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Glossary of Industry Terms

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Darcy

A standard unit of measure of permeability of a medium. One darcy is defined as the permeability of a porous medium through which the passage of one cubic centimetre of fluid, having one centipoise of viscosity, flowing in one second, under a pressure differential of one atmosphere, where the porous medium has a cross-sectional area of one square centimetre and a length of one centimetre.

 

Deep Basin Gas

Gas that is found at depths greater than the average for a particular area of production.

 

Deliverability

The amount of natural gas that a well, a gas field or a gathering, transmission or distribution system can supply in a given period of time.

 

Density

The heaviness of crude oil, indicating the proportion of large, carbon-rich molecules contained, generally measured in kilograms per cubic metre ( kg/m3 ) or degrees on the American Petroleum Institute ( API ) specific gravity scale. In Western Canada oil up to 900 kg/m3 is considered light to medium crude. Oil above this density is deemed as heavy oil or bitumen.

 

Deregulation

The process of changing natural gas market regulations to allow a greater role for competition to balance supply and demand and set prices. It does not mean the absence of regulation.

 

Derrick

A load-bearing, tower structure over a natural gas or crude oil well that holds the hoisting and lowering equipment for drilling, testing and reworking wells.

 

Desiccant

Any absorbent or adsorbent ( liquid or solid ) that will remove water or water vapour from a material.

 

Desulphurization

The process of removing sulphur and sulphur compounds from gases or liquid hydrocarbons.

Development Well

A well drilled in or adjacent to a proven petroleum find to optimize production.

 

Diesel

A mid-product of fractional distillation that is heavier than kerosene or naphtha.

 

Diluent

A liquid used to dilute bitumen to get it to flow. Gas well condensate is the most commonly used diluent in the oilsands industry.

 

Directional ( Deviated ) Well

A well drilled at an angle from vertical by using a slanted drilling rig or by directing the drill bit. Directional wells are used to drill multiple wells from a common drilling pad or to reach product beneath land or water where drilling cannot be done.

 

Directional Drilling

Drilling a wellbore at any angle other than vertical. It is used where the rig cannot be set up directly over the target, or to drill more than one hole from a single location.

 

Discovery Well

An exploratory well that reveals a new gas or oil field.

 

Dispute Resolution

A process to resolve conflicts in mutually beneficial way, using negotiation or third-party mediation instead of public hearings or courts.

 

Distillation Tower

A tall, cylindrical steel tank divided by a number of perforated trays, used in the process of fractional distillation to collect the distilled liquids as they condense.

 

Dolomite

A calcium and magnesium carbonate mineral CaMg(CO3)2. A sedimentary rock rich in dolomite in which oil or gas reservoirs are often found.

 

Downstream

The refining and marketing sector of the petroleum industry.

Drawworks

The hoisting mechanism on a drilling rig which spools off or takes in the drill pipe and thus raises or lowers the drill string and bit.

 

Drill Bit

The drilling tool that cuts the drill hole.

 

Drill Pipe

Steel pipe sections, approximately 9.5 meters long, that are screwed together to form a continuous pipe extending from the drilling rig to the drilling bit at the bottom of the drill hole. Rotation of the drill pipe and bit causes the bit to bore the drill hole.

 

Drill String

A column or string of drill pipe which rotates and carries the drilling mud down to the drill bit.

 

Drilling

The process of boring a hole through the earth to the target zone(s) to find oil or gas in commercial quantities and to convey that oil and gas to the surface for use.

 

Drilling Mud

Specialized mud mixed at the drill site, pumped down the drillstring and returned to the surface through the annulus around the drillstring which prevents blowouts, removes the drillbit cuttings and cools and lubricates the drillbit.

 

Drillstem Test

A method of sampling the fluid from a formation using a tool attached to the drillstem. This sample is used to assess the type, volume, pressure and rate of flow of the fluids in the formation.

 

Dry Gas

Natural gas that is free of liquid hydrocarbons, or gas that has been treated to remove all liquids;  a term often used in reference to pipeline gas.

 

Dry Hole

An unsuccessful well. A well incapable of producing commercial quantities of oil or gas.