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7 Free Resources for Newbies in Oil & Gas


I’m from Michigan. We make cars. Growing up, the only thing I knew about oil was that you needed to change it every 3,000 miles. But, after moving to Texas and getting a job at Drillinginfo in 2010, I had to come up to speed ‒ quick!


Frac stages?

Shale porosity?

Needless to say, these words were not part of the standard Midwestern lexicon used at my dinner table. As such, I spent my first year at the company testing the patience of everyone in the office as I had a new question just about every 32 seconds. I know the painful learning curve of Oil & Gas, and I’d like to save you from it.

So, if you’re new to the industry, here are 7 free resources that can help you sound like a veteran in a matter of months.

  1. How Stuff Works: The Discovery Channel’s popular How Stuff Works site has a few fantastic articles on “How Oil Drilling Works.” They walk you through the basics of how oil formed in the earth, how it’s located and how it’s extracted. The articles are replete with helpful graphics and as an added bonus, you can watch a segment from Dirty Jobs where Mike Rowe gets awfully muddy during his 12 hour adventure into roughnecking.
  2. YouTube: You would be amazed at the quality drilling content you can find on YouTube. The site is filled with great videos that explain fracking, give you drilling rig tours and even teach you how to negotiate a lease. You can also watch Waylon sing about the joys of being an oilman. Just enter a keyword into the search field and see what you can come up with.
  3. Wikipedia: As with YouTube, you can search Wikipedia for almost any industry term and get a detailed explanation that even a Michigan boy can understand. A few of my favorites are the entries on drilling rigs, shale oil extraction and, of course, Spindletop.

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

  4. Schlumberger Oilfield Glossary: As fun as it is to read extensive articles on Wikipedia, sometimes you just want a brief definition; that’s where Schlumberger’s Oilfield Glossary comes in. The definitions are extremely clear and extremely brief. Given the amount of information you have to absorb right away in this industry, these are two things you really learn to appreciate as you’re coming up to speed.
  5. Drillinginfo’s Online Help Text Glossary: While Schlumberger’s glossary is pretty awesome, I have to admit I’m rather partial to Drillinginfo’s. That might have something to do with the fact that I wrote it. And, since I wrote it, I tried to make the terms as clear and easy to understand as possible. If you find something that doesn’t fit that description, please let me know.
  6. Adventures in Energy: Who doesn’t like cartoons? They have taught us everything from lessons on inflation to how laws are passed. And, thanks to the American Petroleum Institute’s Adventures in Energy, they can teach us everything about hydrocarbons. Ok, their animations aren’t exactly cartoons, but they are very helpful illustrations of each stage in Oil & Gas development and production.
  7. Twitter: Nothing is more valuable when getting to know Oil & Gas than staying on top of industry events happening around the world. And, Twitter is hands down the best way to do that. I have lists for both “Oil & Gas People” and “Oil & Gas Biz” filled with every person and business in the industry I could find on Twitter. Feel free to subscribe to them and, if you see anyone missing, send me a tweet.

Alright, these resources could keep you busy for a long time. But, if you spend just a few minutes researching them each day, you’ll be talking permeability and decline curves like a Pro in no time. If you’re a Drillinginfo subscriber, don’t forget to check out the Training Library for hours and hours of great education. If you’re not a subscriber, I’m sorry to report access to the Training Library isn’t free, but it’s well worth the investment!

Now it’s your turn. What resources did you find most helpful when you got started in Oil & Gas? Leave a comment below.

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James Hahn

was Social Media Manager at Drillinginfo. He has since went on to found Tribe Rocket, a digital marketing agency that helps oil and gas operators build highly-enthusiastic communities of investors, potential partners and concerned citizens around their brands to drive business results. James studied Journalism at Michigan State University. Follow him on Twitter @JamesHahnII

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