The past made, the process of crude oil recovery difficult. Crude oil deposits are thick, sticky black and yellow-colored composite. This is where the advances in technology make oil recovery simple. The composite materials lay far underground hard to retrieve. Also finding the composites is hard. Sensitive seismic equipment must determine where the composites lay deep under the earth’s crust.
Seismic Exploration to Find Crude Oil Deposits
Before any drilling is done, geologists and technical engineers use sensitive seismic equipment to explore the ground for crude oil deposits. If the tests come back positive and the 3D mapping concludes a crude oil deposit is there, then the drilling process can begin.
Platform Set in Place for Drilling to the Composite
They set a drilling rig up over the site that been tested. The drilling rig must be large enough to handle the depth of the drilling process. Drill bits are different sizes and made of different metals to accommodate each drilling condition. If the rig is not large enough, it will not reach the crude oil composite.
The Drilling is Completed Extraction Begins
The drilling the holes completed it have reached the crude oil composite. Now a second hole must tap into the same crude oil deposit. The second hold is to aide in the extraction process. Once the second hole tapped, they fit it with an injector valve. The injector will inject heated water and demulsifiers into the crude oil composite. They call this stage of the extraction as thermal enhanced oil recovery or (TEOR).
Heating and Injection Process
Heating the water into steam softens the crude oil composite. The crude oil is then pumped out of the original hole. During this process, they incorporate the steam with demulsifiers or salt. The salt and demulsifiers break down the crude oil into different liquefied states. Demulsifiers are different chemicals used to break down crude oil into varying degrees. It uses different liquefied states for different petroleum products.
Stages of Crude Oil Breakdown into Petroleum Products
Once the crude oils pumped out of the ground it’s transferred to a refinery. They heat it to different temperatures at the refinery to make petroleum products used in daily commodities. They use a gas stage to make gas fuels like butane, nitrogen, hydrogen and other types of liquid gasses. They use the oil stage to make oil for engines, transmissions, other machinery. It also uses the oil stage to make plastic and medical products. After all the gas and thin oils used they’re left with the thick oil products. It uses this thick oil to make grease, tar, asphalt, sealants, and other waterproof products.
Without Thermal Recovery Process
Without the thermal recovery process, it would take longer to extract the crude oil from the well. It would be harder on the recovery equipment to extract the crude oil. More man-hours would be used and more time spent on the same recovery site. With the advancement of this new technology less time, effort, and money is wasted. The process has been made simple for recovery of a valuable resource.