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Oilfield terminology

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Title: Oilfield terminology  
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Subject: Oil field, BML, List of acronyms in oil and gas exploration and production
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Oilfield terminology

Oilfield terminology refers to the jargon used by those working in fields within and related to the upstream segment of the petroleum industry. It includes words and phrases describing professions, equipment, and procedures specific to the industry. It may also include slang terms used by oilfield workers to describe the same.


  • Bell nipple: An enlarged pipe at the top of a casing string that serves as a funnel to guide drilling tools into the top of the well.
  • Big Bear: A Big Bear is a hitch (see Hitch) that lasts a minimum of 50 straight days.
  • Blowout: A sudden, uncontrolled release of underground pressure from the well.
  • CSG (Coal Seam Gas) or CBM (Coal Bed Methane) is methane that forms in the gaps between coal molecules.[1] (not to be confused with csg, an abbreviation for the well casing)
  • Chainhand (also Motorman): An experienced laborer capable of maintaining most parts of the rig. The chainhand is in charge of throwing the chain to make up or break down pipe stands during tripping pipe. They are also responsible for maintaining the motors on the drilling rig (hence "motorman").
  • Cold vent: An area of the ocean floor where hydrogen sulfide, methane and other hydrocarbon-rich fluid seepage occurs, often in the form of a brine pool. Constitutes a biome supporting several endemic species. More commonly a "cold seep".
  • Core sample: A cylindrical section of a naturally occurring medium consistent enough to hold a layered structure. Most cores are obtained by drilling into the medium, for example sediment or rock, with a hollow steel tube called a corer.
  • Derrickman: The second in command after the driller.
  • Driller: The crew supervisor on a drilling rig, working under the toolpusher.
  • Elevator: A hinged mechanism that is closed around the drill pipe or other drill string components to facilitate lowering them into or lifting them out of the wellbore.
  • Floorhand: Laborer responsible for the overall maintenance of the rig.
  • Frac job: Slang term for hydraulic fracturing, a process whereby an oil or gas well is stimulated by pumping special fluids into the reservoir, fracturing the formation.[2]
  • Fish: Any object that has been unintentionally dropped and lost down the wellbore. Fishing is the act of using specialized tools lowered on the drillstring to retrieve a fish.
  • Ginzel: Slang term for a worker even lower on the food chain than a worm. A ginzel would be someone just starting out that has no oilfield experience whatsoever.
  • Hanger: Refers to several different tools. The casing hanger is the portion of a wellhead assembly which provides support for the casing string when it is lowered into the wellbore. The liner hanger is used to hang casing liners (casing strings that do not reach the surface) from the internal wall of a previous casing string. The instrument hanger is a downhole tool on which downhole gauges or instruments that are to be temporarily left in the wellbore are attached. The tubing hanger attaches to the topmost tubing joint in the wellhead to support the tubing string.
  • Hitch: Rig employees refer to their work period as a 'hitch.' A common hitch is 20 days on, followed by 10 days off. Typically, two crews will be on and each crew will spend one week working 7am-7pm and the following week 7pm-7am. Or, crews may do a full two weeks of 7am-7pm and then upon returning after their 10 days off, will work the next two weeks 7pm-7am (The third rig crew being on their 10 days off). Some rigs may operate 4 crews; these crews work 8 hours shifts.
  • Horner plot is a semi-log plot produced during pressure buildup analysis.[3]
  • Intelligent well: An oil or gas well equipped with monitoring equipment and completion components that allow for automatic or remote optimization of production.
  • Joint: A length of pipe.
  • Kick: An intrusion of pressurized gas into the wellbore that causes drilling fluid to be displaced. It can be the precursor to a blowout.
  • Kill: The act of stopping a well from flowing.
  • Well logging: The practice of making a detailed record (a well log) of the geologic formations penetrated by a borehole. Also known as borehole logging. Wireline logging is the practice of measuring formation properties using electrically powered instruments to infer properties and make decisions about drilling and production operations.
  • Moon pool, an air-filled chamber open to the water below.
  • Mud: Slang term for drilling fluid. A Mud Man is the drilling fluids technician responsible for formulating the mud, while a Mud Logger checks mud cuttings from the drill bit for traces of rock or oil and gas that provide a picture of conditions downhole.
  • Pay: A reservoir or portion of a reservoir containing hydrocarbons that can be economically produced, i.e. it is capable of "paying" an income. Also referred to as "pay sand" or the "pay zone".
  • Pig: A device inserted into a pipeline for cleaning purposes. The act of using a pig is called pigging.
  • Piston corers: advanced piston corer, extended core barrel systems
  • Petroleum play: (or "play") A group of oil prospects that are controlled by the same set of geological circumstances.
  • Roughneck: A member of an oil rig drilling crew.
  • Subsalt: Refers to oil prospects that lie below a salt layer.[5]
  • Worm: an inexperienced oilfield worker that is not yet a "hand".
  • Toolhand: Refers to a 3rd party (Down Hole Services Provider) service representative or Field Service Supervisor with "tools" to be run and operated in a well. Also referred to as prostitutes due to their specified training, high cost, and often "whiny" demeanor.
  • Toolpusher: The boss of a drilling rig, working under the drilling superintendent or the corporation the rig is contracted to.

See also

List of acronyms in oil and gas exploration and production


External links

  • Energy Industry Oilfield Terms and Oilfield Slang
  • Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary
  • BG Jargon Buster for the Natural gas industry

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