Petroleum Engineering Development Timeline from 1848-1959 (1st Part)

Petroleum engineering has been developed since the beginning of the 19th Century. The following images demonstrates petroleum technology milestone from 1848 – 1959. This is the first part of this series and more to come.

1848:World’s First Oil Well – Major Aleveev drills the world’s first oil well at Baku, Azerbaijan using a primitive cable-tool drilling technique which originated in ancient China.

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Water Drive Reservoir

Some reservoirs have communication with a water zone (aquifer) underneath. When reservoir pressure drops due to production, the compressed water in an aquifer expands into a reservoir and it helps pressure maintenance. This mechanism is called “water drive”.

Water drive mechanism will be effective if an aquifer contacting reservoir is very large because water compressibility is very low. For example, an anticline structure with extensive water zone (aquifer) will have the most advantage from the use of a water drive mechanism. Conversely, stratigraphic reservoirs or highly-faulted reservoirs will have limited aquifer volume so water drive is insignificant.

Figure 1 - Water Drive Mechanism

Figure 1 – Water Drive Mechanism

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Gas Cap Drive Mechanism

Some reservoirs have a gas cap, which provides energy from gas expansion to help production from a wellbore; therefore, this is called “gas cap drive”. When oil is being produced, the gas cap expands and pushes oil downwards to a producing well (Figure 1).


Figure 1 – Gas Cap Drive

For this type of drive mechanism, it is imperative to keep gas within a reservoir as long as possible since it is an excellent energy source of the reservoir. Wells which are drilled into a high structure area where the gas cap is located must be closely monitored because this well will have more of a chance to produce gas. Continue reading

Solution Gas Drive Mechanism

Solution gas drive is a mechanism by which dissolved gas in a reservoir will expand and become an energy support to produce reservoir fluid. Solution gas drive has other name, such as dissolved gas drive or depletion drive.

When reservoir pressure is more than the bubble point, no free gas presents in a reservoir and this is called “under saturated reservoir.” At this stage, the drive comes from oil and connate water expansion and the compaction of reservoir pore space. Because compressibility of oil and rock is very low, only a small amount of fluid can be produced and typically the volume is around 1-2% of oil in place.

When reservoir pressure reaches a bubble point, oil becomes saturated and free gas will present in a reservoir. The expansion of gas is a main energy to produce reservoir fluid for the solution gas drive. At the beginning, the produced gas oil ratio will be slightly decline because free gas in a reservoir cannot move until it goes over the critical gas saturation. Then gas will begin to flow into a well. In some cases, where vertical permeability is high, gas may migrate up and become a secondary gas cap, which helps oil production. Continue reading

Three Types of Reservoir Recovery

Reservoir drive mechanism is the manner in which various energy sources in a reservoir  provide energy to flow fluids in reservoir to surface. Recovery of reservoir fluid is categorized into three categories (primary, secondary, and tertiary recover).

Primary Recovery

This is the first mechanism which is carried out by natural energy in a reservoir.


Figure 1 – Primary Recovery Continue reading