Our articles are always informative and of a more entertaining nature. For example, the history of piracy, the Scandinavian gods, and others. In the same article, we will touch upon a more serious, but no less interesting topic. Oil and gas industry.
The role of oil and gas in the modern economy can hardly be overestimated.
Oil and natural gas are among the most important energy resources. They have played a leading role in the global energy sector since the 1960s.
In countries like Germany, UK, petroleum and natural gas account for 55-60% of the total consumption of energy resources and in the US and Japan it accounts for 75-80%.
Our world is ruled by oil. People have been using oil for thousands of years, but it was not until the twentieth century that its use took on such gigantic proportions.
So in the United States, the daily consumption of oil from 1900 to 2000 rose from several tens of thousands of barrels to over 20 million barrels.
That’s over 870 million gallons (3.3 billion liters) per day. Oil is our most important source of energy, fueling the entire transportation system; in doing so, natural gas is used to generate electricity, which is essential for modern day-to-day life. Oil and natural gas are the raw materials from which critical materials are made, including most plastics.
The advantages of oil and gas
The advantages of oil and gas as energy sources include the relatively low cost of production, the possibility of waste-free processing to obtain a variety of fuels and chemical raw materials. However, oil and gas reserves are limited. They are much smaller than the reserves of coal, oil shale and tar sands. At the same time, the production of oil and gas significantly exceeds the production of other fossil fuels.
The high consumption of oil in the world serves as the basis for the assumption of several scientists and experts about the inevitability of the imminent depletion of oil reserves. The most common point of view is the depletion of world oil reserves by the end of the 21st century.
Under the conditions in which oil has become the main energy resource, its economic and political importance in the world has increased. The availability of their oil resources and the ability to organize the export of oil and oil products allow various states to achieve significant achievements in economic and social development. At the same time, the fluctuations in the world oil price and the situation on the oil market lead to serious changes in the economic policy of both oil-producing countries and states whose industries are based on imported oil.
The origin of oil
How did the oil fields form? Surprisingly, scientists still do not have a consensus on this matter. Theories of the origin of most other minerals – coal, metal ores, diamonds – have long been established. The origin of oil is still controversial and adherents of two different theories – biogenic and abiogenic.
The biogenic theory, currently recognized by most experts, is based on the fact that oil was formed from the remains of ancient organisms that previously inhabited the planet. Most likely these were not dinosaurs, which are usually depicted in popular pictures about the origin of oil, but simpler creatures like algae and zooplankton. Sinking to the bottom of the seas and oceans, they formed rocks saturated with kerogen.
Kerogen is a mixture of high molecular weight combustible organic substances. Once at depths of 2100-5400 m, kerogen gradually turned into oil, gas condensate and natural gas. The depths at which suitable conditions exist for the emergence of oil are called the “oil window”. In the upper part of the “window” the temperature is not high enough for the complete conversion of kerogen and the oil turns out to be heavy. At higher temperatures, this process takes place with the formation of light oil and condensate. Below the “oil window” the temperature of the reservoirs rises so much that kerogen molecules are split into the simplest hydrocarbons – natural gas is formed. Since oil is less dense than the surrounding rocks, it can only migrate upward. This means that oil fields can be located above the “window” or within its limits. Indeed, practice confirms that oil does not occur deeper than 5400 m, except in isolated cases. The deposits found near this boundary have a significant condensate content and are saturated with gas, which also fits well with this theory.
The origin of gas
Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons, which is something ephemeral, something that cannot be touched, seen and odorless. Natural gas is based on methane (CH4) – the simplest hydrocarbon (an organic compound consisting of carbon and hydrogen atoms). It usually also contains heavier hydrocarbons, homologues of methane: ethane (C2H6), propane (C3H8), butane (C4H10), and some non-hydrocarbon impurities.
Scientists still cannot come to a consensus regarding the origin of natural gas, and their dispute fell into two camps, trying to prove the origin of gas, they proposed two main theories.
According to this theory, all the chemical elements that make up natural gas and oil are initially embedded in the Earth’s mantle, representing mineral deposits. being deep in rock strata is part of the Earth’s degassing process. Due to the internal movements of the Earth, hydrocarbons located at great depths rise closer to the surface, where the least pressure is formed, thus, as a result, oil and gas deposits appear.
The adherents of this theory believe that natural gas was formed from the remains of plant and animal organisms that died out at the end of the Paleozoic era, which, under the action of bacteria, high pressure, and temperature, turned into a mixture of gaseous carbon. It was biochemical processes that provided the chemical cocktail of natural gas: 80-98% methane, 2-3% of its closest homologs – ethane, propane, butane, pentane, as well as a small number of impurities – hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen.
