Petroleum

Petroleum

Overview


Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid
Flammable liquid
Generally, a flammable liquid is a liquid that can catch fire.In the USA, there is a precise definition of flammable liquid as one with a flash point below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Less-flammable liquids are defined as combustible liquids...

 consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

s, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. This latter stage comes after the studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterization (mainly in terms of porosity and permeable structures).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Petroleum'
Start a new discussion about 'Petroleum'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Timeline

1859   Petroleum is discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania leading to the world's first commercially successful oil well.

1901   The first great Texas oil gusher is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.

1922   Teapot Dome scandal: United States Secretary of the Interior leases Teapot Dome petroleum reserves in Wyoming.

1938   Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.

1938   Mexico nationalizes all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.

1973   OPEC starts an oil embargo against a number of western countries, considered to have helped Israel in its war against Syria.

1979   Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.

1984   San Juanico Disaster: A series of explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility at San Juan Ixhuatepec in Mexico City starts a major fire and kills about 500 people.

1989   Exxon Valdez oil spill: In Prince William Sound in Alaska, the ''Exxon Valdez'' spills 240,000 barrels (42,000 m³) of petroleum after running aground.

 
Encyclopedia


Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid
Flammable liquid
Generally, a flammable liquid is a liquid that can catch fire.In the USA, there is a precise definition of flammable liquid as one with a flash point below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Less-flammable liquids are defined as combustible liquids...

 consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compound
Organic compound
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon, and cyanides, as well as the...

s, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. This latter stage comes after the studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterization (mainly in terms of porosity and permeable structures). It is refined and separated, most easily by boiling point
Boiling point
The boiling point of an element or a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the environmental pressure surrounding the liquid....

, into a large number of consumer products, from petrol and kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 to asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals. Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials.

Etymology


The term petroleum was found (in the spelling "petraoleum") in 10th-century Old English sources. It was used in the treatise De Natura Fossilium, published in 1546 by the German mineralogist Georg Bauer, also known as Georgius Agricola. In the 19th century, the term petroleum was frequently used to refer to mineral oils produced by distillation from mined organic solids such as cannel coal
Cannel coal
Cannel coal, also known as candle coal, is a type of coal, also classified as terrestrial type oil shale, with a large amount of hydrogen, which burns easily with a bright light and leaves little ash....

 (and later oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

), and refined oils produced from them; in the United Kingdom, storage (and later transport) of these oils were regulated by a series of Petroleum Acts, from the Petroleum Act 1862 c. 66 onward.

Composition


In its strictest sense, petroleum includes only crude oil, but in common usage it includes all liquid, gaseous, and solid (e.g., paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

) hydrocarbons. Under surface pressure and temperature conditions
Standard conditions for temperature and pressure
Standard condition for temperature and pressure are standard sets of conditions for experimental measurements established to allow comparisons to be made between different sets of data...

, lighter hydrocarbons methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, ethane
Ethane
Ethane is a chemical compound with chemical formula C2H6. It is the only two-carbon alkane that is an aliphatic hydrocarbon. At standard temperature and pressure, ethane is a colorless, odorless gas....

, propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 and butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

 occur as gases, while pentane
Pentane
Pentane is an organic compound with the formula C5H12 — that is, an alkane with five carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of three structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, pentane means exclusively the n-pentane isomer; the other two being called...

 and heavier ones are in the form of liquids or solids. However, in an underground oil reservoir
Oil reservoir
A petroleum reservoir, or oil and gas reservoir, is a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. The naturally occurring hydrocarbons, such as crude oil or natural gas, are trapped by overlying rock formations with lower permeability...

 the proportions of gas, liquid, and solid depend on subsurface conditions and on the phase diagram
Phase diagram
A phase diagram in physical chemistry, engineering, mineralogy, and materials science is a type of chart used to show conditions at which thermodynamically distinct phases can occur at equilibrium...

 of the petroleum mixture.

An oil well
Oil well
An oil well is a general term for any boring through the earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.-History:The earliest...

 produces predominantly crude oil, with some natural gas dissolved
Solubility
Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical substance called solute to dissolve in a solid, liquid, or gaseous solvent to form a homogeneous solution of the solute in the solvent. The solubility of a substance fundamentally depends on the used solvent as well as on...

 in it. Because the pressure is lower at the surface than underground, some of the gas will come out of solution
Solution
In chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture composed of only one phase. In such a mixture, a solute is dissolved in another substance, known as a solvent. The solvent does the dissolving.- Types of solutions :...

 and be recovered (or burned) as associated gas or solution gas. A gas well produces predominantly natural gas. However, because the underground temperature and pressure are higher than at the surface, the gas may contain heavier hydrocarbons such as pentane
Pentane
Pentane is an organic compound with the formula C5H12 — that is, an alkane with five carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of three structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, pentane means exclusively the n-pentane isomer; the other two being called...

, hexane
Hexane
Hexane is a hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C6H14; that is, an alkane with six carbon atoms.The term may refer to any of four other structural isomers with that formula, or to a mixture of them. In the IUPAC nomenclature, however, hexane is the unbranched isomer ; the other four structures...

, and heptane
Heptane
n-Heptane is the straight-chain alkane with the chemical formula H3C5CH3 or C7H16. When used as a test fuel component in anti-knock test engines, a 100% heptane fuel is the zero point of the octane rating scale...

 in the gaseous state. At surface conditions these will condense out of the gas to form natural gas condensate
Natural gas condensate
Natural-gas condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from many natural gas fields....

