Petroleum Essay, Research Paper
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear petroleum? It’s probably a big factory or cars or maybe a type of fuel. But petroleum is not only a source of energy but also many products we find in the store. Things from drip- dry fabrics to engine greases to cosmetics. There are thousands of different products from petroleum, but the main use of petroleum is fuel.
Petroleum is the most valuable natural resource in the world. I support this opinion with facts such as… fuels made from petroleum propel automobiles, airplanes, factories, farm equipment, trucks, trains, ships, and much more. Petroleum also generates electricity for many houses and business places. So I think it is appropriate to say that without petroleum we wouldn?t be where we are today economy wise.
Let?s take a look at petroleum (which most people refer to as oil) and what better place to start than the beginning? Most geologists believe petroleum was formed from remains of organisms that died millions of years ago. This is called the organic theory. This theory states that millions of years ago tiny plants and animals lived in shallow water and along coasts, kind of like they do today. As these plants and animals died there remains settled on the muddy lake and ocean bottoms. Bacteria caused them to decay. Then layers of sediments covered them up and got heavier and pressed them into hard layers of sedimentary rock. While this was going on, bacteria, heat, pressure, and maybe other forces that change the plant and animal remains into oil and natural gas, but no one really knows for sure. I think no one will ever know.
Most crude oil lies in traps. Traps are underground arch like formations where under it oil can collect. Once there, petroleum can seep into the pores of many kinds of rocks. That is called an oil shale. This oil shale is usually above the oil traps. Shale does not contain oil but rather contains solid material called kerogen. Once the layer of oil shale is dug up it can be crushed and heated at a temperature of about 900 degrees F.. At this temperature kerogen molecules split to form molecules of “shale oil”. It may provide an important source of oil when economical production methods are developed. Oil shale is found in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Here are some petroleum terms that will help you to understand the rest of this paper. A barrel is the standard unit used to measure crude oil and most petroleum products. A barrel equals 42 gallons in the United States or 35 gallons in Canadian gallons. Bringing in a well, means to reach oil and start a well flowing. Derrick is a steel tower that holds the equipment used to drill an oil well. A dry hole is a well that fails to produce oil and gas in commercial quantities. I think that this may cause the ground above it to sink if there are huge building put on top of the dry well. Exploratory wells are drilled to find commercial deposits of oil or gas. Gushers are wildly flowing wells. They occur as the result of accidents called blow outs. A horizon is an underground rock formation, usually one that contains oil or natural gas. Lease is an agreement by which an operator pays a land owner rent for oil for exclusive right to drill for and produce oil on his property. Oil pool is an underground reservoir or trap containing oil. An oil trap is a nonporous rock formation that contains oil pools. Royalty is money paid to the land owner for oil produced on his land. Oil companies usually pay 1/8 the amount of each barrel sold for. I think the company should just buy the property. Proration is a system of state that regulates and controls the amount of oil that can be taken daily from wells or fields. Such conservation laws prevent waste of oil. Probably without these laws prices on oil products would be a lot more higher than they are today. A roughneck is a general worker on a drilling rig. A wildcat well is a well drilled in an area where there is no production. This must waste a lot of money.
Oil fields are the starting points of petroleum?s long journey, from deep in the earth to homes, farms, factories, and service stations. Only certain types of underground rock formations trap oil. These rock formations may be found in many parts of the world, under different conditions of land an climate. Men pump oil from the ground under farm land, prairies, jungles, swamps, marshes, mountains, and ocean floors.
First the people come in and drill one or two derricks. This is done to search for the oil. If a well brings in oil, drillers move in with more heavy equipment to make more wells. A peaceful countryside can quickly change into a major industrial site.
Oil continues to flow from the wells but a quiet settles over the fields. In some fields, clusters of valves and pipes mark the wells. In other fields “walking” beams move up and down as they pump petroleum from the earth and it flows silently into storage tanks nearby. Later, the oil is pumped through pipe lines to storage tanks either at a refinery or at a terminal from which the oil will be shipped by boat to a refinery. This would have been hard along time ago.
An oil refinery turns crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel, lubricating oil, and other useful products. This industrial plant resembles a giant chemical laboratory. Tall steel towers look like huge test tubes.
After crude oil comes to a refinery it is stored in tanks until pumps force it through the plant and through the many kinds of equipment that change it into useful products. Refinery workers rarely see or handle directly, the petroleum in this continuous flow process. They constantly check the dials and gauges of large control panels. These panels show the pressure, temperature, and rate of flow of the petroleum in every step of each manufacturing process. Chemists take samples to test the quality of the product.
Once the petroleum is in the refinery they make products such as? gasoline is the chief product of petroleum, automobiles, busses, trucks, and tractors use the gasoline in the United States. Motor vehicles use over 85,000,000,000 gallons of gasoline each year. Wow, that?s a lot of oil! Airplanes excluding jets use about 1,000,000,000 gallons of aviation fuel each year.
Fuel oils rank second to gasoline in importance. They provide a major source of heating and power. They should start finding a substitute for these two oil products because they?ll be running out soon.
There are also lubricants, jet fuels, kerosene, asphalt and road oil, and other petroleum products. I think that without these products daily living would be difficult or even impossible.
Pipelines, railroad tank cars, trucks, barges, and large ships called tankers carry oil and oil products from producer to consumer quickly and economically. Pipelines carry more petroleum than do any other means of transportation. This is a good idea, because it saves money on fuel.
In the United States, crude oil and petroleum products move through a network of about 211,000 miles of pipeline. Canada has about 15,000 miles of pipeline. A pump about every 60 miles apart, keep the oil moving at a speed of 2 to 3 MPH. This is very fast compared to how much oil is welled in a day.
Tankers transport petroleum on the Great Lakes, along coasts, and across the oceans. Barges move petroleum on lakes, rivers, and canals. About a fourth of all the vessels on the inland waterways of the United States are oil barges. Huge railroad tank cars carry about 8,000 to 10,000 gallons of oil and trucks can carry from 500 to 12,000 gallons.
Here are some interesting facts about oil. Over 3,000,000,000 barrels of oil a year are produced in the United States alone and Asia is the prime supplier of petroleum. I think these sources are kind of old because the U.S. is not producing as much as it used to 20 years ago. The biggest user of oil in the world is the United States. The deepest oil well has a depth of 25,340 feet in Pecos County, Texas. The first modern oil tanker was the Glaukauf, built in England in 1886. The first petroleum company in the U.S. was the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company in New York, 1854. The first petroleum pipeline in the U.S. was five miles long in Titusville, Pa.. Oil derricks have developed from wooden 40 feet tall structures to 200 feet high giants.
First the oil is located using special equipment. Then drillers come and drill one or two wells. If a well brings oil, then the land is covered with trucks and equipment in a matter of days. And they drill more wells and pump the oil from the fields to the refinery. There the oil is turned into useful products for every day living. Next it is transported to the distributors where they transport the oil product to the consumer. There it is converted into energy. But actually the service stations and transportation utilities put the oil into cars and trucks and that is where it truly is converted to energy. Without petroleum I wouldn?t be able to write this report. I wouldn?t have the ink to write or type with, or the “Wite-out” to cover up my mistakes. Or the heat for a place to write or the light I used or the computer I used to type on. Shoot!