Geological studies and seismic surveys can point the way to a hydrocarbon prospect. But there is only one way to know if that prospect contains oil or gas, and that is to drill a well.
Drilling projects are team undertakings. They encompass a wide range of disciplines and job functions, from geology, geophysics and engineering to operations, support and logistics, safety and regulatory compliance, management and administration. Project teams are often part of alliances that include:
· The oil or gas company (also known as the operating company or operator), along with any joint venture partners having an interest in the well;
· An outside drilling contractor who provides the drilling rig and the personnel to run it; and
· One or more service companies that provide specialized equipment and expertise at various stages of the project. The largest of these service companies may offer integrated project management services that include contract drilling.
The working relationships that characterize a drilling project depend on the well's location, the arrangements between the companies involved in the project and the number of personnel involved. A small onshore rig may be crewed by no more than five contractor employees and managed by just one or two contractor and operator representatives, while some large offshore drilling operations may have several rig crews and groups of specialists totaling 50 or more persons, along with dozens of land-based technical and support personnel.
**Source: Petroleum Online: http://www.petroleumonline.com/content/overview.asp?mod=4