The drilling process begins with prospecting for potentially viable sites for oil and gas wells using various technologies such as local production records, resevoir data, engineer field work, geochemical evaluations, seismic testing, and others. Before drilling, a site is surveyed to determine exactly where to drill the well. This is determined by distances from the proposed well to property boundaries, water wells, existing gas or oil wells, and pertinent elevation and topographic data.
The drilling rig and other equipment can be moved onto a site in 1-2 days and drilling can then start immediately. Often drilling is done around the clock until the desired depth is reached. By detonating charges below the surface in strategic locations, fractures are produced; pathways along which oil and natural gas can flow and be brought to the surface.
Interestingly, many of the chemicals put into the ground in the drilling process are food-grade items, meaning that these are very environmentally friendly, even being found in common household items, such as some ice creams and shampoos.
All these things are done with the goal of having a minimal amount of impact on the land. At the end of a job, a site is reclaimed, or brought back, as close as possible, to the original land condition. Oil and natural gas drilling is designed to be an operation that benefits, not only the production company, but also the landowner, all while maintaining the goal of a sound and healthy environment.