How to Learn English for Oil and Gas Fast: Top Self-study Resources and 35 Key Terms

Can you guess the second most-traded product in the world?

You probably have a good idea if you work in the oil and gas industry.

It is refined petroleum—which includes gasoline for our cars and other oils.

Oil and gas is a $2 trillion industry that spans the globe.

If you work in this industry or are planning to, knowing English for oil and gas can help your career go far.

In this article we will show you some of the best self-study tools to start learning English for oil and gas, as well as online and in-person business English courses.

We have also provided a handy glossary of 35 essential English for oil and gas vocabulary words or phrases you should know.

How to Study English for Oil and Gas at Your Own Pace

There are plenty of resources online and in-person to help you study English for oil and gas independently. Here are some of most useful resources available.

English Books for Oil and Gas Professionals

“English for the Oil Industry (Level 1)” and “English for Oil and Gas (Level 2)”

Eng for Oil L1 CBK/CD-Rom Pk (Vocational English)

These books are specially designed by people in the oil and gas industry for English language learners. You will need to have a basic understanding of general English in order to use these books.

The books provide relevant information on the industry and cover vocabulary and phrases you will need in order to succeed in gas and oil communication in English.

“Oil and Gas”

Oil and Gas 1 Student Book 1 (Oxford English for Careers)

This book is ideal if you are at the elementary level in English. The book focuses on language and skills you will need in order to build a career in the oil and gas field.

“English for Petroleum” PDF Workbook

You can access this book as a PDF for free online. It includes relevant vocabulary and phrases for the oil and gas industry. It also provides explanations of grammar, practical readings and exercises so that you can easily practice what you learn.

Courses on English for Oil and Gas



The best way to learn any type of English is by listening to native speakers. FluentU puts you right in the room with English-speaking industry professionals, and helps you understand and learn from what they are saying.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Voxy English for Oil and Gas


This course includes 12 units with 45 hours of content and covers everything from tools and equipment used in the industry to safety and emergency procedures. You will also get three assessments to test your skills as you go.

You will need to have an intermediate general English level to get started.

Linguarama’s Energy, Oil and Gas Courses


If you live in or near England, or fancy a trip to the British Isles, Linguarama may be a great choice for you. Linguarama offers in-person courses on English for the energy, oil and gas industries.

The course is five days long and includes information on current events in the oil and gas field, technical issues and health topics.

Executive Training Institute Malta


Another physical school option is the Executive Training Institute in Malta. This English training school offers a course on English for the energy, oil and gas industries.

In this course, you will learn relevant vocabulary for the field, practice technical writing and work on your presentation skills. After this course, you can be confident in your ability to navigate all areas of the gas and oil business.

The Language Gallery’s English for the Oil and Gas Industries Courses


The Language Gallery provides a course in English for oil and gas at all their locations in Europe and Canada. The course includes language related to the equipment, work responsibilities and the sales and marketing of gas and oil. The course can be adapted for students from an intermediate to advanced English level.

English for Oil and Gas: 35 Essential Terms for On and Off the Rig

These are some of the more common and basic terms you may need to know. Excellent, in-depth lists for further studying include:

General English Oil and Gas Terms


The act of searching for oil and gas beneath the earth’s surface by specially trained professionals.

They started exploration of the area on Monday. By Friday, they had found several gas and oil deposits.


Geophysics is the branch of science concerned with the study of the earth’s properties and processes.

A geophysicist is someone who studies geophysics. They can provide vital data for the exploration process.

Andy studied geophysics at college and now works for one of the biggest gas and oil companies in the world.


Geochemistry is the branch of science that uses chemistry to understand and explain why the world is the way it is. Geochemists, people who work in the field of geochemistry, investigate the chemistry of everything from our oceans and rocks to the chemical make-up of other planets.

Alice studied geochemistry at university. Her research focused on the chemical properties of natural gas and its different uses.

Reservoir Rock

The reservoir rock is the rock in which petroleum and natural gas are contained.

They estimated hundreds of liters of oil and gas were trapped within the reservoir rock.

Source Rock

Hydrocarbons originate in the source rock. The source rock is where petroleum is formed. There are different types of source rocks.

The geologist found several promising source rocks.


In the oil and gas industry, migration is the movement of hydrocarbons from the source rock to the reservoir rock.

The migration process took longer than expected because the distance between the source rock and reservoir rock was quite big.


Hydrocarbons are a natural compound of the chemical elements hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons are a main ingredient in crude oil and natural gas.

Once natural gas and crude oil are found, we will begin the process of migration and refining the hydrocarbons into useable gas and oil.


Permeability refers to the ability or quality of rocks and stones to let liquids pass through them. If a rock is highly permeable, it can easily let liquid pass through it. If it is not permeable, liquids cannot easily pass through the rock, if at all.

