A Newcomer’s Guide to Oil and Gas: A Groundbreaking Number

Since Rigzone launched A Newcomer’s Guide to Oil and Gas two months ago, we’ve discussed topics such as a joke directed at oil and gas rookies as well as various “animals” that inhabit drilling rigs. Now we’ll discuss an important three-digit number, how to find some other numbers and additional items. Keep the questions coming!

What is 811?

Regardless of whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner, if you’re planning any kind of digging project in the United States you need to dial 811 several days before you break ground. The three-digit phone number will connect you to the nearest one-call center, which will let pipeline companies and other utilities know of your plans. Each company will subsequently mark the approximately location of any underground utility lines, allowing you to dig around these facilities. Connecting with a one-call center helps to prevent third-party damage to underground pipelines, which has been known to cause fatalities. The 811 one-call service is an initiative of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), which counts a number of pipeline companies among its membership. CGA also includes links to various Canadian one-call centers on its website.

How do you convert barrels to gallons, and vice versa?

Because 1 barrel (bbl) of petroleum equals 42 U.S. gallons, simply multiply the number of barrels by 42 to convert barrels to U.S. gallons. To convert barrels into Imperial (or U.K.) gallons, which are used in some British Commonwealth countries, you’d need to multiply the number of barrels by 34.9723158. To convert gallons to barrels simply divide the number of barrels by 42 (for U.S. gallons) or 34.9723158 (for Imperial/U.K.). Another option would be to simply plug in numbers for these and numerous other units of measurement on Rigzone’s very handy Oil and Gas Conversion Calculator.

What’s the difference between upstream, midstream and downstream?

Collectively, upstream, midstream and downstream make up what is known as the oil and gas industry’s value chain. The upstream sector, also known as exploration and production (E&P), corresponds to activities tied to finding and producing oil and natural gas. At refineries, petrochemical plants and other facilities, the downstream sector turns these hydrocarbons into fuels, chemicals and other products and markets them to end users. Sometimes included within the downstream, the midstream sector transports and stores oil and natural gas – both before and after processing – via pipelines, ships, trucks, trains and terminal facilities. For more details about the crude oi and natural gas value chains, check out this document on the South African Oil & Gas Alliance’s Marine, Oil & Gas Academy website.

What’s the difference between a conductor and a riser?

In an offshore drilling context, the large-diameter conductor pipe – set into the seabed – provides the initial structural foundation for a well. The conductor is also known as drive pipe. Linking the subsea blowout preventer stack to the floating drilling rig, a marine riser carries drilling mud back to the rig and prevents its release onto the seabed.

WE NEED YOU! Please submit your simple, easily answerable oil and gas technical questions to Rigzone Senior Editor Matthew Veazey at mveazey@rigzone.com.

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