, often shortened to condensate. Condensate resembles petrol in appearance and is similar in composition to some volatile
Volatility (chemistry)
In chemistry and physics, volatility is the tendency of a substance to vaporize. Volatility is directly related to a substance's vapor pressure. At a given temperature, a substance with higher vapor pressure vaporizes more readily than a substance with a lower vapor pressure.The term is primarily...

 light crude oil
Light crude oil
Light crude oil is liquid petroleum that has a low density and flows freely at room temperature. It has a low viscosity, low specific gravity and high API gravity due to the presence of a high proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions. It generally has a low wax content...

s.

The proportion of light hydrocarbons in the petroleum mixture varies greatly among different oil fields, ranging from as much as 97% by weight in the lighter oils to as little as 50% in the heavier oils and bitumens.

The hydrocarbons in crude oil are mostly alkane
Alkane
Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded exclusively by single bonds without any cycles...

s, cycloalkane
Cycloalkane
Cycloalkanes are types of alkanes that have one or more rings of carbon atoms in the chemical structure of their molecules. Alkanes are types of organic hydrocarbon compounds that have only single chemical bonds in their chemical structure...

s and various aromatic hydrocarbon
Aromatic hydrocarbon
An aromatic hydrocarbon or arene is a hydrocarbon with alternating double and single bonds between carbon atoms. The term 'aromatic' was assigned before the physical mechanism determining aromaticity was discovered, and was derived from the fact that many of the compounds have a sweet scent...

s while the other organic compounds contain nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

, oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 and sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

, and trace amounts of metals such as iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and vanadium
Vanadium
Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. It is a hard, silvery gray, ductile and malleable transition metal. The formation of an oxide layer stabilizes the metal against oxidation. The element is found only in chemically combined form in nature...

. The exact molecular composition varies widely from formation to formation but the proportion of chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s vary over fairly narrow limits as follows:
Composition by weight
Element Percent range
Carbon 83 to 87%
Hydrogen 10 to 14%
Nitrogen 0.1 to 2%
Oxygen 0.05 to 1.5%
Sulfur 0.05 to 6.0%
Metals < 0.1%


Four different types of hydrocarbon molecules appear in crude oil. The relative percentage of each varies from oil to oil, determining the properties of each oil.
Composition by weight
Hydrocarbon Average Range
Paraffin
Paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

s
30% 15 to 60%
Naphthenes 49% 30 to 60%
Aromatics 15% 3 to 30%
Asphaltics  6% remainder



Crude oil varies greatly in appearance depending on its composition. It is usually black or dark brown (although it may be yellowish, reddish, or even greenish). In the reservoir it is usually found in association with natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, which being lighter forms a gas cap over the petroleum, and saline water
Saline water
Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

 which, being heavier than most forms of crude oil, generally sinks beneath it. Crude oil may also be found in semi-solid form mixed with sand and water, as in the Athabasca oil sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, where it is usually referred to as crude bitumen. In Canada, bitumen is considered a sticky, black, tar-like form of crude oil which is so thick and heavy that it must be heated or diluted before it will flow. Venezuela also has large amounts of oil in the Orinoco oil sands, although the hydrocarbons trapped in them are more fluid than in Canada and are usually called extra heavy oil. These oil sands resources are called unconventional oil to distinguish them from oil which can be extracted using traditional oil well methods. Between them, Canada and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 contain an estimated 3.6 Toilbbl of bitumen and extra-heavy oil, about twice the volume of the world's reserves of conventional oil.

Petroleum is used mostly, by volume, for producing fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 and petrol, both important "primary energy
Primary energy
Primary energy is an energy form found in nature that has not been subjected to any conversion or transformation process. It is energy contained in raw fuels, and other forms of energy received as input to a system...

"
sources. 84% by volume of the hydrocarbons present in petroleum is converted into energy-rich fuels (petroleum-based fuels), including petrol, diesel, jet, heating, and other fuel oils, and liquefied petroleum gas. The lighter grades of crude oil produce the best yields of these products, but as the world's reserves of light and medium oil are depleted, oil refineries are increasingly having to process heavy oil and bitumen, and use more complex and expensive methods to produce the products required. Because heavier crude oils have too much carbon and not enough hydrogen, these processes generally involve removing carbon from or adding hydrogen to the molecules, and using fluid catalytic cracking
Fluid catalytic cracking
Fluid catalytic cracking is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils to more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products...

 to convert the longer, more complex molecules in the oil to the shorter, simpler ones in the fuels.

Due to its high energy density
Energy density
Energy density is a term used for the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Often only the useful or extractable energy is quantified, which is to say that chemically inaccessible energy such as rest mass energy is ignored...

, easy transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

ability and relative abundance
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

, oil has become the world's most important source of energy since the mid-1950s. Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

s, fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s, pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s, and plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s; the 16% not used for energy production is converted into these other materials.
Petroleum is found in porous
Porosity
Porosity or void fraction is a measure of the void spaces in a material, and is a fraction of the volume of voids over the total volume, between 0–1, or as a percentage between 0–100%...

 rock formations in the upper strata
Stratum
In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

 of some areas of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust
Crust (geology)
In geology, the crust is the outermost solid shell of a rocky planet or natural satellite, which is chemically distinct from the underlying mantle...

. There is also petroleum in oil sands (tar sands)
Tar sands
Bituminous sands, colloquially known as oil sands or tar sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The sands contain naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen...

. Known oil reserves
Oil reserves
The total estimated amount of oil in an oil reservoir, including both producible and non-producible oil, is called oil in place. However, because of reservoir characteristics and limitations in petroleum extraction technologies, only a fraction of this oil can be brought to the surface, and it is...

 are typically estimated at around 190 km3 (1.2 trillion (short scale)
Long and short scales
The long and short scales are two of several different large-number naming systems used throughout the world for integer powers of ten. Many countries, including most in continental Europe, use the long scale whereas most English-speaking countries use the short scale...

 barrels
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

) without oil sands, or 595 km3 (3.74 trillion barrels) with oil sands. Consumption is currently around 84 Moilbbl per day, or 4.9 km3 per year. Which in turn yields a remaining oil supply of only about 120 years, if current demand remain static.