Most people who are far from the gas industry imagine that the gas under the ground is similar to valuable minerals, occupies some voids in the bowels of the earth, and is easily fully extracted. But this is not entirely true. Natural gas is indeed located deep underground, inside rocks with a porous structure, but the pores are so microscopic that it is almost impossible to see them with the naked eye. Therefore, picking up a small piece of sandstone extracted from the bowels of the earth, it is difficult to realize that there is a natural gas inside.
Determining a suitable drilling site is just the first step in the oil production process. Before drilling, companies must ensure that they have all the required drilling permits and that the environmental impact will not exceed acceptable levels. It can take years. As soon as all permits have been obtained, drilling operations begin. In different cases, the procedure may differ, but the first stage is unchanged – it is necessary to drill in the place where the oil is found. Then a special string is inserted, which is cemented in the drilled hole to strengthen its walls. Then, small holes are shot in the string, opposite the productive formation, through which oil will flow, after which a set of control valves and shut-off valves, which is called wellhead Christmas tree, is installed on the surface of the well. Finally, acid or sand is sometimes pumped into the well to break through the last layer of the rock and allow oil to flow into the well.
Deep water drilling
From time to time, large deposits of oil are found deep under the ocean floor. For oil production, at a great distance from the coast, huge platforms are being built, which serve as the basis for drilling rigs, with their help, wells are drilled directly from the seabed. After primary processing on the platform, the oil is transported to shore by pipeline or placed in a separate floating storage facility where it is stored until it is transferred to a tanker. Offshore oil rigs are gigantic structures. Many of them are mounted on supports that are hundreds of meters high from the ocean floor. The Petronius Platform in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, is the world’s tallest freestanding structure, rising 610 meters from the bottom. The tower must be incredibly strong to withstand the gusts of stormy winds and the impact of huge waves.
The first offshore well was drilled in 1947 to a depth of 15 feet (4.5 m). Only 30 years ago, deepwater drilling was considered to be drilling to a depth of 500 feet (152 m). Today, deepwater wells are called wells up to 1,500 meters deep. Ultra-deepwater exploration drilling is now being conducted at depths exceeding 3,000 meters. Construction of a new oil and gas floating production platform costs billions of dollars and takes up to three years. Today, most exploration activities are carried out in remote, deep, and ultra-deepwater areas. The challenges that have been met and are yet to be addressed in the exploitation of deep-sea and ultra-deep-sea resources may be more challenging than space exploration.
To determine the location, different methods of geological exploration are used. Then, depending on the pressure, the depth of location and other factors, the depth of drilling is determined, the pipe is drawn. Methane is purified, it enters the main pipeline and transported to the desired location.
The process of gas extraction looks simple, but we must not forget how delicately precise the work of people and machines must be. The slightest mistake or negligence, both during production and during the operation of gas pipelines, can turn into a catastrophe with huge casualties: the flammability and explosiveness of this substance is well known. One small spark is enough to ignite a flame, which will be almost impossible to extinguish. Methane is odorless, leakage from the pipeline can only be seen on the instruments.
To obtain a usable product from oil, crude oil is refined in a refinery. These plants, after separating impurities from oil, produce gasoline and hundreds of other products – from aviation fuel to fuel oil for central heating systems. The oil refining procedure includes partial distillation and cracking. During partial distillation, oil is broken down into its constituent fractions, light or heavy oil. For this, the difference in densities and boiling points of these components are used. Cracking under the influence of temperature and pressure further breaks down the fractions into products such as gasoline. As a result of cracking, heavy, long-chain hydrocarbon molecules break down into shorter and lighter ones.
Demand and consumption
At present, the daily consumption of oil in the world is approximately 86 million barrels, which is equal to 150,000 liters per second. At the same time, energy consumption in the world is constantly growing due to economic development and population growth, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population will be concentrated in developing countries by 2030. At the same time, oil and gas production in the United States and Europe is gradually declining. Natural resources of oil and gas are mainly concentrated in developing countries. According to the forecasts of the International Energy Agency, due to the growth of energy consumption in the next 25 years, investments of $ 20 trillion will be required. US dollars, that is, US $ 3,000 for every person living today. More than half of this amount will be directed to the production and distribution of electricity. The challenge is to produce large volumes of clean and affordable energy resources necessary to support the life of the world community
The entire world relies on oil and gas as the main source of energy and, most likely, this situation will not change in the coming years. At the same time, the risk that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere will lead to global warming. Anxiety about climate change could lead to the introduction of restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, which will require changes in the energy industry, as well as in the system of energy consumption by private individuals and industrial companies. The methods used in the oil industry have changed a lot over the past 50 years. Implemented many control tools and innovative technologies designed to protect the environment from negative impacts. Since 1990, the US oil and gas industry has invested $ 148 billion in development ecotechnology. This amounts to about $ 504 for every US resident. The result is a reduction in human impact on the environment: less waste, cleaner, and safer technologies, and as a result, humankind is again getting closer to nature.
