessible coastal oil reserves in shallow waters near the shore become exhausted, alternative sources must be continually found. A synthesis of advanced technologies has opened up new frontiers in deeps sea oil and gas explorations. With over 70% of the earth covered in water there is a lot of territory to explore, which makes starting in the right place a paramount issue. Sensors aboard satellites, surface ships, and submarines have helped locate and access oil reserves in areas previously thought impossible to reach. Currently drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is taking place at depths as low as 2500m’s.

Satellite imagery is an area continually undergoing innovation. In the past satellite data has been used to identify “macroseeps”, or large pools of oil at the surface leaked from reserves below. Using advanced sensing equipment and lasers, satellites can now pick up traces of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere above suspected oil reserves. Comparing images taken at various times can help pinpoint locate the exact sources of the seeps.

Determining actual depth seabed has traditionally been done with surface ships using depth sounding equipment, but now satellite altimetry is used to create images of the seabed below. Dips and bulges at the surface of the ocean, not visible with the naked eye, follow the ocean floor can be identified by measuring signals sent through a network of satellite and ground stations.

Until recently the intense pressures of the deep sea has limited submersible exploration. Robotics has allowed submersibles to dive as deep as 3600m’s, or 12 000ft. These craft can take pictures, videos, and scans as well as collect material samples from the oceans floor. Samples can be examined for hydrocarbon contents, and imagery can be used to locate oil seeps coming from the sea bed.

With oil wells successfully operating nearly a mile below the surface mining and mineral exploration companies have begun to cross the rift to deep sea operations. If you can go 2 km’s through solid rock to reach mineral deposits why not 2km’s below sea level? Hydrothermal vents near volcanically active places superheat sea water as it seeps below the porous ocean floor. As the water shoots out the vent dissolved minerals precipitate forming mineral rich towers known as black smokers. These towers collapse over time forming vast fields of resources. Some suggest that mining in these sea beds are far less environmentally destructive than mining from the earth’s surface. Deposits lying on the sea floor are immediately accessible without extensive excavation efforts. Acid drainage released from the process would be neutralized in the alkaline sea water. Another benefit advocates point to is that no permanent structures or rock waste piles would be left behind.

With emerging superpowers, China and India, driving the demands for oil exponentially upwards American companies, such as Triple Diamond Energy Corp, are continually seeking new ways to reduce the need for foreign oil importation.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties

Chukchi Lease Sale 193 Announces Feb 6, 2008

The Alaskan wilderness and surrounding seas have long been coveted by oil and mining companies for their richness in natural resources, but strict regulations and controversial environmental issues have prevented widespread efforts from taking place.

Currently debated is the Chukchi Sea lease sale 193. The Chukchi Sea area in question lies 25 miles off the north-western coast of Alaska. Reservoirs below are thought to contain 15 million barrels of recoverable oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The sea bed, lying between 95ft and 262ft, could be easily accessed by off shore drilling rigs. This icy sea is also one of two environmentally sensitive habitats of arctic polar bears, a species whose endangerment is also currently in debate. Impending decisions on the protection of their habitat could significantly limit development by the oil industry in the Chukchi Sea.

The Department of the Interior Minerals Management Service has proposed the sale of 29.4 million acres for oil and gas exploration to be held on Feb 6, 2008. This would be the first sale in this region in fifteen years. Oil and gas exploration and extraction companies will bid for the rights of 5355 blocks of territory and the MMS would collect a 12.5% royalty on revenue from all parcels. Advocates for the sale believe this could help bolster the faltering U.S. economy by providing a security that comes from reduced reliance on foreign oil supply.

Politicians, including Senator John Kerry, are advocates for delaying the sale until a decision can be made about the Polar Bears endangermenet. Delaying the sale by as much as three years would allow scientists more time to conduct studies on how further commercial activity may cause imbalance in this region. Scientists also seek to develop an understanding of how global warming is impacting habitat. Polar bears are carnivores and scavengers that live and hunt for food off the ice floes of the Chukchi Sea. When the ice melts the bears either drown or are forced inland, which limits their access to their staple food sources: seal, walruses, and narwhal and beluga whale carcasses.

Some have questioned why the proposed sale is to take place before the decisions about the polar bear habitat, however it seems there is little that can be done to stop the sale now. The Alaska Wilderness League expects companies like Exxon, Shell, and Statoil to be bidding on the sale. Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corp could also benefit from further oil developments in the region.

About the Author: Robert Jent is President & CEO of Triple Diamond Energy Corp. Triple Diamond Energy is an independent producer of oil and natural gas. Located in the Dallas area, the company specializes in acquiring the highest quality prime oil and gas properties