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Advanced Oil & Gas Drilling Technology

John Huang, Ph.D., PE and John Poullain, PE

This three-hour online course summarizes basic information and issues for advancements made in oil and gas drilling and exploration technology. The advantages and limitations of the methods conventionally used for offshore well drilling are discussed and compared with advanced methods. Economic and environmental benefits are presented. Also addressed are drilling safety issues and the means used to provide reliable undersea operations, which protect coastal environments from leakage and spills. The functions of various methods and procedures are described to give an understanding of typical problems encountered in the field. Fact sheets, case studies and reading sources for drilling and exploration are included.

This course provides general guidance for the impacts of measures used for offshore oil and gas drilling. As oil and gas reservoirs are discovered in deep offshore sites, oil and gas exploration and development have been gradually moving farther offshore and into still deeper and colder water with production wells in water exceeding depths of 10,000 feet. Among the topics covered are horizontal, directional, coiled tubing, microhole drilling, latest drilling bits and fluids, subsurface formation fracturing and measurement-while-drilling. These advancements when properly selected and combined together have permitted deeper offshore exploration and production of oil and gas wells. Necessary measures to reliably operate wells and other equipment as well as any unsound conditions or potential problems are considered in the course.

Drilling mud and fluids are an expensive part of oil exploration and production. Advancements in drilling mud allow the best “fit” for the drilling conditions and the environment. Drilling mud is used to bore the wells and to clean and cool the drill bits. Mud is pumped from mud pits through the drill string, sprayed out the drill bit and then used to carry the drilling cuttings, oil soaked soil, waste soil and rock pieces, back up to the surface. If the viscosity is too low, the cuttings will settle down the well instead. However if the reservoir has a low formation pressure, the mud may be too heavy in the fluid column and the oil will not flow. Mud with higher viscosity is used for borehole cleaning. The types of drilling fluid include water based, oil based, synthetic based and gaseous or pneumatic. Drilling mud has these main functions:

a. Remove cuttings from the borehole.
b. Suspend the cuttings for removal to the surface.
c. Cool and lubricate the drill bit.
d. Control formation pressures.
e. Seal and stabilize the well bore and reduce damage to the formation.

Many advances have been made in mechanical equipment such as remote spillage or leakage detectors, monitoring systems and alarms that safeguard against the threat of petroleum releases. Periodic inspections, knowing when a component of a system is defective or improperly maintained and understanding what is necessary to correct observed problems are important to continue proper operations of a well and pipelines. The course covers the basic features and factors that can adversely affect oil and gas well operations.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.