Oil Producers: What are they saying? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Oil Producers: What are they saying?


To many of us, the oil industry is a complete mystery. It's sort of like they speak a foreign language, with terms like breakout cathead.

So, what better place to go than the East Texas Geological Society's Tech and Prospect Expo (which is where production services meets oil producers) to find out what it is they really do?

The annual East Texas Geological Society Expo is open to the general public, but generally most of us aren't there. Many of us ignore evidence of the oilfield every day because...well, that's not what we do.

When you talk to those in the field, they may say things like:

"Horizontal technology, cementing, completion procedures, down hole completion equipment, wire line, coil tubing." These terms are thrown around the way the average person throws around "laundry" and "filling up the tank".

Dal Smith with Schlumberger humored me and took a shot at explaining what he sells and how it all works.

"We have the drill bits. We also have mud. The mud is what they circulate around the well bore as they're drilling We have just about all the rental equipment that you'll need on that drilling rig to drill the well," Dal explained.

He told me a wire line sets plugs deep in the well to control hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which basically cracks open rock with high pressure liquid.

"Then we go back in with our coil tubing units and motors, we mill out all the plugs. Once the plugs are all milled out, then your well comes in with your gas," Dal added.

The gas or oil comes up through a pipe (a tubing string) within another protected pipe (the casing).

"Well, what about these mobile rigs? I think a question burning in East Texans' mind is: Are they ever going to go faster? I get stuck behind them all the time [on the highway]," I asked Dal.

"Just be patient with them. They're going to get the gas so you can have fun in your little hot rod or motorcycle on the weekends," Dal said.

So, they're just regular working guys who really don't speak in another language.  They just have hundreds of names for hundreds of things you and I may have to look up to find out what they are.

And in case you're wondering, a breakout cathead is a high-torque tool used to connect pipe joints together.

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