Due to the high level of permeability, the migration process has been going very quickly.


Related to permeability, porosity refers to the small holes in the rock that hold natural gas and crude oil.

The geologist noted that the porosity of the rock was 10% and the manager decided that was enough. They began to drill the well.


A field refers to a large, uninterrupted area of reservoir rock from which commercially valuable natural gas and crude oil can be collected.

We expect to make millions of dollars from the field we just started drilling.

Concession (Lease Agreement)

A concession is an agreement contract between a gas company and the owner of the land that the company wishes to explore for source and reservoir rock.

The government granted the gas company a concession, but the local people were angry and began to protest. They did not want the forest around their town to be destroyed.

Oil Window

The oil window is the term used to describe the temperature range at which oil is formed and extracted from the source rock.

Finally the source rock reached the oil window and the oil began to form.

Gas Window

The gas window is the term used to describe the temperature range at which gas is formed.

They measured the gas window to be at 150 degrees celsius.

Tools, Equipment and Structures

Oil Rig

A large structure on land or over water that drills into the earth to access oil.

Safety is very important on an oil rig, due to the danger of fire or explosion.

Oil Well

An oil well is a hole that is drilled into the earth in order to access the petroleum oil hydrocarbons under the earth’s surface.

There are three oil wells on my property and we will drill another two next year.

Wellhead/Christmas Tree

On top of the oil well, there is a lot of machinery that is used to access the oil. This equipment is referred to as the “wellhead” or “Christmas Tree.”

Over there you can see the three wellheads that mark the wells. 

Exploration Well

An exploration well is an oil well that is dug in order to see if there is any oil in that area.

He did not know if there was any oil on his land, but he asked them to drill an exploration well to find out.


A pipe that carries oil or gas from one place to another over long distances.

A long pipeline from Canada to the U.S. to carries gas and oil from one country to the other.


Oil is stored in barrels. In the U.S., oil is measured in barrels. One barrel is equal to 42 U.S. gallons (about 159 liters).

The company was selling 350 barrels at $52 per barrel.

Drilling Fluid

Drilling fluid is the mixture of water, chemicals and clay used to help form the well. It cools the drill and seals the walls of the well so they do not collapse in on the well.

Some people ask if drilling fluid is necessary because it can poison surrounding water sources.


The borehole is the name given to the narrow hole drilled into the ground by the drill.

The borehole reached thousands of feet below the earth’s surface.


The refinery is where crude oil is processed for regular use. Refining is the process of making crude oil into what we use in our cars and planes, for example.

After the crude oil is collected at the oil well, the company sends it to the refinery in the next town.


Distillation is the first step in refining crude oil. It separates the crude oil into different parts that will be used for different final products.

After the distillation process, we will begin to refine the various components into their final products.

Fluid Catalytic Cracking

A chemical process that takes place in the refinery to make gasoline and other fuels. It generally requires a “catalyst” to break large molecules into smaller molecules.

They added the catalyst to and started the fluid catalytic cracking process.


This is the process of transforming natural gas into liquid gas so that it can be transported more easily.

Once the compression process is complete, we will send the gas through the pipeline.

Dry Well/Dry Hole

A dry well or dry hole is a well that has been drilled but does not have significant amounts of usable oil or gas.

The new well proved to be a dry well.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of breaking up rocks under the surface of the earth to release more oil and gas for collection and refinement.

They started hydraulic fracturing but soon stopped because it was very loud and some people were worried about contaminating the nearby lake.


This is the name for the structure and scaffolding over an oil well.

The workmen stood on the derrick in order to get a better view of the drill.

Types of Gas and Oil


A type of heavy fuel used in some cars and trucks and anything with a diesel engine.

My truck uses diesel fuel, not gasoline.


A type of light fuel commonly found in jet engines and heating equipment.

They used a kerosene lamp during their camping trip.

Natural Gas

This is flammable gas that exits under the earth’s surface. It is made up of hydrocarbons and methane among other things. It can be used to create fuel.

The smell of methane told him they had found a deposit of natural gas.


Petroleum is the mixture of hydrocarbons that can be further refined to create things such as gasoline, diesel fuel and common oil.

They sent the petroleum to the nearest refinery.

Crude Oil

This is the oil that exists under the earth’s surface. It is unrefined petroleum. It must be extracted and refined before it can be used.

The exploration well revealed a large amount of crude oil.

Job Titles


A derrickman (or derrickhand) works at the top of the derrick or drill. They operate the derrick.

The derrickman climbed to the top of the derrick and got ready to drill.


The landman is the person in the oil or gas company who secures the leases for the land on which the company will drill.

They sent a landman to speak with the mayor of the town in order to get a lease for the new oil well.


With these English for oil and gas resources and terms, you are well equipped for life in the international energy industry. And if general construction is more your thing, check out this post on English vocabulary for construction workers

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