Chemistry


Petroleum is a mixture of a very large number of different hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

s; the most commonly found molecules are alkane
Alkane
Alkanes are chemical compounds that consist only of hydrogen and carbon atoms and are bonded exclusively by single bonds without any cycles...

s (linear or branched), cycloalkane
Cycloalkane
Cycloalkanes are types of alkanes that have one or more rings of carbon atoms in the chemical structure of their molecules. Alkanes are types of organic hydrocarbon compounds that have only single chemical bonds in their chemical structure...

s, aromatic hydrocarbon
Aromatic hydrocarbon
An aromatic hydrocarbon or arene is a hydrocarbon with alternating double and single bonds between carbon atoms. The term 'aromatic' was assigned before the physical mechanism determining aromaticity was discovered, and was derived from the fact that many of the compounds have a sweet scent...

s, or more complicated chemicals like asphaltenes. Each petroleum variety has a unique mix of molecule
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

s, which define its physical and chemical properties, like color and viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

.

The alkanes, also known as paraffins, are saturated
Saturation (chemistry)
In chemistry, saturation has six different meanings, all based on reaching a maximum capacity...

 hydrocarbons with straight or branched chains which contain only carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 and hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 and have the general formula CnH2n+2. They generally have from 5 to 40 carbon atoms per molecule, although trace amounts of shorter or longer molecules may be present in the mixture.

The alkanes from pentane
Pentane
Pentane is an organic compound with the formula C5H12 — that is, an alkane with five carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of three structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, pentane means exclusively the n-pentane isomer; the other two being called...

 (C5H12) to octane
Octane
Octane is a hydrocarbon and an alkane with the chemical formula C8H18, and the condensed structural formula CH36CH3. Octane has many structural isomers that differ by the amount and location of branching in the carbon chain...

 (C8H18) are refined
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 into petrol, the ones from nonane
Nonane
Nonane is a linear alkane hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C9H20.Nonane has 35 structural isomers. Tripropylene is a mixture of three specific isomers of nonane.Its substituent form is nonyl. Its cycloalkane counterpart is cyclononane, ....

 (C9H20) to hexadecane
Hexadecane
Hexadecane is an alkane hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C16H34. Hexadecane consists of a chain of 16 carbon atoms, with three hydrogen atoms bonded to the two end carbon atoms, and two hydrogens bonded to each of the 14 other carbon atoms.Cetane is often used as a short-hand for cetane...

 (C16H34) into diesel fuel, kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 and jet fuel
Jet fuel
Jet fuel is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is clear to straw-colored in appearance. The most commonly used fuels for commercial aviation are Jet A and Jet A-1 which are produced to a standardized international specification...

). Alkanes with more than 16 carbon atoms can be refined into fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 and lubricating oil. At the heavier end of the range, paraffin wax is an alkane with approximately 25 carbon atoms, while asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 has 35 and up, although these are usually cracked
Fluid catalytic cracking
Fluid catalytic cracking is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils to more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products...

 by modern refineries into more valuable products. The shortest molecules, those with four or fewer carbon 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 off, sold as liquified petroleum gas under pressure, or used to power the refinery's own burners. During the winter, Butane (C4H10), is blended into the petrol pool at high rates, because butane's high vapor pressure assists with cold starts. Liquified under pressure slightly above atmospheric, it is best known for powering cigarette lighters, but it is also a main fuel source for many developing countries. 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.

The cycloalkanes, also known as naphthenes, are saturated hydrocarbons which have one or more carbon rings to which hydrogen atoms are attached according to the formula CnH2n. Cycloalkanes have similar properties to alkanes but have higher boiling points.

The aromatic hydrocarbons are unsaturated hydrocarbons
Degree of unsaturation
The degree of unsaturation formula is used in organic chemistry to help draw chemical structures. The formula lets the user determine how many rings, double bonds, and triple bonds are present in the compound to be drawn...

 which have one or more planar six-carbon rings called benzene rings, to which hydrogen atoms are attached with the formula CnHn. They tend to burn with a sooty flame, and many have a sweet aroma. Some are carcinogenic.

These different molecules are separated by fractional distillation
Fractional distillation
Fractional distillation is the separation of a mixture into its component parts, or fractions, such as in separating chemical compounds by their boiling point by heating them to a temperature at which several fractions of the compound will evaporate. It is a special type of distillation...

 at an oil refinery to produce petrol, jet fuel, kerosene, and other hydrocarbons. For example, 2,2,4-Trimethylpentane
2,2,4-Trimethylpentane
2,2,4-Trimethylpentane, also known as isooctane, iso-octane, is an organic compound with the formula 3CCH2CH2. It is one of several isomers of octane . This particular isomer is the standard for 100 point on the octane rating scale...

 (isooctane), widely used in petrol, has a chemical formula of C8H18 and it reacts with oxygen exothermic
Exothermic
In thermodynamics, the term exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy from the system, usually in the form of heat, but also in the form of light , electricity , or sound...

ally:
(l) + 25 (g) → 16 (g) + 18 (g) + 10.86 MJ/mol (of octane)


The amount of various molecules in an oil sample can be determined in laboratory. The molecules are typically extracted in a solvent
Solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...

, then separated in a gas chromatograph, and finally determined with a suitable detector, such as a flame ionization detector
Flame ionization detector
A flame ionization detector is a type of gas detector used in gas chromatography. The first flame ionization detector was developed in 1957 by scientists working for the CSIRO in Melbourne, Australia....

 or a mass spectrometer. Due to the large number of co-eluted hydrocarbons within oil, many cannot be resolved by traditional gas chromatography and typically appear as a hump in the chromatogram. This unresolved complex mixture
Unresolved Complex Mixture
Unresolved Complex Mixture is a feature frequently observed in gas chromatographic data of crude oils and extracts from organisms exposed to oil. One reason why it is important to study the nature of UCMs is that some have been shown to contain toxic components,Donkin, P., Smith, E. L. & Rowland,...

