ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Oil Exploration and Drilling - How is Oil Found?

Updated on October 27, 2018

Oil Exploration and Drilling

How is it they are able to find oil? What mechanical or scientific methods do they employ? These are questions that I have had, but never pursued the answer till now. I tried to find some basic answers to these questions which you can read here. I am going to keep this as simple as possible so I don't overload my brain.

In the beginning

Oil has been in use since ancient times. It had been found flowing from the ground and was used first for medical purposes. It was later used for building then found to be useful as a fuel source.

In 347AD, the Chinese are supposed to have drilled holes in ground using bamboo to extract oil. Marco Polo had recorded visiting the Persian city of Baku, on the shores of the Caspian Sea in modern Azerbaijan, he saw oil being collected from seeps for use in medicine and lighting..

Marco Polo had reported seeing oil being collected from pools seeping out of the ground while in Persia.

Pictured is an ancient Roman oil lamp.

Modern method of finding oil

Oil accumulates between layers of the subsurface or in porous rock among other things. So the job is to find the right convergence that would be necessary to form an oil pool.

Geologist can study aerial photographs and images from satellites to find data that would indicate possible locations to explore.

There was a time that the oil wells were just drilled in random locations or around established oil wells. These were called Wildcat Wells.

A newer method of locating oil is to use Vibrator or Thumper trucks to cause vibrations in the earth which are listened to by geophones. The data is processed by computers into dimensional displays that are seismic lines. This data is studied by the geologist to determine locations where oil may be found.

When a likely location is found, then the drilling is done. After the well has been drilled, a measuring device is lowered into the hole and information is gathered about the properties of the earth such as density, type of rock present and what fluids the rocks may contain.

If the hole looks promising, then the drilling for oil process continues. If its not a good location, then the hole is filled and they move on.

Finding oil underwater

The same principles for finding oil underwater are the same as finding it on land. In this case a ship is used which shoots compressed air into the water to create the vibrations somewhat like the Vibration trucks would produce. The ship trails hydrophones behind them. There could be up to 3000 hydrophones on a 3000 meter cable.

Setting up the oil rig

When a site has been selected for further drilling, the oil company must go through its legal channels to make sure they can drill legaly at that location. Once that's done, they must clear the area and level it, build access roads and drill a well for water if no other source is available.

A hole called a celler is dug at the location of the drilling hole. The workers then start drilling the hole most likely with a drill on a truck. The first hole is lined with a large-diameter conductor pipe. Other hole are drilled to use for storage of equipment. When this is completed, the rig equipment is then set up.

Once the rig is set up, they drill to a pre-set depth which is above where they think the oil is. Casing pipes are put into the holes and cemented to prevent the hole from collapsing.

When they reach the depth they are going for, they lower a perforating gun into the hole which will blow holes into the casing to allow the oil to flow in. A smaller diameter pipe is run into the well to allow a method to retrieve the oil.

When the oil is flowing, the oil rig is removed and the production equipment is set up. The production equipment will extract the oil from the well.

Thanks for visiting

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      no one 

      9 months ago

      i enjoyed reading this

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      6 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I found your lens to be interesting and informative. I especially liked the videos. Having been a mud engineer once upon a time I know your information is accurate. Good work Timbob


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Needs more kathy freeman

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What i think is that i don't care :D

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The facts provided by you in the above posting, is very informative and helpful for investors. I wish you good luck and suggest to visit this site is contains large amount of info regarding Oil exploration and Oil well news

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great work on the lens! It's amazing how complex oil rig technology is - even more than what most people think. An example is how they accomplish hot tapping - a process in altering pipe extensions while the pipe is still under pressure and operational.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)