We all know what crude oil looks like.... a black thick liquid substance. We all know it comes from the ground. It is cool to think that you can drill a hole in the ground and Bam! You got oil. But how did it get there? In previous blogs, we have given history lessons on the first well drilled, the first discovery of oil and gas, etc. But never really went into depth about how the oil got there in the first place. So what is oil and how did it get in the ground?
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
The beginning of crude oil formation happened millions of years ago. Oil is a fossil fuel that has been formed from a large amount tiny plants and animals such as algae and zooplankton. These organisms fall to the bottom of the sea once they die and over time, get trapped under multiple layers of sand and mud.
As time goes by, heat and pressure began to rise as the organisms get buried deeper and deeper below the surface. Depending on the amount of pressure, heat and the type of organisms, determines if the organisms will become natural gas or oil. The more heat, the lighter the oil. If there is even more heat and the organisms were made up of mostly plants, then natural gas is formed.
Once the oil and natural gas is formed, it migrates through pores in the rock until it gets trapped under cap rock and clay where the oil can no longer get through. This is where we find oil today!
Retrieving the Goods
When retrieving the oil pockets, they have to drill through the sediment and rock. Once the oil is retrieved, it is mixed with sand, gas, and water. The oil is emulsified with the water and must be separated out along with the gas and sand. Without separation, you cannot just simply take the oil out of the ground and be ready for use. Once oil has been treated and separated, it can be used for a variety of uses. In fact, my fellow blogger, Amy, just did an awesome blog over the many many uses that come from oil that every single person has used. Go check it out!
Here at CROFT we play a part in treating the gas after it has been retrieved from the ground. There are many different stages that oil and gas goes through starting from millions of years ago when the formations began. Check out where we fit in and how we help treat natural gas.
**Originally published by Croft employee Jessica Lee July 22, 2015.