Producing oil and gas

In a producing oil or gas well, a wellhead is placed on the surface to maintain control of the well and the well is pressure-tested to ensure that it is safe.

The wellhead contains barriers, valves, seals and a gas/water separator. It allows the pressure of the well and the flow of fluids to be controlled at the surface.

If sufficient volumes of oil or gas are found, the well can be connected to a pipeline so that petroleum can be transported to markets and refineries. This requires either building a new pipeline or connecting the well to an existing pipeline.

Oil is generally piped to a refinery for processing into more useful products such as petrol, diesel fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), heating oil, kerosene and asphalt base. But it can also be piped to a shipping terminal for shipment to an Australian or overseas refinery.

Gas can be used within Australia for electricity generation, household gas and industrial uses.

It can also be sold into export markets as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

LNG plants super-chill the gas to liquefy it. LNG’s volume shrinks to 1/600 of the space taken by natural gas in its gaseous form, enabling export via purpose-built tankers.