About the Petroleum Industry
Drilling and Completions
The first step in producing oil and gas
is to find the resource. Relying
on seismic data, workers in geophysical
services identify where oil and gas deposits are
possibly located. Once these sites have been chosen, upstream oil and
gas companies bring in drilling rigs and their crews to
explore the area further. If oil or gas is found in useful
quantities, a service rig can be brought in to prepare the well
hole for production (complete the well).
Drilling rig crews are the first drillers
to come to a possible well site. They operate large rigs and drill
down hundreds - or even thousands - of metres into the ground to
determine if there is oil or gas below the surface.
If the well is dry, it will be plugged.
If the well has enough oil or gas to produce, the drilling crew
lines the well with a special metal pipe known as casing which is
cemented in place. The next stage is to bring in a service rig to
complete the well (see below).
Wells are completed by smaller service
rigs. These rigs and their crew are part of the Well
Services sector, and they install the equipment needed
to begin production, including the tubing needed for the oil or gas
to safely reach the surface.
A growing sector
The Drilling & Completions sector has
grown significantly. Over the past 15 years the number of rigs has
jumped by over 40 per cent and the sector is expected to continue
to grow with strong oil prices in 2012. In 2011, a fleet of nearly
800 rigs drilled over 16,000 wells. In 2012 the industry expects to
grow to about 830 rigs.
The busy season for drilling crews is
winter when the ground is frozen and able to support heavy
equipment. Crews typically work a two-week 'hitch', followed by one
week off. Travel is normal, and a crew could be sent anywhere in
Western Canada. While they are working, rig crews stay in a camp
provided by the operating company or find accommodations in a
nearby town. Rig employees are paid an allowance to cover living
expenses while they work away from home.
For more drilling information,
Interested in a career in the drilling and completions
sector? You have a great range of career options!