 (UCM) of hydrocarbons is particularly apparent when analysing weathered oils and extracts from tissues of organisms exposed to oil.

Incomplete combustion of petroleum or petrol results in production of toxic byproducts. Too little oxygen results in carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

. Due to the high temperatures and high pressures involved, exhaust gases from petrol combustion in car engines usually include nitrogen oxide
Nitrogen oxide
Nitrogen oxide can refer to a binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen, or a mixture of such compounds:* Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, , nitrogen oxide* Nitrogen dioxide , nitrogen oxide...

s which are responsible for creation of photochemical smog.

Heat of combustion


At a constant volume the heat of combustion of a petroleum product can be approximated as follows:
.

where is measured in cal/gram and d is the specific gravity at 60 °F (15.6 °C).

Thermal conductivity


The thermal conductivity of petroleum based liquids can be modeled as follows:
0.547

where K is measured in BTUhr−1ft−2 , t is measured in °F and d is the specific gravity at 60 °F (15.6 °C).

Specific heat


The specific heat of a petroleum oils can be modeled as follows:
,

where c is measured in BTU/lbm-°F, t is the temperature in Fahrenheit and d is the specific gravity at 60 °F (15.6 °C).

In units of kcal/(kg·°C), the formula is:
,

where the temperature t is in Celsius and d is the specific gravity at 15 °C.

Latent heat of vaporization


The latent heat of vaporization can be modeled under atmospheric conditions as follows:
,

where L is measured in BTU/lbm, t is measured in °F and d is the specific gravity at 60 °F (15.6 °C).

In units of kcal/kg, the formula is:
,

where the temperature t is in Celsius and d is the specific gravity at 15 °C.

Formation


Petroleum is a fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

 derived from ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton
Zooplankton
Zooplankton are heterotrophic plankton. Plankton are organisms drifting in oceans, seas, and bodies of fresh water. The word "zooplankton" is derived from the Greek zoon , meaning "animal", and , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter"...

 and algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

. Vast quantities of these remains settled to sea or lake bottoms, mixing with sediments and being buried under anoxic conditions
Anoxic sea water
Anoxic waters are areas of sea water or fresh water that are depleted of dissolved oxygen. This condition is generally found in areas that have restricted water exchange....

. As further layers settled to the sea or lake bed, intense heat and pressure built up in the lower regions. This process caused the organic matter to change, first into a waxy material known as kerogen
Kerogen
Kerogen is a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks. It is insoluble in normal organic solvents because of the huge molecular weight of its component compounds. The soluble portion is known as bitumen. When heated to the right...

, which is found in various oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

s around the world, and then with more heat into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons via a process known as catagenesis
Catagenesis (geology)
Catagenesis is a term used in petroleum geology to describe the cracking process which results in the conversion of organic kerogens into hydrocarbons.-Theoretical reaction:...

. Formation of petroleum occurs from hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 pyrolysis
Pyrolysis
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures without the participation of oxygen. It involves the simultaneous change of chemical composition and physical phase, and is irreversible...

 in a variety of mainly endothermic
Endothermic
In thermodynamics, the word endothermic describes a process or reaction in which the system absorbs energy from the surroundings in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the prefix endo- and the Greek word thermasi,...

 reactions at high temperature and/or pressure.

There were certain warm nutrient-rich environments such as the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 and the ancient Tethys Sea where the large amounts of organic material falling to the ocean floor exceeded the rate at which it could decompose. This resulted in large masses of organic material being buried under subsequent deposits such as shale formed from mud. This massive organic deposit later became heated and transformed under pressure into oil.

Geologists often refer to the temperature range in which oil forms as an "oil window"—below the minimum temperature oil remains trapped in the form of kerogen, and above the maximum temperature the oil is converted to natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 through the process of thermal cracking. Sometimes, oil formed at extreme depths may migrate and become trapped at a much shallower level. The Athabasca Oil Sands
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 is one example of this.

Abiogenic origin hypothesis



A small number of geologists adhere to the abiogenic petroleum origin
Abiogenic petroleum origin
Abiogenic petroleum origin is a largely abandoned hypothesis that was proposed as an alternative to theory of biological petroleum origin. It was relatively popular in the past, but it went largely forgotten at the end of the 20th century after it failed to predict the location of new wells.The...

 hypothesis, maintaining that high molecular weight hydrocarbons of purely inorganic origin exist within Earth's interior and are the source for major petroleum deposits. The hypothesis was originally proposed by Nikolai Kudryavtsev
Nikolai Kudryavtsev
Nikolai Alexandrovich Kudryavtsev was a Soviet Russian petroleum geologist. He is the founding father of modern abiogenic theory for origin of petroleum, which states that petroleum is formed from non-biological sources of hydrocarbons located deep in the Earth's crust and mantle.He graduated...

 and Vladimir Porfiriev
Vladimir Porfiriev
Vladimir Borisovich Porfiryev, , was a Russian and Ukrainian petroleum and coal geologist....

 in the 1950s, and more recently Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold
Thomas Gold was an Austrian-born astrophysicist, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Society . Gold was one of three young Cambridge scientists who in the 1950s proposed the now mostly abandoned 'steady...

 proposed a similar deep hot biosphere idea. The thermodynamic synthesis routes necessary to carry abiogenic source material into subsurface oil are not established, observation of organic markers in kerogen and oil is not explained, and no oil deposits have been located by this hypothesis.

