Process Engineering Term - P

PACKER - An expanding plug used in a well to seal off certain secti0ons of the tubing or casing when cementing and acidizing or when a production formation is to be isolated. Packers are run on the tubing or the casing and when in position can be expanded mechanically or hydraulically against the pipe wall or the wall of the well bore.

PARAFFIN - A white, odorless, tasteless, chemically inert, waxy substance derived from distilling petroleum; a crystalline, flammable substance composed of saturated hydrocarbons.

PAYOUT - When the costs of drilling, producing and operating have been recouped from the sale of products on a well.

PERFORATING GUN - A special tool used downhole for shooting holes in the well’s casing opposite the producing formation. The gun, a steel tube of various lengths, has steel projectiles placed at intervals over its outer circumference, perpendicular to the gun’s long axis. When lowered into the well’s casing on a wireline opposite the formation to be produced, the gun is fired electrically, shooting numerous holes in the casing that permit the oil or gas to flow into the casing.

PERMEABILITY - A measure of the resistance of rock to the movement of fluids. Rocks may have holes or void spaces in them (porosity), but if these holes do not connect, the permeability can be drastically reduced.

PINCHOUT - The disappearance or “wedging out” of a porous, permeable formation between two layers of impervious rock. The gradual, vertical “thinning” of a formation, over a horizontal or near-horizontal distance, until it disappears.

PIPELINE GAS - Gas under sufficient pressure to enter the high-pressure gas lines of a purchaser; gas sufficiently dry so that liquid hydrocarbons - natural gasoline, butane, and other gas liquids usually present in natural gas - will not condense or drop out in the transmission lines.

PLUG - To fill a well’s borehole with cement or other impervious material to prevent the flow of water, gas or oil from one strata to another when a well is abandoned; to screw a metal plug into a pipeline to shut off drainage or to divert the stream of oil to a connecting line to stop the flow of oil or gas.

PLUGGING A WELL - To fill up the borehole of an abandoned well with mud and cement to prevent the flow of water or oil from one strata to another or to the surface. In the industry’s early years, wells were often improperly plugged or left open. Modern practice requires that an abandoned well be properly and securely plugged.

POROSITY - A measure of the relative volume of void space in rock to the total rock volume. These spaces or pores are where oil and gas accumulate; therefore, a formation containing a high percentage of porosity can contain more hydrocarbons.

PROVEN RESERVES - Oil and gas which has not been produced but has been located and is recoverable.

PUMP, CASING - A sucker-rod pump designed to pump oil up through the casing instead of the more common method of pumping through tubing. A casing pump is run into the well on the sucker rods; a packer on the top or bottom of the pump barrel provides packoff or seal between the pump and the wall of the casing at any desired depth. Oil is discharged from the pump into the casing and out the wellhead.

PUMP, ROD - A class of downhole pumps in which the barrel, plunger, and standing valve are assembled and lowered into the well through the tubing. When lowered to its pumping position, the pump is locked to the tubing to permit relative motion between plunger and barrel. The locking device is a holddown and consists either of cups or a mechanical, metal-to-metal seal.

PUMPING UNIT - A pump connected to a source of power; an oil-well pumping jack; a pipeline pump and engine.

PUMPER - An employee of an operator who is responsible for gauging the oil and gas sold off the leases he has been assigned and who is also responsible for maintaining and reporting the daily production.

PLANNING AREA - A subdivision of an offshore area used as the initial basis for considering blocks to be offered for lease.

PLUGGED AND ABANDONED - Wells in which casings have been removed, and the well bore sealed with mechanical or cement plugs.

PRODUCIBLE LEASE - A lease where one well or several wells have discovered hydrocarbons in paying quantities, but for which there is no production during the reporting period.

PRODUCIBLE ZONE COMPLETION - The interval in a wellbore that has been mechanically prepared to produce oil, gas, or sulphur. There can be more than one zone completed for production in a wellbore.

PRODUCING LEASE - A lease that is producing oil, gas, or sulphur in quantities sufficient to generate royalties.

PRODUCTION - The phase of oil and gas operations involved with well fluids extraction, separation, treatment, measurement, etc.

PROVEN RESERVES - Reserves that can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be recovered under current economic conditions. Current economic conditions include processing costs prevailing at the time of the estimate. Proved reserves must either have facilities that are operational at the time of the estimate to process and transport those reserves to market, or a commitment of reasonable expectation to install such facilities in the future. Proved reserves can be subdivided into undeveloped and developed. 

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