list and Meaning of 34 Awkward Terms in Petroleum Engineering

engineering petroleum in terms Awkward

Awkward Terms in Petroleum Engineering?

Petroleum Engineering is an interesting field, but because the oil field was started by some individuals who may not have had a formal higher education, some of our terminologies sound so awkward and weird. This is not an exhaustive article but let me walk you through a few, the article is written in a simplified way, devoid of other lingo in Petroleum engineering so even you can understand it.

Awkward Terms in Petroleum Engineering


This is a term used to describe the influx of formation fluid into the wellbore, usually during underbalanced drilling.

Monkey man

Also known as derrickman is rig personnel who handles and racks pipes during tripping operations.


Fingering is an Enhanced Oil recovery/petroleum Production term; it’s a condition where the interface of two fluids (say oil and water) bypasses some sections of the reservoir.

Tool pusher

This is also rig personnel, whom the driller report to.

Carrot hole

this is a hole that is shaped like a carrot; it is a hole whose diameter decreases steadily from the top, usually occurs when bit teeth are wearing out.

Rat hole:

Simply put, this hole is a hole that extends from the rig floor, it houses the Kelly during operations such as ‘tripping’

Mouse hole:

This hole is close to the rotaray table and Vee door, it houses the next string of pipe to be made up.

Dog house

 I do not know why it is called a Dog house, but that’s quite funny, it’s a multipurpose section of the rig floor, its a house for the driller and his crew.

Company man

The Toolpusher reports to the company man, company men are usually experienced and seasoned drillers and toolpushers. I want to be a company man someday.


it’s a small tool ran through tubular goods to check for obstructions and may sometimes clean dirt.


This is the process of running a rabbit


Some say its called a pig because it does a dirty Job, some claim its called a pig because of the sound it produces which mimics that of a pig. Well, a pig is used to clean up pipelines and flowlines.

That reminds me, there is a type of pig called the ‘No-Go-Devil’ Another weird term.


This is the process of running a pig.


This occurs when there is an uncontrolled (kick) influx of formation fluid

Awkward Terms in Petroleum Engineering
GULF OF MEXICO – APRIL 21: In this handout image provided be the U.S. Coast Guard, fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 21, 2010 near New Orleans, Louisiana. An estimated leak of 1,000 barrels of oil a day are still leaking into the gulf. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard via Getty Images)

Bottom hole assembly

This is a technical term used in reference to the assemblage of tubular goods from the heavy weight drill pipe to the bit.


Let me make this simple for our none petroleum engineering friends, its a phenomenon that occurs when large diameter pipes are stuck in small sized holes drilled by a small diameter pipe. occurs usually after a dogleg.


This term is actually my best, dogleg is an abrupt deviation in the direction of the wellbore, which usually results in keyseat

RPG Bomb

This is  a term used to refer to an old downhole  temperature  and pressure measurement  tool.

Kick off

The Kick off point is the starting point of a horizontal or directional well from the vertical.

Christmas tree

This is a well completion equipment, usually mounted on the wellhead as an assemblage of valves to maintain and control flow.


A fish is any tool or material lost in hole, which cannot be retrieved through the conventional retrieval method.


Fishing, as the name implies is the act of retrieving a lost tool (fish) from the wellbore.


Yeah! Where are all the ballers? The bit also balls, but balling ain’t good in drilling, it’s a phenomenon that occurs when hydratable clays forms a sticky paste on the bit or Bottom Hole Assembly, this thing is dangerous, it leads to a reduced rate of penetration, an inexperienced driller may swab in a kick. Am a badass, I know how to kill a ball from the surface, if possible, change to oil-based mud, and or increase circulation rate before you lose your nozzles, but if your nozzles are blocked, hahaha call your wife/mother tell them to pray and fast.


This is one of the problems encountered by roller cone bits on hard formation especially when there is too much weight on bit, the cones tend to collapse on each other.


Yeah, as the name implies, they are rig personnels rousting about, responsible for rig clean up and housekeeping.


I was so proud the first day I handled the tongs, the roughnecks are rig personnel working in tandem with the driller, responsible for make up and breakup of pipes, they ensure also that slips are set to avoid unnecessary fishing


My friends call me ‘mood Engineer’ because during a drilling class I pronounced mud as mood, Mud is the life blood of the rotary drilling system, it is a viscous fluid usually made of clay mixed either with water, oil or emulsion. The functions are as numerous as the functions of a casing. It carries the cuttings from the hole to the surface.


A kink in drilling line usually as a result of shock loading or fatique.

Party chief

The party chief is the leader of an exploration crew.

Leak Off:

This is a type of test conduted to determine formation intergrity, it is however different from formation intergrity test in the sense that in leak of Test (LOT) the pressure is increased beyond the formation fracture pressure whereas in formation Intergrity Test the formation is not allowed to breakdown.


This is a method of well control

Braden head/Poor boy squeeze

This is a technique used during secondary casing and cementing operation.

Nipple up

this is the term used when stacking up blowout preventers

I know there are other petroleum engineering terms which am yet to add,now I hand the key board over to you, remind us the missing term in the comment section below, thanks for reading and keep supporting us.

About the Author

Ucheson energy and Tech-A body of energy-tech enthusiasts

4 Comments on "list and Meaning of 34 Awkward Terms in Petroleum Engineering"

  1. Pinne Emmanuel | July 26, 2020 at 5:31 am | Reply

    Awesome my engineer

  2. Insightful

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.