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A petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir is a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. Petroleum reservoirs are broadly classified as conventional and unconventional reservoirs. In conventional reservoirs, the naturally occurring hydrocarbons, such as crude oil or natural gas, are trapped by overlying rock formations with lower permeability, while in unconventional reservoirs, the rocks have high porosity and low permeability, which keeps the hydrocarbons trapped in place, therefore not requiring a cap rock. Reservoirs are found using hydrocarbon exploration methods.
An oil field is a pool of oil under the surface of the earth, trapped in a sealed hollow of impermeable rock. As actually used in practice, the term implies the possibility of sufficient economic benefit worthy of commercial attention. Secondarily, the area on the surface above where oil lies trapped underground, is also called an oil field.
Because oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred km 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 support facilities.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.
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