Crude oil reservoirs



Three conditions must be present for oil reservoirs to form: a source rock
Source rock
In petroleum geology, source rock refers to rocks from which hydrocarbons have been generated or are capable of being generated. They form one of the necessary elements of a working petroleum system. They are organic-rich sediments that may have been deposited in a variety of environments including...

 rich in hydrocarbon material buried deep enough for subterranean heat to cook it into oil; a porous and permeable
Permeability (fluid)
Permeability in fluid mechanics and the earth sciences is a measure of the ability of a porous material to allow fluids to pass through it.- Units :...

 reservoir rock for it to accumulate in; and a cap rock (seal) or other mechanism that prevents it from escaping to the surface. Within these reservoirs, fluids will typically organize themselves like a three-layer cake with a layer of water below the oil layer and a layer of gas above it, although the different layers vary in size between reservoirs. Because most hydrocarbons are lighter
Buoyancy
In physics, buoyancy is a force exerted by a fluid that opposes an object's weight. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus a column of fluid, or an object submerged in the fluid, experiences greater pressure at the bottom of the...

 than rock or water, they often migrate upward through adjacent rock layers until either reaching the surface or becoming trapped within porous rocks (known as reservoirs
Oil reservoir
A petroleum reservoir, or oil and gas reservoir, is a subsurface pool of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations. The naturally occurring hydrocarbons, such as crude oil or natural gas, are trapped by overlying rock formations with lower permeability...

) by impermeable rocks above. However, the process is influenced by underground water flows, causing oil to migrate hundreds of kilometres horizontally or even short distances downward before becoming trapped in a reservoir. When hydrocarbons are concentrated in a trap, an oil field
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 forms, from which the liquid can be extracted by drill
Drill
A drill or drill motor is a tool fitted with a cutting tool attachment or driving tool attachment, usually a drill bit or driver bit, used for drilling holes in various materials or fastening various materials together with the use of fasteners. The attachment is gripped by a chuck at one end of...

ing and pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

ing.

The reactions that produce oil and natural gas are often modeled as first order breakdown reactions, where hydrocarbons are broken down to oil and natural gas by a set of parallel reactions, and oil eventually breaks down to natural gas by another set of reactions. The latter set is regularly used in petrochemical
Petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

 plants and oil refineries.

Wells are drilled into oil reservoirs to extract the crude oil. "Natural lift" production methods that rely on the natural reservoir pressure to force the oil to the surface are usually sufficient for a while after reservoirs are first tapped. In some reservoirs, such as in the Middle East, the natural pressure is sufficient over a long time. The natural pressure in many reservoirs, however, eventually dissipates. Then the oil must be pumped out using “artificial lift” created by mechanical pumps powered by gas or electricity. Over time, these "primary" methods become less effective and "secondary" production methods may be used. A common secondary method is “waterflood” or injection of water into the reservoir to increase pressure and force the oil to the drilled shaft or "wellbore." Eventually "tertiary" or "enhanced" oil recovery methods may be used to increase the oil's flow characteristics by injecting steam, carbon dioxide and other gases or chemicals into the reservoir. In the United States, primary production methods account for less than 40% of the oil produced on a daily basis, secondary methods account for about half, and tertiary recovery the remaining 10%. Extracting oil (or “bitumen”) from oil/tar sand and oil shale deposits requires mining the sand or shale and heating it in a vessel or retort, or using “in-situ” methods of injecting heated liquids into the deposit and then pumping out the oil-saturated liquid.

Unconventional oil reservoirs



Oil-eating bacteria biodegrade
Biodegradation
Biodegradation or biotic degradation or biotic decomposition is the chemical dissolution of materials by bacteria or other biological means...

 oil that has escaped to the surface. Oil sands are reservoirs of partially biodegraded oil still in the process of escaping and being biodegraded, but they contain so much migrating oil that, although most of it has escaped, vast amounts are still present—more than can be found in conventional oil reservoirs. The lighter fractions of the crude oil are destroyed first, resulting in reservoirs containing an extremely heavy form of crude oil, called crude bitumen in Canada, or extra-heavy crude oil in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

. These two countries have the world's largest deposits of oil sands.

On the other hand, oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

s are source rocks that have not been exposed to heat or pressure long enough to convert their trapped hydrocarbons into crude oil. Technically speaking, oil shales are not always shales and do not contain oil, but are fined-grain sedimentary rocks containing an insoluble organic solid called kerogen
Kerogen
Kerogen is a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks. It is insoluble in normal organic solvents because of the huge molecular weight of its component compounds. The soluble portion is known as bitumen. When heated to the right...

. The kerogen in the rock can be converted into crude oil using heat and pressure to simulate natural processes. The method has been known for centuries and was patented in 1694 under British Crown Patent No. 330 covering, "A way to extract and make great quantities of pitch, tar, and oil out of a sort of stone." Although oil shales are found in many countries, the United States has the world's largest deposits.

Classification



The petroleum industry
Petroleum industry
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting , and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline...

 generally classifies crude oil by the geographic location it is produced in (e.g. West Texas Intermediate
West Texas Intermediate
West Texas Intermediate , also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. It is a light and sweet crude oil...

, Brent
Brent oilfield
The Brent field is an oil field located in the East Shetland Basin north-east of Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland at the water depth of . The field operated by Shell UK Limited was once one of the most productive parts of the UK's offshore assets but is now nearing the end of its useful...

, or Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

), its API gravity
API gravity
The American Petroleum Institute gravity, or API gravity, is a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water. If its API gravity is greater than 10, it is lighter and floats on water; if less than 10, it is heavier and sinks...

