Welcome to the continuation of my series on common terminology used in the oil and gas industries. Last month, we focused specifically on vocabulary that is often referenced by or in front of the public. This month, let’s take a look at some terms that are typically reserved for those working within the industry.

Bit: The cutting part of the drilling tool used to create the hole. They come in two different configurations, each of which works in a different way.

Cable Tool Bit – Operates vertically (up and down). “Pulverizes” the dirt to create the hole.

Rotary Bit – Operates rotationally (in a circle). “Grinds” the dirt to create the hole.

Blow-Out Preventer: A very heavy component used in drilling. It essentially creates an enclosure around the casing head located at the top of the pipe.

Boyle’s Law: A physics law pertaining specifically to gas. It states:  

“For a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional.”

Catalytic Cracking: A process in which a catalyst is used to speed up chemical reactions in order to facilitate the break down of complex hydrocarbons into smaller, more manageable molecules.

Correlative Rights Theory: A theory that protects all landowners that possess land situated directly above a formation. The theory indicates that each landowner has rights to the formation as long as their land overlays it. This theory has not been adopted in all states.

Fault Trap: A “pocket” in the earth created by cracked or broken rock planes. A place that is likely to store petroleum.

Injection Well: A type of well used specifically to assist in the disposal of water produced when drilling into water or gas under pressure.

Redrill Footage: A second hole drilled very close to a first hole that has been marked as a dry hole in order to confirm or deny the loss of the first hole.

Severance Tax: A tax on the removal of minerals found in the ground.

Specific Gravity: A chemistry concept that is best defined as follows:

“The ratio of a density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.”

Stripper Production: When an oil well or field drops production rates significantly, it moves into this final stage of the production process.

Wellhead Revenues: [The Production Volume of Crude Oil or Natural Gas] x [Average Wellhead Price of Crude Oil or Natural Gas]

Work Over: Restoration or improvements upon a well that is already producing oil in order to increase or restore production.