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Drilling for Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is sourced from underground reservoirs using traditional extraction techniques, like drilling and pumping.

During this process, a wellbore is drilled beneath the surface to access the petroleum reserves. The hydrocarbons then flow up from the wellbore and are transported to refineries through a pipeline.

Unlike unconventional oil, conventional oil can flow without the need for stimulation since it’s a liquid at atmospheric temperature and pressure conditions. As a lighter oil, it also requires less processing at refineries.

The main signifier of conventional oil, however, isn’t its physical properties, but how it is produced. Its extraction relies on drilling and pumping technologies, as well as the natural pressure of underground reservoirs.

These processes make conventional oil more cost effective and less complex to extract than unconventional oil. Because of this, the majority of conventional oil reserves have already been extracted, meaning that they have limited availability.

Key fact: In Saudi Arabia, conventional oil can be produced for under $10 per barrel. Elsewhere in the Middle East, it costs an average of $31 per barrel


  • Cheaper and easier to extract

  • Flows without additional stimulation

  • Requires minimal processing

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