Crude Oil Chemistry (No Series)


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Peak oil is the point when the oil industry is extracting the maximum possible amount of petroleum. After peak oil, petroleum production will only decrease. After peak oil, there will be a decline in production and a rise in costs for the remaining supply. Measuring peak oil uses the reserves-to-production ratio RPR.

This ratio compares the amount of proven oil reserves to the current extraction rate.


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The reserves-to-production ratio is expressed in years. The RPR is different for every oil rig and every oil-producing area. Oil-producing regions that are also major consumers of oil have a lower RPR than oil producers with low levels of consumption. The oil-rich, developing nation of Iran, which has a much lower consumption rate, has an RPR of more than 80 years.

It is impossible to know the precise year for peak oil. Some geologists argue it has already passed, while others maintain that extraction technology will delay peak oil for decades. Many geologists estimate that peak oil might be reached within 20 years. Alternatives to oil are being developed in some areas, and governments and organizations are encouraging citizens to change their habits so we do not rely so heavily on oil.


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Bioasphalts, for example, are asphalts made from renewable sources such as molasses, sugar, corn, potato starch, or even byproducts of oil processes. Although they provide a non-toxic alternative to bitumen, bioasphalts require huge crop yields, which puts a strain on the agricultural industry. Algae is also a potentially enormous source of energy. Algae grows extremely quickly and takes up a fraction of the space used by other biofuel feedstocks.

About 38, square kilometers 15, square miles of algae—less than half the size of the U. Algae absorbs pollution, releases oxygen, and does not require freshwater. The country of Sweden has made it a priority to drastically reduce its dependence on oil and other fossil fuel energy by The pits have preserved fossils of saber-toothed cats, mastodons, turtles, dire wolves, horses, and other plants and animals that were trapped in the sticky substance 40, years ago.

Bitumen continues to bubble up through the ground today. A petroleum play is a group of oil fields in a single geographic region, created by the same geologic forces or during the same time period. A petroleum play may be defined by a time period Paleozoic play , rock type shale play , or a combination of both. Saudi Arabia 2. Venezuela 3.

Canada 4. Iran 5. Iraq Source: U. Energy Information Administration. Leading Petroleum Producers 1. Russia 3. United States 4. China Source: U. Leading Petroleum Consumers 1. United States 2. China 3. Japan 4. India 5. Also called a fractionating column. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

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Abbreviated bbl. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Peat can be dried and burned as fuel. Also called an oil reservoir. Also called an electrical grid. Also called a nodding donkey, thirsty bird, rocking horse, or grasshopper pump. The ratio is the amount of proven reserves to the current extraction rate, expressed in years.

Also called reflection seismology. Also called oil sands. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Elizabeth Morse Andrew Turgeon. Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society. Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing. Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society.

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For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection natgeo. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please visit our FAQ page. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer.

If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives. Economies are often molded by the location and cultures of which they are apart.

This explains why distinct regional economies develop to serve the unique needs of people. Use these resources to teach students about the regional economies found throughout the world. Another common way that fossils are dated, is through radiocarbon dating. Use these resources to teach middle schoolers more about the fossil record and radiocarbon dating. However, over time, there has been a shift in demand for cheaper and cleaner fuel options, such as the nonrenewable energy source of natural gas, and renewable options like solar power and wind energy. Each energy resource has its advantages and disadvantages.

Explore nonrenewable and renewable options with this collection on energy resources. Different regions have access to different renewable or nonrenewable natural resources such as freshwater, fossil fuels, fertile soil, or timber based on their geographic location and past geologic processes. For example, the Great Plains region of the United States is known for its abundance of fertile soil. As a result, its main industry is agriculture.

Corn, soybeans, and wheat are globally exported from this region and serve as the main economy. On the other side of the spectrum, the desert southwestern region of the United States depends on the Central Arizona Project canals to transport water from the Colorado River in order to support agriculture and urban areas. Use these materials to explore the interconnected nature of resources and their distribution. The Industrial Revolution was the transition from creating goods by hand to using machines.

Its start and end are widely debated by scholars, but the period generally spanned from about to According to some, this turning point in history is responsible for an increase in population, an increase in the standard of living, and the emergence of the capitalist economy. Teach your students about the Industrial Revolution with these resources. Individuals, communities, and countries depend on a variety of different resources to help them thrive: electricity, timber, oil, water, and food to name a few. Because these basic resources are such a large part of our daily lives, it is important that we manage them responsibly to ensure future generations have what they need.

Human civilization heavily impacts the environment and the rich natural resources we depend on.

What is Crude Oil?

All communities face the challenge of managing resources responsibly, not only for themselves, but for the sake of the world around them. Learn more about how individuals and communities can manage their resources to support themselves and the world around them. Skip to content Donate Account. Encyclopedic Entry Vocabulary. Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea. Photograph by Rebecca Hale. API gravity.

Crude oil characterization

Also called horizontal drilling. Also called wildcatting. Fossil fuels formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals. Industrial Revolution. Also called crude oil. Also called substratum. Also called boreal forest. Media Credits The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. Hydrocarbons can take on many different forms.

The smallest hydrocarbon is methane CH 4 , which is a gas that is a lighter than air. Longer chains with 5 or more carbons are liquids.

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Very long chains are solids like wax or tar. By chemically cross-linking hydrocarbon chains you can get everything from synthetic rubber to nylon to the plastic in tupperware. The alkanes in each fraction have similar but not identical :. For example, the gases fraction contains hydrocarbons with one to four carbon atoms. These have boiling points below room temperature.

How Crude Oil Affects Gas Prices

They are very flammable easily set on fire and have a low viscosity because they are gases. The hydrocarbons in different fractions differ in these properties. For example, the bitumen fraction contains hydrocarbons with more than 35 carbon atoms.

Crude Oil Chemistry (No Series) Crude Oil Chemistry (No Series)
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