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Square One, Part 4 - Drilling and Completion Set the Stage for Hydrocarbon Production

Oil and gas production in the Shale Era is a refined, controlled process — and a far cry from the early days of wildcatting a century ago. Modern drilling typically involves multiple wells on a single well pad, with each well going through a four-stage process to produce hydrocarbons that are then separated into distinct components. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how drilling-and-completion techniques have evolved over the years, from old-school vertical wells to the highly complex strategies targeting shale areas today, and how they set the stage for hydrocarbon production and recovery.

Our series of “Value Chain 101”-style blogs is designed to provide a better understanding of the journey those all-important hydrocarbon molecules take from the production site to their respective downstream markets (see Figure 1 below). Part 1 introduced us to how reserves are calculated and the types of companies that operate in the upstream sector, Part 2 walked us through the highly detailed leasing process, and Part 3 provided a primer on seismic surveys and well-site preparations. Once those steps are complete, the focus shifts to getting a well drilled, completed and in production.

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