Oil and gas well drilling
Doscher, Todd M. Formerly, Department of Petroleum Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Last reviewed:June 2018
Show previous versions
- Hole direction
- Directional drilling
- Horizontal drilling
- Drilling fluids
- Blowout prevention
- Blowout control
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Drilling for exploration and extraction of crude oil and natural gas. Deep holes and high pressures are characteristic of oil and gas well drilling (Fig. 1). Formation-fluid pressures are commonly controlled by using a high-density clay-water slurry, called drilling mud. Drilling-fluid pressure must be sufficiently high to prevent blowouts but not high enough to fracture the borehole. The primary disadvantage in the use of drilling muds is the relatively low drilling rate that normally accompanies high bottom-hole pressure. Drilling rates can often be increased by using water to circulate the cuttings from the hole; when feasible, the use of gas as a drilling fluid can lead to drilling rates as much as 10 times those attained with mud. See also: Natural gas; Offshore oil and gas; Oil and gas field exploitation; Petroleum; Petroleum engineering; Well
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