Energy Excursions

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What is a Well?

“Take an energy excursion exploring the basics of different types of  wells, their purpose and construction, associated regulatory, technology and engineering-design controls put in place to prioritize health, safety, and the environment.” 


This lesson examines the basics of a well, different well types, regulatory measures for contamination prevention, and the stages of well construction and completion. Motivation for this lesson is the importance of a well for human activities such as natural resource extraction and waste injection. “What is a Well” lays the foundation for subsequent lessons that focus on different considerations made prior to well construction, controls for contamination prevention, an engineering-design challenge, and a case study on the Macondo Blowout. 

Learning Outcomes 

  • Compare and contrast extraction and injection wells and the purpose of each
  • Evaluate the agencies responsible for overseeing the regulation of extraction wells, injection wells, and the individuals working at these sites
  • Identify and describe policies established to oversee working conditions at well sites
  • Determine the responsible parties for the various stages of oil and gas production and their primary goals
  • Differentiate between onshore and offshore production and describe the technology required for each method
  • Explain how ownership of mineral rights differs in the United States compared to other nations and understand how mineral rights can be severed from surface rights
  • Describe the process by which operators can explore for oil and gas on government and private properties
  • Evaluate the various ways the government can benefit from oil and gas projects
  • Assess issues surrounding signature bonuses and analyze scenarios related to this process
  • Determine the greatest challenges associated with building a safe well
  • Analyze and explain the steps to well completion, including specific equipment necessary to develop a well correctly
Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards