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  Oil and gas technology

Origins of oil and gas technology in Texas

Long before European explorers came to Texas, native Tejas Indians had found oil seeping out of the ground and had used it for medicine, for tanning hides, for caulking their boats and as binder for war paints. The first sighting of oil in Texas by a European explorer is attributed to Luis de Moscoso, a survivor of Hernando de Soto's failed expedition in 1543.  


Five expedition brigantines, while trying to reach Mexico City (the nearest Spanish garrison in New Spain) via the Gulf of Mexico, were forced by storm winds to beach in an area between Sabine Pass and High Island, near Port Arthur.  After taking refuge in Sabine Lake (at the confluence of the Neches and Sabine rivers), the explorers observed oil scum floating on the surface of the water.  They skimmed this asphaltic substance and used it to caulk their sailing ships.


Over the last century, oil exploration has progressed from surface observation and divining rods to the use of satellites, remote sensing and computers to generate 3-D seismic and 4-D time-lapse imaging of sub-surface reservoirs.


Drilling and completion techniques have advanced from horse-driven cable tools in vertical wells to top-motor driven rotary rigs, coiled tubing rigs and systems that monitor well bore conditions during drilling operations.  Current technology enables directional and horizontal drilling to reach previously inaccessible reservoirs.


Collection techniques have evolved from collecting crude oil in wooden barrels from open gushers, to enhanced recovery by viscosity reduction techniques utilizing steam injection and gas injection, and by injection of polymer chemicals and surfactants for reducing the surface tension of oil droplets.


U.S. producers are turning increasingly to deeper, more complex and difficult-to-produce oil and gas reservoirs. New drilling techniques and improved production tools are being developed that will probe much deeper and into harder, more complex formations to produce the oil and gas supplies needed in the coming decades. 



Representative patents                  Download Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF:


6,315,063      Reciprocating rotary drilling motor

5,692,544      Seal and clamp assembly for pipeline flanged connection

5,612,493      Determining gas-oil ratios from producing oil wells

5,465,792      Controlling production of excess water in oil and gas wells

5,456,315      Horizontal well combustion process for oil recovery

5,443,117      Frac pack flow sub

5,413,180      One trip backwash/sand control with wash pipe isolation

5,413,176      Sand screen repair

5,375,662      Hydraulic setting sleeve for packer

5,361,843      Dedicated perforatable nipple with integral isolation sleeve


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