Careers in Energy Glossary

Abandoned well
A well permanently closed off when no viable oil or gas reserves are discovered, or it is depleted and no longer producing profitably. The well is permanently decommissioned by isolating and plugging the wellbore.
The process of changing a once active well (one that will no longer produce oil or gas) to a state where it can be safely left until the area is decommissioned and reclaimed. All equipment that was used to produce oil and gas is removed and work is completed on the well to ensure there is no risk to humans or the environment.
Active Well
A well that is currently producing oil or natural gas.
API Gravity
A measure of the relative density of a petroleum liquid. If one petroleum liquid floats on another it has a greater API gravity.
A standard barrel of oil holds about 42 U.S. gallons or roughly 159 litres. The barrel was adopted in the early days of U.S. oil and gas production to transport oil. Today, it is still used to measure transport volumes and pricing around the world.
Equipment to process or store crude oil from one or more wells.
Benchmarking measures
Data and information used as a point of reference against which industry performance is measured.
A light aromatic hydrocarbon, which occurs naturally as a part of oil and natural gas activity. It’s considered to be a non-threshold carcinogen and is an occupational and public health concern.
Biofuels are a low-carbon renewable energy source derived from biomass – organic matter that comes from plant and animal waste. Biofuels are used in a variety of ways, including to produce heat used for industrial purposes, for space and water heating, or to produce steam for electricity generation, as well as for transportation fuel for trucks, buses, and airplanes.
Heavy, thick oil that must be processed to convert it into a crude oil before refineries can use it to produce gasoline and other petroleum products.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology designed to reduce emissions from the atmosphere by capturing carbon dioxide from industrial processes and power plants. The captured CO2 is then transported and stored underground to prevent it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
Centrifugal pump
A rotating pump, commonly used for large-volume oil and natural gas pipelines, that takes in fluids near the centre and accelerates them as they move to the outlet on the outer rim.
The process of finishing a well to produce gas or oil.
Process of recovering oil and natural gas from a well using standard drilling production methods.
Crude oil
Oil found in liquid form, flowing naturally or capable of being pumped without further processing or dilution.
After an energy site has been safely abandoned, the hands-on work to close a project starts with decommissioning. Decommissioning involves removing as much infrastructure as possible from the site—facilities, surface pipelines, wellheads and so on. Only infrastructure considered to be an improvement may be left on the land (e.g., an access road left in place for the landowner’s use). The company must receive the landowner’s written permission to leave infrastructure on the land.
Digital Competencies
A combination of skills, knowledge and attitudes applied to the use of technology to perform tasks, solve problems, communicate, manage information, collaborate, and create and share content.
Digitization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model to increase efficiency and productivity and create value-producing opportunities.
Directional drilling
A drilling method that steers the drill bit at a horizontal angle, rather than a vertical angle.
Directional well
A well drilled at an angle by using a slanted drilling rig or by deflecting the drill bit. Used to drill multiple wells from a common drilling pad and reduce the surface footprint.
The refining and marketing sector of the oil and gas industry (e.g., refineries, gas stations)
Employed persons/employment rate
Employed persons are those who are performing work for pay or profit or have a job and are absent from work. The employment rate is the number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over. The employment rate for a particular group (e.g., age, sex, province) is the number employed in that group expressed as a percentage of the population for that group. See the Guide to the Labour Force Survey.
Energy services
Energy services encompass a broad range of activities and solutions that support the generation, distribution, and efficient use of energy. These services can include energy consulting, efficiency improvements, smart grid implementation, well drilling, testing, completing maintaining and reclamation, and the integration of renewable energy sources into existing infrastructure.
Exploration and production (E&P) sub-sector
The early stage of energy production, which includes the search for and extraction of oil, natural gas and geothermal energy. E&P companies find and contract the extraction of the raw materials which are shipped to other oil companies within the production process (i.e., they typically do not refine or process energy).
Exploratory well
A well in an area where oil and natural gas have not previously been found.
The process of bringing oil or natural gas up out of the ground, usually through a well or by mining.
Naturally occurring hydrocarbon found in porous rock formations as a gas or liquid, often called “natural gas”. Its primary component is usually methane. Non-hydrocarbon gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide can sometimes be present in natural gas.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
A system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data. GIS connects data to a map, integrating location data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there). 
Horizontal drilling
Drilling a well horizontally from the vertical.
Hydraulic fracturing
A technology, also known as fracking, used to recover oil or natural gas trapped in deep underground rock formations. During the process a fluid or gas is pumped into a well. This creates pressure, causing the surrounding rocks to crack and allow gas or oil to flow up the well.
Hydraulic fracturing fluid
A mixture of water, sand and chemical additives used to hydraulically fracture tight rock formations. Water and sand typically make up to 99.5% of the mixture.
A naturally occurring compound of hydrogen and carbon, which are the main components of oil and natural gas.
Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can be produced through various methods, such as electrolysis or steam methane reforming. It is used in fuel cells for clean electricity generation, as a feedstock for industrial processes, and as a potential clean fuel for transportation.
In situ
Latin, meaning “in place”, in situ is a method of producing bitumen from oil sands by drilling wells which use specialized extraction techniques.
