With oil reserves getting depleted at a fast rate, humans are digging deeper and deeper in search of the black gold. While world leaders have envisioned an electric ecosystem for the future, it appears that reaching there would take several years. Till that time, the digging in search of oil will continue.
Any natural resource is essentially a major cash source. This is why oil drilling and processing companies go to extremes to find oil. Once the initial infrastructure is in place, oil companies are literally pumping out cash in billions. To understand the stakes involved, here’s a quick look at some of the deepest oil wells in the world.
Raya-1 – This is one of the deepest offshore oil wells in terms of water depth. This project was executed at offshore Uruguay, where water depth was 3,400 meters (11,156 feet). Drilling in such deep waters is no easy task, as there are strong currents underneath. This project was managed by Maersk Drilling and Total. The well was drilled using Maersk Venturer drillship in 2016.
Offshore oil well in Angola and Namibia – Maersk Drilling is working to go even deeper with a new project near Angola and Namibia. One of the wells will be 3,628 meters deep, which will be a new record for offshore drilling. For this project, the seventh generation drillship Maersk Voyager is being used.
Moshen-1 – This project was executed in China by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in 2008. This was an onshore project and the depth reached was 7,500m. This was one of the most challenging oil drilling projects that took around two years to complete. Specialized crystalline diamond drilling bits and water-based drilling fluid system were used in this project.
Bertha Rogers – This onshore well was drilled way back in 1974 in Washita County, Oklahoma. At 31,441 feet (9,583 m), the drilling had to be stopped due to molten sulfur deposit and very high pressure of around 25,000 psi. This well was later used as a natural gas source, which was available at higher levels of around 11,000 to 13,200 feet.
Sakhalin-I Z-44 Chayvo – Sakhalin-I project involved drilling of multiple oil wells on onshore and offshore Sakhalin Island. One of these named Z-44 Chayvo well was completed by Exxon Neftegas Ltd in 2012. This is the longest oil well in the world. As of 2017, Z-44 Chayvo measures 15 kilometers (49,000 ft.).
Experts believe that we will soon reach the limit of how deep we can dig to find and extract oil. The deeper we dig, the greater the risks and costs involved. Oil wells deep inside earth are trapped within high pressure systems. Plus, there’s extreme heat and increased seismic activity. Due to these reasons, our love for fossil fuels may soon be over. And it will be a good thing, as then we can shift to cleaner and renewable fuel sources such as wind and solar energy.