While oil and gas drilling is one of the most important parts of the process, these products can’t often be used in their natural state. This makes horizontal well drilling and well stimulation just the first step in a long journey. After oil and gas is extracted from the well, it must be transformed into a usable form, which takes place through the refining process.
About Crude Oil
What is actually extracted from horizontal well drilling and well stimulation is called crude oil. This form of oil consists mainly of hydrocarbons, which is a chain of hydrogen and carbon atoms connected together. These connections must be broken and then put together in different ways to create the various products we use on a regular basis, such as heating oil, gasoline for vehicles, asphalt and more. In fact, scientists state there are approximately 2.5 million combinations possible using the atoms found in crude oil.
Why Refining Is Needed
Before crude oil can be transformed into the products we use on a regular basis, it needs to be refined to ensure it works properly. Crude oil produced during oil and gas drilling is far from pure. These impurities must first be removed to ensure the products created have the quality required. Some of the excess elements removed during the refining process include nitrogen, oxygen, water, Sulphur and other trace substances that may exist.
How Refining Works
The first step in the oil and gas refining process is to heat the crude oil to 350 degrees Celsius before pumping it into a fractioning tower. The vaporized oil rises through the tower through the trays inside. These trays have holes cut through them. As the oil goes up the tower, it cools and condenses into several distinct liquids. The lighter liquids are collected at the top of the tower, while heavier liquids run down through the holes and are collected at lower levels. At this point, the various oil products are created and transported for consumer consumption.
Horizontal well drilling and well stimulation are just the beginning of creating the oil and gas products we need to operate our cars, heat our homes and more. The crude oil extracted through oil and gas drilling must first go through the refinement process, which takes place at factories around the United States. Understanding this process can help you gain a firm grasp on the concept and understand why oil and gas production is such an important part of the economy.
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