Petroleum - Santiago High School

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Petroleum

Petroleum

(
L.

petroleum
, from

Greek
:

petra

(rock) +

Latin
:

oleum

(oil)
[1]
) or

crude oil

is a naturally occurring,

flammable

liquid consisting of
a complex mixture of

hydrocarbons

of various molecular weights and other liquid

organic compounds
, that are found in

geologic
formations

beneath the

Earth's

surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through

oil drilling
.

It is refined and separated, most easily b
y

boiling
point
, into a large number of consumer products, from

gasoline

and

kerosene

to

asphalt

and chemical

reagents

used to
make

plastics
and

pharmaceuticals
.
[4]

Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials


A lot of Uses

The alkanes from

pentane

(C
5
H
12
) to

octane

(C
8
H
18
) are

refined

into

petrol
, the ones from

nonane

(C
9
H
20
) to

hexadecane

(C
16
H
34
) into

diesel
fuel
,

kerosene

and

jet fuel
). Alkanes with more than 16 carbon atoms can be refined into

fuel oil

and

lubricating oil
. At the heavier end of the
range,

paraffin wax

is an alkane with approximately 25 carbon atoms, while

asphalt

has 35 and up, although these are usually

cracked

by
modern refineries into more valuable products. The shortest molecules, those with four or fewer ca
rbon atoms, are in a gaseous state at
room temperature. They are the petroleum gases. Depending on demand and the cost of recovery, these gases are either flared o
ff, sold as
liquified petroleum gas under pressure, or used to power the refinery's own burne
rs.

Propane can be liquified under modest pressure, and is
consumed for just about every application relying on petroleum for energy, from cooking to heating to transportation.


Since the 1940s, agricultural productivity has increased dramatically, due lar
gely to the increased use of energy
-
intensive

mechanization
,

fertilizers

and

pestici
des
. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilizers are made from oil.


Here are some of the ways petroleum is used in our every day lives. All plastic is made from petroleum and plastic is used al
most
everywhere, in cars, houses, toys, computers and clothing
. Asphalt used in road construction is a petroleum product as is the synthetic
rubber in the tires. Paraffin wax comes from petroleum, as do fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, phonograph rec
ords,
photographic film, furniture, packaging materi
als, surfboards, paints and artificial fibers used in clothing, upholstery, and carpet backing.
Helium, sulfur and other valuable materials are produced from oil wells along with petroleum itself. Petroleum is used princi
pally as a source
of fuel and lubri
cating oils. Only when these supplies are restricted or threatened does the average person begin to realize their importance.


Where does it come from?

Petroleum is a

fossil fuel

derived from ancien
t

fossilized

organic materials
, such as

zooplankton

and

algae
.
[19]

Vast quantities of these
remains settled to a sea or lake bottoms, mixing with sediments and being buried under

oxygen
-
free
conditions
.


The petroleum industry is involved in the global processes of

exploration
,

extraction
,

refining
,

transporting

(often with

oil
tanker
s

and

pipelines
), and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are

fuel oil

and

petrol

. Petroleum is
also the raw material for many

chemical products
, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics.


Petroleum is vit
al to many

industries
, and is of importance to the maintenance of industrialized

civilization

itself, and thus is critical concern
to many n
ations. Oil accounts for a large percentage of the world's energy consumption, ranging from a low of 32% for

Europe

and Asia, up
to a high of 53% for the

Middle East
. Other geographic regions' consumption patterns are as follows: South and

Central
America

(44%),

Africa

(41%), and

North America

(40%). The world at large consumes 30 billion

barrels

(4.8

km³) of oil per year, and the top
oil consumers largely consist of d
eveloped nations. In fact, 24% of the oil consumed in 2004 went to the

United States

alone,
[27]

though by
2007 this had dr
opped to 21% of world oil consumed.
[28]

In the US, in the states of

Arizona
,

California
,

Hawaii
,

Nevada
,

Oregon

and

Washington
, the

Western States Petroleum Association

(WSPA)
represents companies responsible for producing, distributing, refining, transporting and market
ing petroleum. This non
-
profit trade
association was founded in 1907, and is the oldest petroleum trade association in the United States.
[29]

The top three oil producing countries ar
e Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States. About 80% of the world's readily accessible reserves
are located in the Middle East, with 62.5% coming from the five Arab countries: Saudi Arabia (12.5%), U.A.E., Iraq, Qatar and

Kuwait.
Millions of people aro
und the world are employed to find or produce petroleum, ship and refine it and manufacture and market the many

oils
and waxes

made from it.

