Vertical Well What It Is How It Works Example

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A vertical well is a drilling technique used to access underground reserves of oil or natural gas by drilling vertically into the ground. It is a traditional method and differs from the more modern approach of directional drilling.

Key Takeaways:

– Vertical wells extract oil and natural gas reserves directly beneath the well site.

– While directional drilling has become more prevalent, vertical wells are still used in the oil extraction industry and are the primary method for offshore drilling platforms.

Vertical wells work by drilling a borehole beneath the surface well to access the reserves beneath it. This method was the only option in the past, as directional drilling techniques were not yet available. The primary advantage of vertical wells is their simplicity and cost savings in terms of equipment, labor, and extraction time. However, they can be inefficient when the underground reserve extends horizontally over a wide area. In such cases, directional drilling can be a more cost-effective solution, allowing for the extraction of oil from the entire reserve using a single well.

Vertical wells should not be confused with horizontal wells, which are drilled from the side. While vertical wells drill downward, horizontal wells are drilled at an angle of at least eighty degrees to a vertical wellbore. In 2017, the number of horizontal wells surpassed vertical wells for the first time. However, there were still over 88,000 active vertical wells at the end of 2018. Despite their higher production, horizontal drilling only accounted for 96% of crude oil production and 97% of natural gas production.

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As conventional oil sources and easily accessible reserves decrease, purely vertical wells are becoming less common. Nevertheless, they remain an essential part of the oil extraction process as all directional drilling projects begin with the drilling of a vertical well. Vertical wells are also utilized by engineers to examine rock fragments and determine the likely location of oil reserves, guiding the drilling direction. In some cases, vertical wells have allowed companies to extract oil from multiple reservoirs using directional drilling techniques, resulting in cost savings and reduced disruptions. Additionally, vertical wells are still widely used in offshore oil extraction due to the complexity and high cost of offshore directional drilling.

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