Application of the knowledge, technology, mathematics and economics within exploration, production and development of the oil and gas fields from the subsurface to the surface facilities (upstream) and transferring it to the refinery and petrochemical plants (downstream) is called petroleum engineering
Application of the knowledge, technology, mathematics and economics within exploration, production and development of the oil and gas fields from the subsurface to the surface facilities (upstream) and transferring it to the refinery and petrochemical plants (downstream) is called petroleum engineering. In fact, the role of a petroleum engineer is in the upstream sector.
The upstream sector is divided into exploration, drilling, reservoir and production. The combined efforts of geologists and petroleum engineers throughout the life of a hydrocarbon accumulation determine the way in which a reservoir is developed and depleted, and usually they have the highest impact on field economics. In the exploration stage, a petroleum engineer by using different methods determines the location of a reservoir and estimates its dimension and the oil/gas which is trapped in it. After exploration of an oil/gas field, then wells should be drilled to investigate the amount of the oil/gas, the characteristic of the fluid and production. To drill a well, depending on the type of the soil and stone of the reservoir and also the depth of the layers of oil/gas, a petroleum engineer uses different methods for drilling. It may be necessary to drill a lot of wells to distinguish the production feasibility and for this reason, the most cost of a field development are invested on these two sections: exploration and drilling.
After proofing that a field is economic for production, then the surface facilities are designed and developed to let oil/gas go to the surface safely and to perform the first treatment using production facilities. In this stage, petroleum engineers will try to produce oil/gas in the ways that it can be delivered to refinery and downstream facilities as well. During all of these three stages (exploration, drilling, production), a petroleum engineer which is expert in the reservoir (reservoir engineers) exists to monitor all the activities. He/she should know the reservoir characteristics to design and develop all the methods to maximize the oil/gas recovery during the life time of a field. Reservoir engineers play an important role during this life time.
After the first treatment of oil/gas in the upstream facilities, it can be handed over to the downstream facilities like export terminal, refinery and petrochemical plants.
ENG. HADI PIRMORADI
MSc in Chemical Engineering