 (an oil industry measure of density), and its sulfur content. Crude oil may be considered light
Light crude oil
Light crude oil is liquid petroleum that has a low density and flows freely at room temperature. It has a low viscosity, low specific gravity and high API gravity due to the presence of a high proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions. It generally has a low wax content...

if it has low density or heavy
Heavy crude oil
Heavy crude oil or extra heavy crude oil is any type of crude oil which does not flow easily. It is referred to as "heavy" because its density or specific gravity is higher than that of light crude oil. Heavy crude oil has been defined as any liquid petroleum with an API gravity less than 20°.Extra...

if it has high density; and it may be referred to as sweet
Sweet crude oil
Sweet crude oil is a type of petroleum. Petroleum is considered "sweet" if it contains less than 0.5% sulfur, compared to a higher level of sulfur in sour crude oil. Sweet crude oil contains small amounts of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. High quality, low sulfur crude oil is commonly used...

 if it contains relatively little sulfur or sour if it contains substantial amounts of sulfur.

The geographic location is important because it affects transportation costs to the refinery. Light crude oil is more desirable than heavy oil since it produces a higher yield of petrol, while sweet oil commands a higher price than sour oil because it has fewer environmental problems and requires less refining to meet sulfur standards imposed on fuels in consuming countries. Each crude oil has unique molecular characteristics which are understood by the use of crude oil assay analysis
Crude oil assay
A crude oil assay is essentially the chemical evaluation of crude oil feedstocks by petroleum testing laboratories. Each crude oil type has unique molecular, chemical characteristics. No crude oil type is identical and there are crucial differences in crude oil quality...

 in petroleum laboratories.

Barrel
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

s from an area in which the crude oil's molecular characteristics have been determined and the oil has been classified are used as pricing references throughout the world. Some of the common reference crudes are:
  • West Texas Intermediate
    West Texas Intermediate
    West Texas Intermediate , also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. It is a light and sweet crude oil...

     (WTI), a very high-quality, sweet, light oil delivered at Cushing, Oklahoma
    Cushing, Oklahoma
    Cushing is a city in Payne County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 8,371 at the 2000 census.The city was established after the Land Run of 1891 by Billy Rae Little. It was named for Marshall Cushing, private secretary to U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker...

     for North American oil
  • Brent Blend
    Brent Crude
    Brent Crude is the biggest of the many major classifications of crude oil consisting of Brent Crude, Brent Sweet Light Crude, Oseberg, Ekofisk, and Forties . Brent Crude is sourced from the North Sea. The Brent Crude oil marker is also known as Brent Blend, London Brent and Brent petroleum...

    , comprising 15 oils from fields in the Brent
    Brent oilfield
    The Brent field is an oil field located in the East Shetland Basin north-east of Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland at the water depth of . The field operated by Shell UK Limited was once one of the most productive parts of the UK's offshore assets but is now nearing the end of its useful...

     and Ninian
    Ninian
    Saint Ninian was a medieval Christian bishop who evangelized the Picts.Ninian may also refer to:* Ninian Edwards , former Governor of Illinois* Ninian Stephen , former Governor-General of Australia...

     systems in the East Shetland Basin
    East Shetland Basin
    The East Shetland Basin is a major oil-producing area of the North Sea between Scotland and Norway.Oil produced there is landed at Sullom Voe Terminal in the Shetland Islands.-See also:*Energy policy of the United Kingdom...

     of the North Sea
    North Sea
    In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

    . The oil is landed at Sullom Voe
    Sullom Voe
    Sullom Voe is an inlet between North Mainland and Northmavine on Shetland in Scotland. It is a location of the Sullom Voe oil terminal. The word Voe is from the Old Norse vagr and denotes a small bay or narrow creek...

     terminal in Shetland. Oil production from Europe, Africa and Middle Eastern oil flowing West tends to be priced off this oil, which forms a benchmark
  • Dubai-Oman
    Dubai Crude
    Dubai Crude is a light sour crude oil extracted from Dubai. Dubai Crude is used as a price benchmark or oil marker because it is one of only a few Persian Gulf crude oils available immediately. The other two main oil markers are Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate.Dubai Crude is generally used...

    , used as benchmark for Middle East sour crude oil flowing to the Asia
    Asia
    Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

    -Pacific region
  • Tapis
    Tapis crude
    Tapis crude is a Malaysian crude oil used as a pricing benchmark in Singapore. While it is not traded on a market like Brent Crude or West Texas Intermediate, it is often used as an oil marker for Asia and Australia....

     (from Malaysia, used as a reference for light Far East oil)
  • Minas (from Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    , used as a reference for heavy Far East oil)
  • The OPEC Reference Basket
    OPEC Reference Basket
    The OPEC Reference Basket ', also referred to as the OPEC Basket is a weighted average of prices for petroleum blends produced by OPEC countries. It is used as an important benchmark for crude oil prices....

    , a weighted average of oil blends from various OPEC
    OPEC
    OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

     (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) countries
  • Midway Sunset
    Midway-Sunset Oil Field
    The Midway-Sunset Oil Field is a large oil field in Kern County, San Joaquin Valley, California in the United States. Discovered in 1894, and having a cumulative production of close to of oil at the end of 2006, it is the largest oil field in California and the third largest in the United States....

     Heavy, by which heavy oil in California is priced


There are declining amounts of these benchmark oils being produced each year, so other oils are more commonly what is actually delivered. While the reference price may be for West Texas Intermediate delivered at Cushing, the actual oil being traded may be a discounted Canadian heavy oil delivered at Hardisty, Alberta
Hardisty, Alberta
Hardisty, Alberta is a town in Flagstaff County in Alberta, Canada. It is located in east-central Alberta, from the Saskatchewan border, near the crossroads of Highway 13 and Highway 881, in the Battle River Valley.- History :...

