When OCTG Pipe Suppliers Used Bamboo-And Other Fun History Facts.
October 23, 2013 in Blog, OCTG, Pipe by Tim Walshauser
As octg pipe suppliers, we can attest to the fact that oil extraction is an interesting, albeit complicated, process. From the dynamics of drilling deep into the earth (sometimes from the middle of the ocean!), to figuring out which pipe or octg casing will get the job done best, it’s kind of miraculous that it all gets done.
But not only is the current oil drilling process fascinating–it also has a long and interesting history. Here are some facts to consider:
- Researchers think that the Chinese drilled the first oil wells around 347 CE. They reached depths of about 800 feet, which is impressive considering that they drilled with bits attached to bamboo poles! After the oil was extracted, it was burned to evaporate brine and produce salt. Fast forward to the 10th century and a system of bamboo pipelines connected oil wells with salt springs. Records from both ancient China and Japan display frequent references to the use of natural gas for heating and lighting. The Japanese called petroleum burning water.
- Many researchers think the first instance of petroleum distillation occurred in 9th century Persia. There, alchemist Muhammad Ibn Zakariya used petroleum to produce chemicals like kerosene. And other Arab and Persian chemists distilled crude oil for military purposes, creating flammable products that could be used on the battlefield. Distillation wouldn’t reach Western Europe until the 12th century, when the spread of Islam into Spain brought along distillation techniques with it.
- References to oil extraction can be found in the writings of Marco Polo. When he visited Baku, Azerbaijan in 1264, he saw a great volume of oil being collected from the seeps around the shores of the Caspian Sea. He wrote that the ‘oil springs in great abundance, in as much as a hundred shiploads’ could be harvested from it at one time.
- The first commercial oil well in the New World was dug in Oil Springs, Ontario in 1858. The first offshore well was drilled off of California in 1896 at the Summerland Oil Field.
- Unlike like today, the first wells drilled in modern times were drilled percussively by repeatedly hammering a cable tool into the ground. However, that style of drilling was soon usurped by rotary drilling, which allowed its practitioners to drill much deeper and in much less time.
- Another significant technological advancement occurred in the 1970s. Until that time, most oil wells were drilled vertically. The rise of modern directional drilling changed that, making it possible for wells to deviate significantly from the vertical. In fact, many boreholes today have horizontal segments! This can be very useful, as reservoir rocks that contain petroleum are often horizontally-oriented. Furthermore, this type of drilling allows drillers to reach reservoirs that are several miles away from the drilling site, letting them access locations where’s it difficult to put a rig because of the terrain, environmental concerns or simply because the area is populated.
Those are just a few quick facts, but as you can see, for petroleum companies and the octg pipe suppliers that keep them running, there’s quite a history.
Did you find this post interesting? Do you need octg pipes or octg casings for your next project? Leave us a comment or contact us for a quote.