Over the past hundred years, oil consumption in the world has grown steadily.
Currently, the daily consumption of oil in the world is approximately 86 million barrels, which is equal to 150,000 liters per second. At the same time, energy consumption in the world is constantly growing
due to economic development and population growth, especially in developing countries. Estimated by 2030, developing countries will host over 80 percent of the world’s population.
At the same time, oil and gas production in the United States and Europe is gradually declining. Natural oil and gas resources are mainly concentrated in developing countries. According to forecasts International Energy Agency due to increased energy consumption in the next 25 years will require investments of $ 20 trillion. USD, i.e. USD 3,000 for each living today man. More than half of this amount will be spent on the production and distribution of electricity. The challenge is to produce large volumes of clean and affordable energy resources necessary to ensure the life of the world community.
According to experts, in the next 25 years, demand will increase by 60%.
Oil, natural gas, and bituminous coal will continue to be the main sources of energy, and renewable energy and technology development is required to meet the ever-increasing energy consumption.
In addition, problems cannot be ignored.
climate change. This means that it is necessary to rationalize energy consumption and promote energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is one of the least expensive and most affordable ways to generate energy. Each of us can help the planet by wisely using energy resources.
Worries about the world’s growing energy consumption and the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on climate change contributed the development of technologies for the production of alternative fuels. Gasoline possesses high specific energy content and is easy to process in conditions of room temperature and atmospheric pressure. That is why gasoline is up still constituted insurmountable competition with alternative types of transport fuel. Almost all major manufacturers of cars are engaged in the development of vehicles powered by alternative fuels, but most of these developments are still are in the experimental stage. Some alternative views of fuels have certain advantages in terms of environmental safety, but with, however, all of them cannot yet be called economically profitable. Perhaps it will not pass yet less than twenty years until new technologies are launched into mass production and become widely applied in daily life. An example is technology front-wheel drive and fuel injection. More efficient use of vehicle fuel will reduce the consumption of gasoline and, accordingly, oil. Today day one of the most interesting options for creating an alternative fuel is biomass resulting from crop transformation and plants as an energy source.
Oil and Gas before the discovery
Surprisingly, oil, which began to be produced industrially only in the middle of the 19th century, has accompanied humanity since ancient times.
Perhaps the myth of Prometheus, who brought the heavenly fire to people, arose thanks to the discovery of oil sources in the Caucasus – it was in the mountains of the Caucasus that the benefactor of mankind was punished.
If we turn to historical facts, it is worth going back 8 thousand years.
Approximately 6 thousand years BC, the Sumerians, who lived in the interfluve of the Tigris and Euphrates, met with an amazing substance that appeared not on the surface of the earth in the form of a viscous mass, similar to resin.
It was oil bitumen, which, in the absence of wood and stone, began to be effectively used for the construction of grandiose buildings.
Bitumen was added to a mixture of clay, sand and gravel, from which bricks were made.
They also strengthened the masonry, and the resulting walls turned out to be extremely strong.
Roads were covered with bitumen, the banks of artificial reservoirs were strengthened.
In addition, boats and utensils were coated with it, thus ensuring water resistance.
Rarer liquid oil was used for indoor lighting. Interestingly, oil was considered healing – the Sumerians tried to treat abscesses and joint pain with it.
The Egyptians found another amazing use for oil – they used it for embalming. According to Herodotus, bitumen was widely used in the construction of the walls and towers of Babylon. He also describes the ancient method of extracting oil from the “famous well” located not far from Arderikki – a village near the Euphrates, where the estate of the Persian king Darius was located.
They also knew oil in Ancient India. In the ruins of the ancient Indian city of Mohenjo-Daro, a huge pool was discovered, built 5 thousand years ago, the bottom and walls of which were covered with a layer of asphalt.In the Middle East, oil became a hot commodity at the beginning of our era.
Iranian and Arabian chronicles testify that as early as 3-4 centuries the oil produced on the Absheron Peninsula was exported to Persia, from where it was spread to other countries.
For thousands of years, especially in the Middle East, oil has been used for a variety of purposes – as fuel for lamps or to waterproof the roofs and hulls of ships. However, the global oil age began just 150 years ago. The turning points that marked the beginning of the oil era were the invention of the first kerosene lamp in 1857 and, most importantly, the invention of the internal combustion engine in 1862, which led to the development of the automobile industry. Today, oil is not only the backbone of the world economy, but also has a significant impact on world politics.
We hope that in a fairly short format we were able to convey to you the most interesting and important things about oil and gas. You can feel like an oil and gas tycoon with the help of our glasses.