, and for a Brent Blend delivered at Shetland, it may be a Russian Export Blend delivered at the port of Primorsk
Primorsk, Leningrad Oblast
Primorsk is a coastal town in Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, and the largest Russian port on the Baltic. It is located on the Karelian Isthmus, west of St. Petersburg, at the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland, near Birch Islands, protected as a sea bird sanctuary...

.

Petroleum industry



The petroleum industry is involved in the global processes of exploration, extraction
Extraction of petroleum
The extraction of petroleum is the process by which usable petroleum is extracted and removed from the earth.-Locating the oil field:Geologists use seismic surveys to search for geological structures that may form oil reservoirs...

, refining
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

, transporting (often with oil tanker
Oil tanker
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries...

s and pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

), and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 and petrol . Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products
Petrochemical
Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics. The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream
Upstream (oil industry)
The oil and gas industry is usually divided into three major components: Upstream, midstream and downstream, though midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category....

, midstream
Midstream
The petroleum industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream and downstream. Midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category....

 and downstream
Downstream (oil industry)
The petroleum industry is usually divided into three major components: Upstream, midstream and downstream. Midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category....

. Midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category.

Petroleum is vital to many industries, and is of importance to the maintenance of industrialized civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

 itself, and thus is critical concern to many nations. Oil accounts for a large percentage of the world's energy consumption, ranging from a low of 32% for Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia, up to a high of 53% for the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Other geographic regions' consumption patterns are as follows: South and Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 (44%), Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 (41%), and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 (40%). The world at large consumes 30 billion barrels
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

 (4.8 km³) of oil per year, and the top oil consumers largely consist of developed nations. In fact, 24% of the oil consumed in 2004 went to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 alone, though by 2007 this had dropped to 21% of world oil consumed.

In the US, in the states of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 and Washington, the Western States Petroleum Association
Western States Petroleum Association
Western States Petroleum Association is a non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the six western states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington...

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

History




Petroleum, in one form or another, has been used since ancient times, and is now important across society, including in economy, politics and technology. The rise in importance was mostly due to the invention of the internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

, the rise in commercial aviation
Commercial aviation
Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or cargo...

 and the increasing use of plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

.

More than 4000 years ago, according to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 and Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 was used in the construction of the walls and towers of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

; there were oil pits near Ardericca (near Babylon), and a pitch spring on Zacynthus. Great quantities of it were found on the banks of the river Issus
Issus (river)
Issus, a river in Cilicia, Asia Minor, where Alexander the Great defeated Darius in 333 BC....

, one of the tributaries of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

. Ancient Persian tablets indicate the medicinal and lighting uses of petroleum in the upper levels of their society. By 347 AD, oil was produced from bamboo-drilled wells in China.

In the 1850s, the process to distill kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 from petroleum was invented by Ignacy Łukasiewicz, providing a cheaper alternative to whale oil
Whale oil
Whale oil is the oil obtained from the blubber of various species of whales, particularly the three species of right whale and the bowhead whale prior to the modern era, as well as several other species of baleen whale...

. The demand for the petroleum as a fuel for lighting in North America and around the world quickly grew. The world's first commercial oil well was drilled in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 in 1853. Oil exploration developed in many parts of the world with the Russian Empire, particularly the Branobel
Branobel
The Petroleum Production Company Nobel Brothers, Limited,or Branobel , was an oil company set up by Ludvig Nobel and Baron Peter von Bilderling, in Baku, Azerbaijan...

 company in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 (Asia's first modern borehole oil production began in 1848 at the Bibi-Heybat field near Baku), taking the lead in production by the end of the 19th century.

Access to oil was and still is a major factor in several military conflicts of the twentieth century, including World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, during which oil facilities were a major strategic asset and were extensively bombed
Oil Campaign chronology of World War II
The Oil Campaign chronology of World War II lists bombing missions and related events regarding the petroleum/oil/lubrication facilities that supplied Nazi Germany.-Legend:...

. Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 included the goal to capture the Baku oilfields, as it would provide much needed oil-supplies for the German military which was suffering from blockades. Oil exploration in North America during the early 20th century later led to the U.S. becoming the leading producer by the mid 1900s. As petroleum production in the U.S. peaked during the 1960s, however, the United States was surpassed by Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Today, about 90% of vehicular fuel needs are met by oil. Petroleum also makes up 40% of total energy consumption in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, but is responsible for only 1% of electricity generation. Petroleum's worth as a portable, dense energy source powering the vast majority of vehicles and as the base of many industrial chemicals makes it one of the world's most important commodities
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

. Viability of the oil commodity is controlled by several key parameters, number of vehicles in the world competing for fuel, quantity of oil exported to the world market (Export Land Model
Export Land Model
The Export Land Model, or Export-Land Model, refers to work done by Dallas geologist Jeffrey Brown, building on the work of others, and discussed widely on The Oil Drum. It models the decline in oil exports that result when an exporting nation experiences both a peak in oil production and an...

), Net Energy Gain
Net energy gain
Net Energy Gain is a concept used in energy economics that refers to the difference between the energy expended to harvest an energy source and the amount of energy gained from that harvest. The net energy gain, which can be expressed in joules, differs from the net financial gain that may result...

 (economically useful energy provided minus energy consumed), political stability of oil exporting nations and ability to defend oil supply lines.

The top three oil producing countries are Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. About 80% of the world's readily accessible reserves are located in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, with 62.5% coming from the Arab 5: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, UAE, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 and Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. A large portion of the world's total oil exists as unconventional sources, such as bitumen in Canada
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen, or extremely heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada - roughly centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray...

 and Venezuela
Orinoco Belt
The Orinoco Belt is a territory which occupies the southern strip of the eastern Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela. Its local Spanish name is Faja Petrolífera del Orinoco ....

 and oil shale
Oil shale
Oil shale, an organic-rich fine-grained sedimentary rock, contains significant amounts of kerogen from which liquid hydrocarbons called shale oil can be produced...

