What is an oil field?

A natural gas stove burner.

A region of land in which large amounts of oil are extracted from the ground is known as an oil field. The area often contains oil wells, large machines that drill into the earth to extract oil or crude oil. Oil reservoirs, pools of hydrocarbons found in rock formations under the ground, are usually located over large tracts of land, making it necessary for the oil field to extend over a large area. Oil is naturally trapped by rock and soil in large puddles, which allow for the opening of countless oil wells to permeate the surface.

The biggest fields in the world are located in the Middle East.

Logistically, oil fields are complicated to set up and represent one of the most advanced exercises in human technology in the 21st century. Oil fields are generally remote and situated far from civilization. This is due to the fact that crude oil is more easily found in desert areas or on the ocean floor.

The oil field platform, the machinery that pumps oil from the wells, is large and requires extensive fabrication. Moving equipment from the construction site to the oil field can be quite a task. Road, sea and air transport are used to bring materials to the site. Once in place, the machine must be assembled and a well must be dug. This process, from identifying a location to actual oil production, can take years.

A pumpjack oil well in an oil field.

One of the key components that make oil fields work are the human workers who build the platforms and general machinery designed to collect oil. Employees of companies operating the camps often remain on site for months on end due to transportation limitations. In addition, housing requires electricity, water, heat and other resources. Once the oil fields are far from civilization, self-sufficient communities are created within the oil field.

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The date when civilization will reach “peak oil” has been delayed in recent decades due to the discovery of new oil fields, such as the Bakken Range in North Dakota, and the development of new technologies.

Along with oil, most oil fields are also filled with excessive levels of natural gas. This gas needs to be burned to prevent unwanted explosions or fires. Natural gas works very efficiently to supply community facilities. It can be pumped across the vast field and used to make electricity and heat ovens.

Oil fields are spread across the globe in many diverse regions. Some are situated in hot deserts, such as those in Texas, and in cold climates, such as Alaska. The largest fields in the world are located in the Middle East, most notably the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia and the Burgan Field in Kuwait. Billions of barrels of oil are produced each year in these fields.

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