<a href="http://youngpetro.org/2013/03/06/how-is-it-possible-to-produce-oil-from-sand/"><b>How is it possible to produce oil from sand?</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2011/10/09/people-engineers-and-spe-members/"><b>People, Engineers and SPE Members</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2012/12/19/if-i-were-a-prime-minister/"><b>If I Were a Prime Minister…</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2012/12/26/polish-shales-delayed/"><b>Polish shales delayed?</b></a> <a href="http://youngpetro.org/2013/01/11/russia-continues-the-policy-of-states-companies-monopoly/"><b>Russia continues the policy of state companies’ monopoly</b></a>

Will the spill kill the deal?

Will the spill kill the deal?

Easter holidays came out to not be very lucky week for the industry. While we were working on new issue of YoungPetro covering ExxonValdez spill from late 80’s North-American oilers got hit by two nasty accidents. First, Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed in Minessota, damaging three tankers and leaking around 15,000 gallons of fuel, then two days later Pegasus pipeline raptured in Arkansas spilling thousands barrels of oil and forcing Exxon to shut it down and evacuate 22 houses.

While response teams are working to clean up the oil, U.S. State Department is considering the fate of the 800,000 bpd Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Canada’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast. The fact that both events involves crude oil extracted from those sands definitely will not be helpful and even they are the first incidents since North-American oil boom started, it gives perfect argument for opponents of the new pipeline. Keystone XL is designed to relief Pegasus in oil transport from Canada to the south refining center. The 65-years-old Pegasus is 848-mile pipeline used to transport crude oil from Texas to Illinois. In 2006 Exxon reversed it to move crude from Illinois to Texas in response to growing Canadian oil production and the ability of U.S. Gulf Coast refineries to process heavy crude. It can carry more than 90,000 barrels per day.

Nearly two years ago Exxon grappled with another crude oil pipeline rupture that sent 1,500 barrels into the Yellowstone River in Montana. Also in November 2010 U.S. Department of Transportation imposed ExxonMobil Pipeline Co with a fine of $26,200 for allegedly allowing more than 5 years to lapse between inspections of a stretch of Pegasus that underlies the Mississippi River, between Missouri and Illinois, last decade.

Exxon pipeline leaks thousands of barrels of Canadian oil in Arkansas | Reuters

Train hauling Canadian oil derails in Minnesota | Reuters

 It seems like a human factor played huge role in these incidents and that regular inspections and renovations could easily reduce risk of it’s recurrence. What do you guys think was real cause of the problem?

Learn more about pipelines:

PetroGraphics: U.S. Pipelines 101

Photo by: Nasdaf (reddit.com)

People, Engineers and SPE Members

People, Engineers and SPE Members

People, this is what we engineers and SPE Members do not take care enough. We are people first, then engineers, then SPE Members. People come always first.

 I have attended and participated to the Offshore Technology Conference of Houston, Texas, for the last 20 years. Each and every year there are panel discussions, presentations of hundreds of papers and also multiple poster sessions from service companies and contractors. They all discuss, report and comment on techniques, methods, budgets and projects but also on all kinds of problems such as delays in completion (of wells, of projects, etc.), repair times, failures of equipment (not seldom enough reported), stand-bye times. What is behind all this ? People.

 Houstonis full of engineering “think tanks”. The buildings of such engineering companies as Technip, Worley Parsons, Brown and Root, Coots, Mustang and Sercel for instance are as big as the buildings of Conoco-Phillips, BP,Devonor BP. What is populating these buildings ? People.

There are as many engineers in consulting companies such as Gaffney and Cline, Knowledge Reservoir and DeGolyer and MacNaughton as in  the Operators offices. What is populating these companies ? People.

 Yes, I heavily insist on people. Our education, then our working life, do not recognize enough that we are dealing with people before than dealing with engineers and with SPE Members. We as people we have our family background, our environment, our education, and then later on we have our family life – husband or wife, and kids. All this create and induce satisfaction and dissatisfaction, pleasures and pains, happiness and madness. Whatever our professionalism, all this directly impacts our work as engineers and our behavior as SPE Members. If we have problems at home we cannot concentrate on our work, and if our Wife or Husband needs us at home we cannot be a good volunteer for SPE.

 I am personally pushing for an extended spread of integrated multidisciplinary project management teams. But if one does not like any other member of this team the project will then most likely go wrong as the individual thinking’s will not integrate. This was most likely situation that was at the origin of the Macondo catastrophe.

 We learn a lot at school then at university, but we do not learn how to work with people, how to understand our co-workers. This is not a matter of psychoanalyze (!…) , but just a matter of care. We must care for people and show it. Then the work, the project, will be enjoyable and most likely successful.

 When you compete with other students in the course of paper contests,  then later on with your co-workers for obtaining a promotion, or with other SPE Members for getting an award, please be fair, please care for your competitors. The competition will then be fun and the winner will deserve the glory and your faithful support.

 Care, and people will give you more in return than you can ever dream.


Serge Rueff, Ph.D,

Member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Petroleum Engineers International

Regional Director of South, Central and East Europe

MWD Engineer

MWD Engineer

MWD is a shortcut from Measurement While Drilling. It is quite modern measurement technique, which can be launched without stopping drilling unit work, what saves time and finally – money. Man responsible for measurements and equipment is MWD – Engineer, of whom the article is.

So what criteria you must meet to get this work?

First of all – education

Easiest way is obviously is majoring in petroleum or drilling engineering but can also finish the geology or some fuel and energetic faculty. Some companies require work experience in the oil industry in addition to or sometimes instead of diploma. However, work in the oil industry begins immediately after graduation with a long, arduous training that brings many benefits, theoretical and practical knowledge. Of course, initially starting as a field engineer generally and gradually apprenticed to the position of MWD Engineer, because you must know at least the basics when it comes to engineering principles and measurement while drilling. There is nothing surprising, considering that you will be entrusted with worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars measuring equipment.

