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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 resources 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 

  • Understand the basic definition of a well 
  • Learn different well types and their purpose 
    • Extraction Wells 
    • Injection Wells 
  • Grasp an understanding of regulatory oversight and some of the agencies who oversee wells in the United States and, more specifically, in Texas 
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) 
    • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) 
    • Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) 
  • Learn where oil and gas wells are drilled, who is in charge of and responsible for leading drilling projects, and who receives revenue as a result of drilling  
    • Onshore Drilling 
    • Offshore Drilling 
    • Royalties, taxes, production sharing 
  • Gain an understanding of the basics of well construction and the required stages 
  • Learn the steps and importance of proper well completion 
Oklahoma Academic Standards
TEKS Standards
College Board Units and Topics
Next Generation Science Standards