Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Petroleum Engineering at a Glance

Petroleum engineering is a field of engineering concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Subsurface activities are deemed to fall within the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, which are the activities of finding and producing hydrocarbons.

Refining and distribution to a market are referred to as the downstream sector. Exploration, by earth scientists, and petroleum engineering are the oil and gas industry's two main subsurface disciplines, which focus on maximizing economic recovery of hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoirs. Petroleum geology and geophysics focus on provision of a static description of the hydrocarbon reservoir rock, while petroleum engineering focuses on estimation of the recoverable volume of this resource using a detailed understanding of the physical behavior of oil, water and gas within porous rock at very high pressure

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. Petroleum engineering requires a good knowledge of many other related disciplines, such as geophysics, petroleum geology, formation evaluation (well logging), drilling, economics, reservoir simulation, reservoir engineering, well engineering, artificial lift systems, completions and oil and gas facilities engineering.

Petroleum engineers divide themselves into several types:
Reservoir engineers work to optimize production of oil and gas via proper well placement, production rates, and enhanced oil recovery techniques.
Drilling engineers manage the technical aspects of drilling exploratory, production and injection wells.
Production engineers, including subsurface engineers, manage the interface between the reservoir and the well, including perforations, sand control, downhole flow control, and downhole monitoring equipment; evaluate artificial lift methods; and also select surface equipment that separates the produced fluids (oil, natural gas, and water).