Although there are many alternatives to

petroleum fuels
, an analysis of costs and benefits shows that petroleum is superior in most every
area. Hydrogen, ethanol, hybrid, and biomass technologies are promising for automobiles and ma
y soon increase efficiency and reduce
emissions; but many of these technologies have not yet proven sufficiently profitable to providers or attractive to consumers
. Petroleum
retains a key advantage because the price of oil remains low compared to forms of

energy with lower environmental impacts, like wind and
solar power. Unlike hydrogen or even natural gas, oil is easily transportable and there is a vast infrastructure in place to
support its use.


Environmental Effects

Global warming

When burned, petrole
um releases carbon dioxide; a

greenhouse gas
. Along with the burning of coal, petroleum combustion is the largest
contributor to the increase in atmospheric CO
2
. Atmospheric CO
2

has risen steadil
y since the

industrial revolution
, driving

.
global warming
.

Extraction

Oil extraction is simply the removal of oil from the reservoir (oil pool). Oil extraction is costly and sometimes env
ironmentally damaging
.
Offshore exploration and extraction of oil disturbs the surrounding marine environment.
[49]

Oil spills

Crude oil and refined fuel

spills

from

tanker ship

accidents have damaged natural

ecosystems

in

Alaska
, the

Gulf of Mexico
, the

Galapagos
Islands
,

France

and many

other places
.

The quantity of oil spilled during accidents has ranged from a few hundred tons to several hundred thousand tons (e.g.,

D
eepwater Horizon
Oil Spill
,

Atlantic Empress
,

Amoco Cadiz
). Smaller spills have already proven to have a great impact on ecosystems, s
uch as the

Exxon
Valdez oil spill

Oil spills at sea are generally much more damaging than those on land, since they can spread for hundreds of

nautical miles

in a thin

oil
slick

which can cover

beaches

with a thin coating of oil. This can kill sea birds, mammals, shellfish a
nd other organisms it coats.


Whales

The

use

of petroleum
-
refined kerosene saved some species of great whales from

extinction

by providing an inexpensive substitute for whale
oil, thus eliminating t
he economic imperative for open
-
boat

whaling
.
[57]


Supporters

Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA)

Our industry provides
plentiful, reliable and affordable energy and transportation fuels for businesses and consumers in the western United
States.


Chevron

For more than 130 years, Chevron has developed some of the world's most complex crude oil fields. We have a strong positi
on in nearly all
of the world's key basins, and our extensive project portfolio provides the foundation for future growth.

Exxon Mobil

ExxonMobil uses innovation and technology to deliver energy and petrochemical products to meet the world’s growing demand
.



Opposition

Environmentalists

EndForeignOilDependence.com


Petroleum in the USA: Offshore Drilling

On March 31st, Barack Obama announced a plan to open significant portions of the Eastern seaboard and the western coast of
Florida to offshore oil drillin
g. This ended two major federal bans that have prevented offshore energy exploration and drilling in
the United States.




An Executive Moratorium signe
d in 1990 and a Congressional Moratorium that requires annual renewal. With oil prices at
relatively high levels, global crude supplies set to dwindle over time, and accompanying economic difficulties in the United
States
and elsewhere, many began to call
for lifting the offshore drilling ban. Polls show that most Americans favor it. President Bush
tried to lift the Executive Moratorium on July 14th, 2008. Yet, Congress would not pass key legislation to enable the action.

Under
President Barack Obama, the p
rospects of Congress approving lifting the moratorium seemed more likely, and the debate has
continued apace.


Support

A com
prehensive US energy plan must include offshore drilling

"An Outdated Ban". Washington Post. 28 June 2006

-

"The
United Statesis suffering a major energy

crisis right now, and we should be drilling in as many places as we can manage. Offshore
drilling may be a short
-
term solution to a long
-
term energy problem, but if countries like China can already drill and drain our
nearby coastal regions of oil and gas

deposits, there's no reason why we shouldn't save ourselves a few bucks at the gas pump
until alternative energy sources are further developed."

Offshore drilling has a very strong environmental record

Offshore oil helps
stop

spikes in oil prices


Opposition

Offshore drilling only adds more C02 to atmosphere

"Why explore for oil?" The Economist. April 2nd, 2010
: "The
fundamental problem is this: there is a finite amount of fossil fuel. The more of it we find and burn, the more carbon we put

into
the atmosphere, and the more severe the greenhouse effect b
ecomes. Once the carbon is in the atmosphere, it stays there. If we
want to limit climate change, what we have to do, one way or another, is to leave fuels in the ground wherever possible, not
find
and burn them."

There is not enough US offshore oil to make a difference

US offshore drilling would hardly lower global oil prices

Offshore oil involves leaks, spills, environmental

damage


"offshore operators continue to spill thousands of barrels of oil,
fuel and chemicals into federal waters each year, government records show.