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The oil and gas extraction process constitutes seven steps to be complete, and they include;

Step 1: Preparation of the rig site.

The preparation involves building the essential ground infrastructure, which includes access roads and pads. Additionally, it factors in the noise barriers and safety measures, which are monitored according to the state and local laws.

Step 2: Drilling.

This phase involves transporting the drill rig to the identified and prepared location, and the necessary infrastructure is set up to unlock the oil and natural trapped below. Next is the drilling of a well straight down underneath the pad. The surface hole is drilled to a depth of 100 feet to the nearest aquifer, and a steel casing gets cemented to avoid pollution of the water aquifers.

The long hole is extended by drilling to about 1000 feet, and it’s then directionally steered to turn it horizontally. It’s steered for nearly a mile or two along the same rock bed, and this process provides a better way of harvesting the oil and natural gas over a longer distance than accessing it from beneath the well pad.

Horizontal drilling is essential in reducing the scale and impact of the disturbance caused to the land above compared to its counterpart, vertical drilling. Furthermore, it allows one drill for multiple wells instead of a single well being accessed through various pads. These inventions have dictated the structure of today’s wells, whereby they are smaller and fewer compared to earlier years.

Step 3: Cementing and Testing.

On reaching the target, next follows the removal of the drill pipe while the steel pipe gets pushed to the bottom. It acts as a good well casing and is cemented in place. It’s accompanied by tests to ensure that it’s impermeable.

Step 4: Well completion

A perforating gun is lowered below ground and fired in the rock layer to create connecting perforations before tapping. The resulting holes connect the rock containing the oil to the above-ground well.

Step 5: Fracking

Through using specialized instruments to monitor well aspects, a fracking fluid that contains water and chemicals is pumped through the rock to create thin cracks that free the oil and natural gas.

Step 6: Production and recycling of fracking fluid

After completing the fracking process, the oil and natural gas production begins while the fracking fluid is recovered, recycled, and used in another drilling process.

Step 7: Well abandonment and land restoration.

When production is complete, the well is permanently plugged and restored to the original state for other activities.