Inactive well
A well that has not produced oil or natural gas in 12 months.
Labour demand
The amount of labour that employers seek to hire during a given time at a particular wage rate.
Labour force
A term used in both the Census and the Labour Force Survey referring to those aged 15 years and over (i.e., eligible to work) who are employed and unemployed. See the Census Dictionary. See the Guide to the Labour Force Survey.
Labour Force Survey (LFS)
The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is a monthly survey conducted by Statistics Canada. See the Guide to the Labour Force Survey.
Labour market
A collective term describing the dynamics and interaction of workers and employers. The state of employment, unemployment, participation rates and wages.
Labour market information (LMI)
Data and analysis related to employment and the workforce.
Labour shortage
Not enough labour supply to meet labour demand.
Labour supply
Availability of suitable workers in a particular labour market.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state for ease of storage and transportation. It is a crucial component of the global energy trade, providing a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional fuels and enabling the efficient transport of natural gas across long distances.
The processing, storage and transportation (primarily pipelines) sector of the oil and gas industry.
A method of producing bitumen from oil sands using trucks to dig up and haul oil sands to crushers where it is mixed with hot water and sent to extraction.
National Occupational Classification (NOC)
Canada’s national system for describing occupations. See the NOC.
Natural gas
Naturally occurring hydrocarbon found in porous rock formations as a gas or liquid, often called “gas”. Its primary component is usually methane. Non-hydrocarbon gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide can sometimes be present in natural gas.
Natural gas liquids
Liquids produced along with natural gas, including ethane, propane, butanes and condensate.
Net Hiring Requirements (NHR)
Hiring for new employment created by industry activity plus backfilling positions due to age-related attrition (retirements and deaths).
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
An industry classification system developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico and the United States. See the NAICS.
Offshore oil and gas
Offshore oil and gas refers to the exploration, extraction, and production of oil and natural gas reserves located beneath the seabed. Offshore operations involve drilling platforms and technologies designed for challenging marine environments.
Offshore sub-sector
Exploration for oil and/or natural gas located offshore, often in oceans or other large bodies of water. The offshore industry in Canada is primarily in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
Oil and gas
The oil and gas sector encompasses the exploration, extraction, refining, and distribution of fossil fuels. It plays a central role in meeting global energy demand for transportation, heating, power generation and industrial processes.
Oil and gas industry
Careers in Energy defines the oil and gas industry as the exploration and production, oil sands, oil and gas services and pipelines sub-sectors.
Oil and gas services sub-sector
Contracted services for exploration, extraction and production to the E&P sector. This sector includes: Drilling and completion services (e.g., drilling and service rig activities). Geophysical services, also known as seismic (e.g., survey, permitting and reclamation, line construction, drilling and data acquisition). Petroleum services (e.g., well services, oilfield construction and maintenance, production and transportation services).
Oil sands
Oil sands are unconventional deposits of bitumen mixed with sand, clay, and water. Oil sands can be found close to the earth’s surface and recovered by mining methods or can be found deep underground and recovered in situ – by drilling. Extracting and processing oil from these sands require specialized technologies, and the resulting product is used as a source of crude oil.
Oil sands sub-sector
Companies involved in the exploration and production of the oil sands. About 20% of the oil sands can be mined, while the other 80% are accessed using specialized drilling methods.
Orphan well
A well or associated site that does not have a legally responsible and/or financially viable party to deal with its decommissioning and reclamation.
A naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbons found in geological formations beneath the earth’s surface that can be refined into a variety of products (e.g., gasoline, diesel).
Pipelines are infrastructure systems that transport liquids or gases, such as oil, natural gas, carbon dioxide, hydrogen or water, over long distances. They are crucial for efficiently moving resources from production sites to distribution centres, ensuring a reliable supply to end-users.
The process of restoring the surface area of a well site, access road and related facilities to a natural state.
Refining involves the processing of crude oil to produce various refined products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. This sector plays a key role in converting raw petroleum into usable and valuable products for consumers and industries.
The action to eliminate, limit, correct, counteract, mitigate or remove the adverse effects of any contaminant to the environment or human health caused by oil and gas operations.
Sedimentary basin
A geographical area in which much of the rock is sedimentary (deposits of sediment that solidify in layers) and, therefore, is likely to contain hydrocarbons. The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin is an example of such a formation.
Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD)
An in situ (meaning recovered in place) method for extracting heavy oil or bitumen that involves two horizontal wellbores, one above the other. Steam is injected into the upper wellbore and softened bitumen is recovered from the lower wellbore.
Suspended well
A well that is not currently producing oil or gas but has been safely secured and may produce in the future.
In the context of this glossary, the term refers to the ability to transfer skills from one occupation, sector or industry to another.
Process of recovering oil or gas using techniques other than conventional drilling methods (e.g., shale oil extraction).
Unemployed/unemployment rate
Unemployed persons are those aged 15 years and older who are available for work and have either looked for work in the past four weeks, are on temporary layoff, or have a job starting in the next four weeks. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed expressed as a percentage of the labour force. See the Guide to the Labour Force Survey.
Exploring for, recovering and producing oil and natural gas resources.
The actual drilled hole that forms the well.
Labour pool available in an industry and/or sector.
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