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Drilling in Oil & Gas Exploration

In upstream oil and gas operations, exploratory wells are drilled into a prospective reservoir to determine the presence of hydrocarbons. This exploration method maximises the economic production and extraction of reservoir reserves.

After drilling, the reservoir is stimulated to improve production from the wells. Several extraction techniques are used to do this, including hydraulic fracturing and acidizing.

Key fact: There were 969,140 producing wells in the United States in 2019

Drilling is also used for development wells. Unlike exploratory wells, which determine whether a company can access a reserve, development wells are drilled to aid in extraction techniques, like flowing production or artificial lift production.

In wellbore excavation, drilling equipment is used to vertically cut through the rock and excavate a borehole. If access to the reserve can’t be achieved vertically, horizontal directional drilling is used to reach the reserve and aid in excavation.

Wellbore drilling is commonly used in offshore exploration to identify and extract petroleum reserves lying beneath the seabed. In these ways, drilling is an essential part of upstream oil and gas operations because it determines the potential of prospective reservoirs.


  • Enables access to reserves

  • Aids in extraction

  • Maximises economic production

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