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Oil and Gas 101


Blow-Out Preventer

A heavy casinghead control, filled with special gates or rams, which can be closed around the drill pipe, or which completely closes the top of the casing.


Boyle's Law

A law of physics stating that when gas is subject to compression and kept at a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and volume is a constant quantity, i.e., the volume is inversely proportional to the pressure.



Heavy steel pipe used to seal off fluids from the hole or to keep the hole from caving in.


Christmas Tree

The assembly of valves, pipes and fittings used to control the flow of oil and gas from the casinghead.


Crude Oil

Liquid petroleum as it comes out of the ground. Crude oil varies radically in its properties, such as specific gravity and viscosity.



A tapering tower, usually of open steel framework, used in the drilling of oil and gas wells as support for the equipment lowered into the well.


Horizontal Drilling

A method of drilling where the drill bit is turned in a horizontal direction in an effort to produce hydrocarbons from a number of areas located at the same approximate depth.



Liquefied natural gas. Natural gas becomes a liquid at a temperature of minus 258 degrees F and may be stored and transported in the liquid state.


Probable Reserves

An estimate of reserves taking into consideration known geology, previous experience with similar types of reservoirs and seismic data, if available.


Processing Plant

A plant to remove liquefiable hydrocarbons from wet gas or casinghead gas. This process yields the propanes, butanes and other products taken from natural gas.


Proven Reserves

Oil which is still in the ground, but which has been located and determined to be recoverable.



To move the primary completion from one zone to another. May involve reperforating, running other tubulars or setting a new packer.



The structures and equipment used in drilling an oil and gas well including the derrick, engine, engine house and other equipment.



A driller's helper and general worker on a drilling rig.


Spudding In

The first boring of the hole in the drilling of an oil well.


Wildcat Well

An exploratory well being drilled in unproven territory, that is, in a horizon from which there is no production in the general area.