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Drilling

If the results obtained during the geophysical acquisition campaign are conclusive, a drilling is conducted to confirm the presence of oil in the deposit and validate the production of a well. 

Exemple du cuvelage d’un forage réalisé à Champotran.

How drilling works ?

Drilling is a set of techniques that can dig a well in the subsurface to depths up to 5 kilometers. It requires a surface site (or platform) to install the drilling rig, its tools and equipment. These dig deep in the subsurface, crossing several geological layers such as sand, limestone or clay, to reach the targeted oil zone. It works in some ways like a giant hand-drill. 

One of the essential elements during drilling is mud. This mixture of water and clay is used to cool the drill bit, to help dig, and to bring rock cuttings to the surface. Like a closed circuit, the sludge already used is sieved on the surface and recycled constantly. 

There are 3 sections of drilling, each time deeper. At each of these stages, a steel tube is lowered that makes it possible to ensure the horizontal sealing of the well and to consolidate the drilled hole with respect to the geology it has traversed. The space between the tube and the rock is then cemented to ensure the vertical sealing of the well. This operation is essential to preserve the quality of the groundwater and to guarantee the solidity and longevity of the structure. 

Schéma des différents types de forages.

The different types of drilling 

  • Vertical drilling: allows the well to be drilled vertically in the zone of the deposit where the oil is likely to be present in the subsurface 
  • Sidetrack drilling: allows drilling of several targets from the same drilling site. This limits the number of sites on the surface and allows the use of existing facilities. 
  • Horizontal drilling: allows several targets to be reached in the subsurface from the same site and to maximize the exchange surface with the reservoir, thus reducing the number of boreholes required. 

 

How do you know if there is oil? 

When the mud and rock cuttings reach the surface, they are separated and analyzed by a geologist. This examination makes it possible to determine the geological characteristics of the rocks the drill traveled through and the presence of hydrocarbons. Additional measurements, called logs, are then made to obtain more precise information on the potential of the oil field. 

Following the drilling, an evaluation phase is conducted to collect information on the deposit and to assess if it is sufficiently promising to be produced. 

If the results are positive, the engineers propose a development plan for the deposit, which includes the number of wells to be drilled, the surface installations to be put in place (collection, storage, etc.) and the associated costs. 

If the results obtained during the geophysical acquisition campaign are conclusive, a drilling is conducted to confirm the presence of oil in the deposit and validate the production of a well.

 


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