Glossary of Terms

Carbon: A naturally abundant nonmetallic element that occurs in many inorganic and in all organic compounds

Chemical Energy: The energy released when substances combine or break down and form new substances

Coal: A solid fossil fuel formed by heat and pressure from the remains of ancient plants in swampy areas

Combustion: The process of burning a fuel to release heat energy

Conversion: The changing of a substance or the energy in it from one form to another

Derrickhands: The handlers of the upper end of the pipe as it is hoisted out of or lowered into the well hole while ensuring the circulation of machinery and the conditioning of the drilling fluid

Drillers: Those who are directly responsible for the drilling of the hole including operating and maintaining the drilling controls

Drilling Crews: The collective work of several individuals, companies, contractors and suppliers who dig and create oil wells

Energy: The ability to do work or make things move.

Environmental Geologists: Work to solve problems associated with pollution, waste management, urbanization and natural hazards by studying the interaction between the environment and human activities

Fuel: Any substance that can be burned to produce heat

Fossil fuels: Coal, oil and natural gas; this term applies to any fuels formed from the fossil remains of organic materials (plants and animals) that have been buried for millions of years

Geochemists: Study the composition of oil, natural gas and coal deposits using organic chemistry

Geologists: Study the processes, physical nature, resources and history of the earth

Geoscientists: Experts on the earth’s resources and environment

Horizontal Drilling: A drilling technology that allows a drill bore or hole to be initially drilled vertically (up and down) and then to curve horizontally (side to side) in order to produce oil and gas from shale rock formations.

Hydraulic Fracturing: A process where a mixture of pressurized water, sand, and a specifically formulated fracturing compound is pumped thousands of feet down into a shale rock formation to create tiny cracks in the rock.   These tiny cracks free the trapped oil and natural gas.

Hydrocarbon: An organic compound.

Natural Gas: A mixture of hydrocarbon gases that occurs with petroleum deposits, principally methane together with varying quantities of ethane, propane, butane, and other gases, and is used as a fuel and in the manufacture of organic compounds

Oil: Any of several highly volatile, flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons distilled from petroleum, coal tar, and natural gas and used as fuel, as solvents, and in making various chemicals

Oil Rig: A mechanism used in drilling for oil or gas

Organic: Relating or belonging to the class of chemical compounds having a carbon basis

Peat: Partially carbonized vegetable matter, usually mosses, found in bogs and used as fertilizer and fuel

Petroleum: A thick, flammable, yellow-to-black mixture of gaseous, liquid, and solid hydrocarbons that occurs naturally beneath the earth’s surface, can be separated into fractions including natural gas, gasoline, fuel, lubricating oils and asphalt and is used as raw material for a wide variety of derivative products

Petroleum Engineers: Search for oil and natural gas reservoirs while designing equipment and processes to achieve the maximum profitable recovery of petroleum from reservoirs

Petroleum Geologist: Aids in the exploration for and production of oil and natural gas

Pollution: the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of harmful substances

Rotary Helpers: Handle the lower end of the pipe and help maintain the rig

Toolpushers: Those who oversee the drilling crews on the rig floor, supervise all drilling operations and coordinate contractor and operating company affairs

Well: A hole drilled or dug in the earth from which petroleum flows or is pumped

Wood: The secondary xylem of trees and shrubs, lying beneath the bark and consisting largely of cellulose and lignin. This tissue is often cut and dried especially for use as building material and fuel