I don’t know about you, but the fact that we have the technology to explore, discover, and drill for oil that’s literally miles beneath the earth’s crust is insane. What’s even crazier is how we do the same thing above miles of ocean water on offshore rigs.
I think it’s not as mind-boggling simply because we can’t literally see these oil wells, but in an effort to shed a little more light and hopefully blow your mind today, here’s eight facts about oil wells that might surprise you.
- The Chinese first discovered well completions in 1000 B.C., primarily for saltwater wells.
- The oil reserve at Spindletop, Texas was discovered at about 1,000 feet underneath the earth’s surface, and tripled US oil production overnight rendering 100,000 barrels per day.
- In 1920, the pumping unit that you see in movies and across vast expanses of Texas was created by the Lufkin Foundry and Machine Company. They developed it for Humble Oil Company, which is now Exxon.
- We’re now able to drill oil wells as far as 25,000 feet deep. That’s nearly 5 miles beneath the surface.
- Even with the latest seismic technology, there’s still so many unknowns about potential oil reserves. We still rely on exploratory wells, even today!
- Offshore wells can be drilled 20,000 feet into the earth’s surface, and most of them exist over 10,000 feet of ocean water.
- Drilling operations and development can cost anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, and represent years of exploratory analysis.
- The first US discovery well was drilled in 1869 to a depth of 69 feet. Oh, how the times have changed.