Getting the oil
Drilling for oil
Photo of drill bit
Fawley oil refinery and sea terminal

We drill for oil using a special drill bit. It rotates like the power tools we use to drill into wood.

A drill bit is made of steel with industrial diamonds on the cutting edges. Diamonds are very hard and can cut through rock.

The drill bit is connected to the end of sections of spinning pipe. The spinning bit cuts through the rock.

Most oil wells are between 900 and 5,000 metres deep, but a drill can go down as far as 8,000 metres. The wells also travel horizontally through the reservoir.

Hundreds of pipe sections are needed to drill down that far! The pipe sections are put together by the rig workers on the oil platforms.

The bit is on the end of a string of steel pipes. Each section of pipe is about 9 metres long.

The oily, sludgy rock can pass up through the middle of the bit. The pressure of the oil pushes it up to the surface.

Find out more about drill workers.

Graphic of drilling line
The refinery area of the Fawley site.