At some point there is insufficient underground pressure to force the oil to the surface. Holes are then made in the base of the well to enable oil to pass into the bore. Secondary recovery[ edit ] Over the lifetime of a well, the pressure falls. A steel pipe casing is placed in the hole, to provide structural integrity to the newly drilled well bore. When the reservoir rocks are "tight", as in shale , oil generally cannot flow through, but when they are permeable, as in sandstone , oil flows freely.
At some point there is insufficient underground pressure to force the oil to the surface. In some states such as Texas, there are tax incentives for using these microbes in what is called a secondary tertiary recovery. A steel pipe casing is placed in the hole, to provide structural integrity to the newly drilled well bore. Finally a collection of valves called a " Christmas Tree " is fitted to the top; the valves regulate pressures and control flow. Special blends of the microbes are used to treat and break down the hydrocarbon chain in oil, making the oil easy to recover. Extracting crude oil normally starts with drilling wells into an underground reservoir. Tertiary recovery begins when secondary oil recovery is not enough to continue adequate extraction, but only when the oil can still be extracted profitably. When prices are high, previously unprofitable wells are brought back into use, and when they are low, extraction is curtailed. This depends on the cost of the extraction method and the current price of crude oil. Shale gas EUR is difficult to predict, and it is possible to choose recovery methods that tend to underestimate decline of the well beyond that which is reasonable. Some wells secondary wells may pump water , steam , acids or various gas mixtures into the reservoir to raise or maintain the reservoir pressure and economical extraction rate. When an oil well has been tapped, a geologist known on the rig as the "mudlogger" will note its presence. This form of recovery is used extensively to increase oil extraction in the San Joaquin Valley , which yields a very heavy oil, yet accounts for ten percent of the United States' oil extraction. Various models, mathematical techniques, and approximations are used. This type of cogeneration plant uses a gas turbine to generate electricity , and the waste heat is used to produce steam, which is then injected into the reservoir. When the reservoir rocks are "tight", as in shale , oil generally cannot flow through, but when they are permeable, as in sandstone , oil flows freely. Occasionally, surfactants detergents are injected to alter the surface tension between the water and the oil in the reservoir, mobilizing oil which would otherwise remain in the reservoir as residual oil. The use of microbial treatments is another tertiary recovery method. Very few companies supply these,[ quantify ] however, companies like Bio Tech, Inc. After natural reservoir drive diminishes, secondary recovery methods are applied. Secondary recovery techniques increase the reservoir's pressure by water injection , natural gas reinjection and gas lift , which injects air , carbon dioxide or some other gas into the bottom of an active well, reducing the overall density of fluid in the wellbore. Estimated ultimate recovery[ edit ] Although recovery of a well cannot be known with certainty until the well ceases production, petroleum engineers often determine an estimated ultimate recovery EUR based on decline rate projections years into the future. Secondary recovery[ edit ] Over the lifetime of a well, the pressure falls. Thermally enhanced oil recovery methods TEOR are tertiary recovery techniques that heat the oil, reducing its viscosity and making it easier to extract. However, "passive" methods that extract information from naturally occurring seismic waves are also used. Sometimes pumps, such as beam pumps and electrical submersible pumps ESPs , are used to bring the oil to the surface; these are known as artificial lifting mechanisms. Often many wells called multilateral wells are drilled into the same reservoir, to an economically viable extraction rate.
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