June 22, 2019
L. Lee Denke
Rig Counts and Presidents
I'm getting ready to go to the Oilfield Expo in Gillette, Wyoming, and updating my infamous "Rig Counts and Presidents" graph. See if you find a pattern in it and let me know.
December 19, 2018
L. Lee Denke
How Much do Graduates Make in Different Fields?
I was searching for information on drainage systems for feedlots (no bull!) and happened upon a web page from Cal Poly San Luis. They publish a yearly report on where their graduates are employed, with salary information. The report is anonymized enough that you can't identify an individual's salary, yet has enough detail to determine the salaries in each major, and how many people are finding good jobs in their field, vs. working outside their field in a job that might not be their choice.
There are some universities which claim this kind of data is impossible to generate: here's the proof that it can be done. Click here to access the reports from 2000 to 2016.
December 7, 2018
L. Lee Denke
Short Courses in Coming Months
We're excited about our short courses! Here's what's on tap for the next few months.
Fill in the Gaps.
Many employees understand their subject area in depth. For them, Oilfields 101 can be a gap-filler: it fills in the bits that they have been looking for. For more information and to register, click here.
Oilfields 101 explains in plain English, all at once, what you would have to spend years to find by searching the internet.
October 9, 2018
L. Lee Denke
I'm going to be exhibiting at a couple of conferences coming up. The first one will be the South Platte Forum in Loveland. After that, I'm planning to exhibit at the Professional Petroleum Data Management Symposium in Denver in November. Hope to see you at one or both!
June 20, 2018
Ever look at articles on "how much water is used for fracking?" that made your eyes glaze over? I have, and I'm in the oil business! Since a lot of people are visual learners, I made a video that I hope will not put people to sleep!
L. Lee Denke
June 2, 2018
It might be easier to ask, "what's not?" We're gearing up for Oilfield 101 and Frac 101 at EUCI, and it's time to go update the materials. There are always things to update, but, whew! There are a lot of changes going on right now!
Let's start with fracking. Yeah, f-r-a-c-k-i-ng with a "k." We are seeing the k everywhere these days, even in advertisements in oil and gas magazines. This used to get you laughed right out of the oilfield, but apparently, at least some people have decided there might be other things to worry about. Or maybe, since the courts have decided to spell it with a k, that settles it. I don't know, I guess the jury's still out for me.
Continuing with fracking (ha! or ja! if you will...depends how you spell it!). Sand ain't what it used to be. Had to change the sand slides. Frac sand used to come on trains from Wisconsin, and go everywhere else. Now they mine the sand in "everywhere else." I had to update my graphic that had all little round sand grains and some of my grains are not round. I see I have a couple edits to make because Riley is not in the correct spot and some people will be "riled" up about it.
At some point, it doesn't make sense to call the mines in Texas "Regional" if there are so many of them, but that is what people are calling them, and part of my mission is to teach the jargon so people know what it is.
It's not that Wisconsin won't continue to be huge. I found additional data and added a slide on the sand mining industry there: check out the size of the resource:
Water continues to change too. Not the molecules, they are still H2O, di-hydrogen monoxide, as far as I know. But the way we process and recycle it, and re-inject it, that has changed a bunch. Consider these two water injection wells on the header slide for the Underground Injection Control section of my frac class:
In just the few short years since Wikimedia contributor Trueblood786 uploaded their picture (left) to now (right) look at the scale and sophistication of the facilities for a water injection well!
Sumps or Pits
We used to dig sumps thusly: "Call a backhoe." Now, the Texas Railroad Commission has a diagram that, when I saw it, I thought, "man, that looks like the one I saw in a civil engineering lecture on landfills! It's got a double liner and leak detection!" I wondered if they enforced that.
So I got an extra night at the Midland Motel 6 (for $200! the boom is on...and some things never change, right?), and went around cold calling on whoever I could. Gotta hustle in this world. I stopped at Big D Companies, and later called their Business Development rep, Justin Primera, to ask if they really install these per the RRC diagram. Yes, in fact, they do.
The water is so salty you need the double liner. It is so salty, people are using the evaporation technologies that Veolia described for recycling, which I have been saying are too expensive. More changes I've gotta make!
Here are small versions of Figures 10 and 11. The large versions are on the RRC website, or you can contact me at email@example.com or 661-547-2770.