Next stage – language

Do not think that your national language will matter anywhere outside your country. Oh no! Without English you can basically forget about such work. It is one simple reason for that. Most of the time you will spend abroad and even if not, almost all business is dealt in English. But even if you are native speaker of English you should start to learn foreign languages. German is very useful, especially in north-west Europe, Russian in middle-east region or Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America which presently is world richest area in crude oil. Unfortunately (or maybe oppositely?) employer likes to hire widely and highly educated employee, so that he will probably send you to the place, in which none of known to you languages will give you an opportunity to fluent communication. You will have to learn a new one. Hurray! It is a simple math. Language skills certificates primarily technical and business, depends from company position are very valuable additives to your resume.

Another vital skill is fluent computer dexterity, but nowadays that should not be a problem. Almost everyone got bigger or smaller contact with computer. It turns out to be very helpful for you in learning the handling quite complex and extensive software for receiving, analyzing the readings from the downhole equipment. You have to remember that presently every device is supported by computer, so if you are wet behind the ears when it comes to computers, better start to train.

Self-reliance is essential in this profession. And I do not mean selfishness at work but the ability to cope with problems, solving them. As you know, not always have someone to help and sometimes befall you different problems or ambiguous readings. Then you better know what to do, whom to report, how to interpret and whether it is desirable to further drilling and that sort of thing. Unfortunately without your own accurate analysis, is rather hard to keep you on such a responsible position.

Stress resistance. Any job in drilling industry is full of stress while drilling, tough decisions, where each of them may become, financially, very expensive mistake. So you always have to think soberly, keep cool and not act impulsively. You better consider longer or twice (but still very fast) decisions taken rather than lead to a situation that you would better prefer not to think about. Now you should definitely learn to master stress, which can often lead you to the inner panic, resulting improper decisions.

The employee of any drilling rig have to be independent, it also applies to the MWD Engineer. Remember however hierarchy in the company, the platform or rig. You work there in a group and thus, you are responsible for others. Please remember that you can consult decisions with more experienced workers or bosses, however, keep in mind the above mentioned independence. You cannot harass your superior with every small uncertainty.

What are the duties MWD Engineer?

The responsibility of the directional service engineer should be directional testing, assembly, installation of the collar and the provision of detection devices that is in the BHA.

Day labor
MWD Engineer – work in the directional service requires 100% of flexibility, because it is linked with frequent travel to the residence on the rigs where the customer orders the service or is it just DWD (Directional While Drilling) sensors that are additional to the family of FE (Formation Evaluation): Resistivity, Gamma, PWD (Pressure While Drilling) ect. As an engineer after reaching the rig you have to do so. Rig Up – run the computers (sometimes everything from scratch: monitors of boxes, cables, additional equipment that allows connecting computers with MWD-system), there are always two computers (main and back up). Then you start the submission and testing MWD – sensors, and other parts depending on the system. Two popular data transmission systems currently used by the services Positive Pulse is where the data are transmitted by the drilling fluid – pulser sends a pulse sequence that causes the change of pressure in the pipe drilling muds – and between the pumps and top drive (or kelly), you mount Tranducers, that enable recive pressures changes. Transucers are connected to the computer, which has the ability to detect external signals, and thus obtained the information from the bottom during drilling. The downside of such a system is that, in order to have the info you need to pump the mud.
The second system is ElectroMagnetic EM, which transmits electrical signals via the rock – in this system are used Antenna (two) one to send data, the other for the reception – plus is that, you do not have to pump muds (another way of transmission) and frequency, even a dozen times faster comparing to Positive Pulse.
After assembly and tested in the MVD installs sinker (They are most often non-magnetic weights special NMDC – Drill Collar NonMagnetic) and venture into wire rig.
Start of drilling is beginning of detection. In directional drilling, measurements of the drill bit location are getting every connection that is often at about 20 meters (two pipes the so-called stand (in Polish belt.) Sending information to the MWD in order to sent us the measurement (so-called Full Survey) is made by switching on and off pumps ( for Positive Pulse) or send downlink (to EM). In the directional measurement you get inclinations and azimuth, and depth of the type on which the measurement was made (depth survey).

Shift on the rig takes 12 hours. You work together with the DD (Directional Driller). The so-called Rig Crew DD is 2 and 2 MWD Engineers.

What’s after work and not only?
You live in a hotel near the rig, employer cares only about what you do during working hours (means, do you work efficiently), but when 12 hours of an interesting struggle end, do what you want. Visit places, there is a possibility you will be located in a privileged location, say, Malaysia or Norway. You can use earned money, spend it on parties, travel, brand-name stuff either… submitted to the socks, save for some worthy cause, which you plan to make after returning home permanently. But who, after such hard work put aside everything to your account and does not want to for example – swim a scooter or skydive? And if you have a family, you take them to an entertainment center, gourmet restaurant, wherever you want. Now you can afford it. The pay rates you can find in 2010 SPE Salary Survey and I think every young man who realizes the money is necessary for living will be satisfied. Your salary will be divided in two sections base pay and daily rate for every day you will spend on rig! In addition to twelve-hour work day you have an average of 15 days a month off (work in 2 : 2 mode) which gives near 180 free days a year and you are entitled to annual holiday. Are you considering what you will be doing at this time? Calmly, strike a happy medium. Rest from work, but also take care of your retirement, in the end the job ends someday and you will run out of such huge monthly money amount. Think about your own business, funds already have.