Past Verb Tenses

This is Lesson 2 of a three-part series on verb tenses.
Today we will examine past tenses.

1) Simple Past – We drilled eight wells in the field last week.
This is used to describe an individual action or a series of actions completed in the past.

The Passive form of this tense is used often in the oil industry.
Example: Eight wells were drilled in the field last week.

2) Past Continuous – We were drilling wells there before Arab Spring began.
This tense is used to express an action that was interrupted or parallel actions happening simultaneously in the past. It is also used to set the scene (People were talking loudly.)
It is made up of was/were plus the present participle (–ing).

3) Past Perfect – We had drilled 1,578 ft before we lost circulation.
This tense is used to express an action that was completed before something in the past.
It is made up of had plus the past participle (–ed).

The Passive form of the Past Perfect tense, which is also used often in the oil patch, is made up of had plus been plus the past participle (–ed).
Example: The well had been drilled 1,578 ft before we lost circulation.

4) Past Perfect Continuous – We had been drilling 25 wells per week before Arab Spring began. This tense expresses something that started in the past and continued until another time in the past. It is also used to show cause and effect. (He was sweating because he had been jogging in the heat and humidity.) It is made up of had plus been plus the present participle (–ing).

Be careful when choosing between Simple Past and Present Perfect.
The well produced 700 bpd last week. (Simple Past,correct)
The well has produced 700 bpd last week. (Present Perfect, incorrect, this tense describes something that happened at an unspecified time in the past, and this is a specific time.)
The well has produced 700 bpd before. (Present Perfect, correct, unspecified time)

Also, be careful when choosing between Past Continuous and Past Perfect Continuous, as it can change the meaning of the sentence.
Examples:
She was angry because he was ignoring her. (Past Continuous)
(She was angry yesterday while she was being ignored yesterday.)
She was angry because he had been ignoring her. (Past Perfect Continuous)
(She was angry yesterday because he had been ignoring her for weeks prior to that.)

Bad Example:
The new drilled well has been completed and brought on production.
First, it should be “newly drilled” well, as an adverb is needed here.
Second, “has been completed” should be Simple Past Passive tense, because it is an action completed in the past.
Corrected Example:
The newly drilled well was completed and brought on production.

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