An "oil field" or "oilfield" is a region with an abundance of oil
wells extracting petroleum (crude oil) from below ground. Because the
oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several
hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells
scattered across the area. In addition, there may be exploratory wells
probing the edges, pipelines to transport the oil elsewhere, and
Because an oil field may be remote from civilization, establishing a
field is often an extremely complicated exercise in logistics. This
goes beyond requirements for drilling, to include associated
infrastructure. For instance, workers require housing to allow them to
work onsite for months or years. In turn, housing and equipment
require electricity and water. In cold regions, pipelines may need to
be heated. Also, excess natural gas may be burned off if there is no
way to make use of it—which requires a furnace, chimney and pipes to
carry it from the well to the furnace.
Thus, the typical oil field resembles a small, self-contained town in
the midst of a landscape dotted with drilling rigs or the pump jacks,
which are known as "nodding donkeys" because of their bobbing arm.
Several companies, such as Hill International, Bechtel, Esso,
Weatherford International, Schlumberger Limited,
Drilling fluid Drilling rig List of acronyms in oil and gas exploration and production List of oil fields List of oilfield service companies
^ Yergin, Daniel (1991). The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-50248-4.
Oil Fields from Space - nighttime satellite images showing fields around the world