Well, I've got more stuff to update! People are also miniaturizing gas plants so you can drop out liquids on location, burn the ethane to fuel that process, and ship the dry gas! I need to add that to my slides! Gotta go!
May 9, 2018
I'm not a "landman." A lot of people would say, "well duh. You're a woman!" But there are women in the oil industry who introduce themselves - they just stick out their hand and say - "I'm a landman" - in a straightforward manner. Doesn't seem to bother them! And they are not "mannish," it's just their title.
And what is it that landmen do? Well, where do you start with that? They don't usually acquire actual "land," although they might! They are more likely to acquire the rights to the oil and gas that is under the land.
Let's talk about some oilfield land jargon. We think we know what land is, right? Here's a picture of me, with my best side to the camera, my cousin and sister moving a nice, hot piece of gated pipe in a potato field as teenagers. That's definitely "land."
Or if we buy some land, we need a description in detail from the land surveyor, something like this old microfiche document:
Suppose a pioneer homesteaded some land, and the United States government deeded the property to them. Unless the government "reserved" the subsurface "minerals" for itself, the pioneer also owns the minerals. Here we go again with the jargon! I thought a "mineral" was something like this:
But not according to the government, or oil companies, apparently. The exact definition can vary from state-to-state and can include the "rocks and minerals" in the book shown here, as well as coal, geothermal energy, and the minerals we are drilling for in the oilfield, oil and gas.
Back to our pioneer. Suppose they own the land "fee simple." This means that they own it outright, they own everything. In some, but not all, states, this means they own:
The descendents of our pioneer might sell some of their land (the surface of the earth) while reserving the minerals for themselves, as in the deed below.
It isn't clear if they are reserving rights to, say, wind. In Colorado, water does not come with your land (Colorado water is complicated too!). But if somebody drills for oil, they definitely plan to be in command of the oil!
Land considerations vary a lot from state to state. It's one of the topics we'll grapple with in the Oilfield 101 class that I'll be teaching. A session is coming up soon!
May 1, 2018
The oil and gas industry is a LARGE industry. People who are suddenly thrust into a role, whether as an oil company employee, a regulator, a newspaper reporter, or in some other capacity, can find themselves looking for tools to grasp their new situation. I can help with that: I climbed the same learning curve myself.
My Oilfield 101 class has evolved over the years. The first session was for a group of student employees. About 40 high school students had been hired, and would come by my desk in the drilling department with questions. I just loved them, but they made me nuts! There were a lot of them! I took a "Well History" document on my desk and started making a Powerpoint. I reasoned that I would get all of them together and explain it to them as a group. I keep in touch with a few of them on LinkedIn, and they've done very well, either in oil or in some other field.
There are some things that just might not occur to you if someone doesn't tell you. For instance, circulation. You can pump drilling mud down a pipe, and back up around the outside. Fine. But how does it get through the bit? If nobody told you there were holes in the bit, you might be a little mystified! You could...Google it. And get useless videos with rock music and whizzy graphics of bits, but no answer!
I contacted Erin Burba at EUCI on LinkedIn in response to an article she had written, and ended up with a fun new gig teaching seminars for her! EUCI has sent me to every oil and gas play in the US to teach.
Here's another thing that I didn't quite get until I saw a picture of it. What is the shape of a fracture? I mean a frac that has been pumped in a well?. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Check out this photo, which was taken with a downhole video camera.
It can take a minute to figure out what you are looking at. In some parts of the world, the rocks in the bottom part of the well are hard enough that they only have to install pipe in the top part of the well (to protect the groundwater). The bottom part of the well will stay open by itself. This is a well like that. The camera is pointing down the well, and they have put very, very, very clean water in the well. There is no oil present for whatever reason. Oil is hard to see through. The fracture is at 6:00 and at 11:00.
In side view, the fracture would look like this:
The purple shading at the end of the fracture is the "pad" fluid with no sand in it. This is pumped to initiate the fracture. The green fluid is sand laden fluid that follows. The "flush" fluid is the blue fluid in the wellbore: you don't want to leave the well full of sand, because then you can't install the pump without cleaning out the sand first.
I started teaching classes because people kept stopping by my desk, and I wanted to help them, and I've kept teaching classes to keep helping people. Over the years, I've gotten different kinds of people, including lawyers, new grads, people changing fields, you name it! I love helping people fill the gaps in their knowledge, and I often find that a person with a specialty has a lot to teach me!
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