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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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It is impossible to cover all the positions that are vital to the petroleum industry in one website. However, some should be included. Petroleum engineers originally were mining and geology graduates hired to do oil production work. The focus on reservoir engineering accelerated the establishment of petroleum industry research laboratories, particularly during the period immediately following the Second World War. Major research attention was directed toward the principles, processes, and methods for improvement of oil recovery that included waterflooding; high-pressure-gas injection; miscible processes; use of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other gases; and development of surfactants. Dr. Karl Clark at the University of Alberta can be classified as a petroleum engineer for his contributions to creating a process to extract oil from sands. With the advances in technology specialization in creating new drilling mechanism, oil refining, and designing refineries grew. As a result, Petroleum Engineering became integral to the growth of the industry. Petroleum engineers work with geologists and geophysicists to analyze drilling data and find hydrocarbons, improve production and optimize drilling, completion and recovery methods.

Another career involved in the petroleum industry is archaeology. Heritage sites and objects on private and Provincial Crown Land are protected under various heritage acts. When an area is being evaluated for drilling, archaeologists are brought in to assess any historical importance. For example, the archeologist may excavate a field where a drilling rig is to be erected. If the team finds significant material evidence, such as tools or bones, that warrants further investigation. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, some other provincial and municipal legislation, regional regulations or bylaws, and corporate policies require industry to produce impact studies that provide evaluations of their projects. Deposits of archaeological materials at a potential drill site are among the factors that are affected by exploration as archaeological materials must be protected before any activity can occur that will disturb the landscape.

 

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