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For how long do oil wells produce oil?

 
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:59 am
In the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster, a perceptive and precocious 7th grade student asked me this simple question: On oil wells in general, once a jackpump starts pumping, for how long (on the average) will the well produce oil? One year; ten years; 20; indefinite?

I tried to ask the big oil companies, but they either ignored or insulted me implying the answer to the question was too obvious or just plain silly. (They don't know either.)

Put simply: I go to west Texas, set up my derricks and strike oil. I install my jackpump and start harvesting. How long can I expect to get oil before it dries up?

Oh, well. Does anybody know? Or can link me up to someone who might?

Thanks in advance for responses.
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 9,810 • Replies: 3
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rosborne979
 
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Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:25 am
@easyasabc,
I suspect it's a very variable answer, depending on how much oil is in the particular deposit, and what composition the oil is.

I have no idea how long this particular spill (the gulf oil disaster) would continue if left untouched. The BP geologists might have some idea.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:40 am
@rosborne979,
Ros is correct. Depending on the permeability, pressure, the amount of free water and salt water and fracturing of the production Formations, some oil wells can preoduce for half a century or more. The "Indiana" and "Oil Creek " wells of the "colonel Drake" days (1859) are still producing as "stripper wells" A stripper well is a seepage hole that collects about 10 barrels a day or less. In NW Pa , there are still a bunch of plastics and paraffin using industries (several companies that produce scented candles Etc).
Mom and Pop oil field stripper wells and some pumping wells are still all over the NW PA area and some of them are pumping oil from wells that are almost 100 years old.
In other areas, like The Wst Texas or Kern County Cal oil fields we have wells that only produce for a few years to some that are over 50 years and going.
When a well stops peak production, we can go back in and mess with the rock (making lotsa cracks so that oil can flow freely) we also can outfit the wells with gas (CO2 spargers, and hot water fluid extraction seystems to do wjhat we call "secondary recovery". WE can also go in and snake wells sideways around an old field and suck up the residual crude like sucking up the last bit of a milkshake.

Ya gotta look almost at every well's production records separately
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JTT
 
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Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:38 pm
@easyasabc,
I think this BP well may be producing faster than it would normally produce.
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