Terminology Series   E

A job within the energy sector is guaranteed to introduce you to a host of industry-related terminology and jargon.

This week, we’re focusing on the letter "E", and a handful of keywords associated with the upstream sector. 

E&A: Abbreviation for “exploration and appraisal”

E&P: “Abbreviation for exploration and production”

  • Exploration -  refers to the search for oil and gas; methods can include aerial surveys, geophysical surveys, geological studies, core testing and the drilling of test (wildcat) wells.
  • Appraisal - The phase of the petroleum project that immediately follows successful exploratory drilling. During appraisal, delineation wells are often drilled to ascertain the size of the oil or gas field and the most efficient method for development.
  • Production - The phase that occurs after successful exploration and development – during this time the hydrocarbons start to be drained from the oil or gas field.

Embrittlement: Applies to drilling equipment whereby steel components become less resistant to breakage and significantly weaker in tensile strength as a result of prolonged exposure to gaseous or liquid hydrogen sulphide. The weakness is caused when hydrogen ions get between the grain boundaries of the steel, where they then form molecular hydrogen – this takes up more space and reduces the strength of the bonds between the grains. Molecular hydrogen can cause metal to crack when subjected to tensile stress. Hydrogen embrittlement can also be referred to as “acid brittleness”.

Enhanced oil recovery (EOR): A process which uses sophisticated techniques to increase the amount of oil that can be recovered from an oil reservoir. It restores formation pressure, and improves oil displacement / fluid flow in the reservoir. There are 3 major recovery types: chemical flooding (alkaline flooding or micellar polymer flooding), miscible displacement (carbon dioxide injection or hydrocarbon injection), and thermal recovery (steamflood or in-situ combustion). Enhanced oil recovery is also known as “improved oil recovery” or “tertiary recovery” and it is generally abbreviated to EOR.

Exploration well: A concentrated area where drilling is carried out to determine whether hydrocarbons are present in a particular area or structure. Sometimes known as a ‘wildcat well’, particularly in places where little drilling has taken place previously.

Erosion corrosion: A type of corrosion produced when scales such as iron carbonate that initially protected the metal surface of the pipe have become eroded, meaning that the underlying metals begin to corrode - this is a common cause of failure in oilfield equipment and in particular, intersecting pipe sections, bends or elbows where there is high velocity or turbulent flow are most at risk.

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