. While significant volumes of oil are extracted from oil sands, particularly in Canada, logistical and technical hurdles remain, as oil extraction requires large amounts of heat and water, making its net energy content quite low relative to conventional crude oil. Thus, Canada's oil sands are not expected to provide more than a few million barrels per day in the foreseeable future.

Conventional crude oil production, those having Net Energy Gain above 10 stopped growing in 2005 at about 74 Moilbbl/d. The International Energy Agency
International Energy Agency
The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis...

's (IEA) 2010 World Energy Outlook estimated that conventional crude oil production has peaked and is depleting at 6.8% per year. US Joint Forces Command's Joint Operating Environment 2010 issued this warning to all US military commands "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day."

Price



After the collapse of the OPEC-administered pricing system in 1985, and a short lived experiment with netback pricing, oil-exporting countries adopted a market-linked pricing mechanism. First adopted by PEMEX
Pemex
Petróleos Mexicanos or Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. As of 2010, with a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, it is the second non-publicly listed largest company in the world by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009...

 in 1986, market-linked pricing was widely accepted, and by 1988 became and still is the main method for pricing crude oil in international trade. The current reference, or pricing markers, are Brent
Brent Crude
Brent Crude is the biggest of the many major classifications of crude oil consisting of Brent Crude, Brent Sweet Light Crude, Oseberg, Ekofisk, and Forties . Brent Crude is sourced from the North Sea. The Brent Crude oil marker is also known as Brent Blend, London Brent and Brent petroleum...

, WTI
West Texas Intermediate
West Texas Intermediate , also known as Texas light sweet, is a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing. It is a light and sweet crude oil...

, and Dubai/Oman
Dubai Crude
Dubai Crude is a light sour crude oil extracted from Dubai. Dubai Crude is used as a price benchmark or oil marker because it is one of only a few Persian Gulf crude oils available immediately. The other two main oil markers are Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate.Dubai Crude is generally used...

.

Uses



The chemical structure of petroleum is heterogeneous, composed of hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 chains of different lengths. Because of this, petroleum may be taken to oil refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 and the hydrocarbon chemicals separated by distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 and treated by other chemical process
Chemical process
In a "scientific" sense, a chemical process is a method or means of somehow changing one or more chemicals or chemical compounds. Such a chemical process can occur by itself or be caused by somebody. Such a chemical process commonly involves a chemical reaction of some sort...

es, to be used for a variety of purposes. See Petroleum product
Petroleum product
Petroleum products are useful materials derived from crude oil as it is processed in oil refineries.According to crude oil composition and demand, refineries can produce different shares of petroleum products. The largest share of oil products is used as energy carriers: various grades of fuel...

s.

Fuels



The most common distillation fractions of petroleum are fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

s.
Fuels include (by increasing boiling temperature range):
Common fractions of petroleum as fuels
Fraction Boiling Range oC
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) -40
Butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

 
-12 to -1
Petrol  -1 to 180
Jet fuel
Jet fuel
Jet fuel is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is clear to straw-colored in appearance. The most commonly used fuels for commercial aviation are Jet A and Jet A-1 which are produced to a standardized international specification...

 
150 to 205
Kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 
205 to 260
Fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

 
205 to 290
Diesel fuel  260 to 315

Other derivatives


Certain types of resultant hydrocarbons may be mixed with other non-hydrocarbons, to create other end products:
  • Alkenes (olefins) which can be manufactured into plastics or other compounds
  • Lubricant
    Lubricant
    A lubricant is a substance introduced to reduce friction between moving surfaces. It may also have the function of transporting foreign particles and of distributing heat...

    s (produces light machine oils, motor oil
    Motor oil
    Motor oil or engine oil is an oil used for lubrication of various internal combustion engines. The main function is to lubricate moving parts; it also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts.Motor oils are derived from...

    s, and grease
    Grease (lubricant)
    The term grease is used to describe semisolid lubricants. Although the word grease is also used to describe rendered fat of animals, in the context of lubrication, grease typically applies to a material consisting of a soap emulsified with mineral or vegetable oil...

    s, adding viscosity
    Viscosity
    Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

     stabilizers as required).
  • Wax
    Wax
    thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

    , used in the packaging of frozen food
    Frozen food
    Freezing food preserves it from the time it is prepared to the time it is eaten. Since early times, farmers, fishermen, and trappers have preserved their game and produce in unheated buildings during the winter season. Freezing food slows down decomposition by turning water to ice, making it...

    s, among others.
  • Sulfur
    Sulfur
    Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

     or Sulfuric acid
    Sulfuric acid
    Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

    . These are a useful industrial materials. Sulfuric acid is usually prepared as the acid precursor oleum
    Oleum
    Oleum , or fuming sulfuric acid refers to a solution of various compositions of sulfur trioxide in sulfuric acid or sometimes more specifically to disulfuric acid ....

    , a byproduct of sulfur removal
    Hydrodesulfurization
    Hydrodesulfurization is a catalytic chemical process widely used to remove sulfur from natural gas and from refined petroleum products such as gasoline or petrol, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, and fuel oils...

     from fuels.
  • Bulk tar
    Tar
    Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

    .
  • Asphalt
    Asphalt
    Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

  • Petroleum coke
    Petroleum coke
    Petroleum coke is a carbonaceous solid derived from oil refinery coker units or other cracking processes. Other coke has traditionally been derived from coal....

    , used in speciality carbon products or as solid fuel.
  • Paraffin wax
  • Aromatic petrochemical
    Petrochemical
    Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane....

    s to be used as precursors in other chemical production.

Agriculture


Since the 1940s, agricultural productivity has increased dramatically, due largely to the increased use of energy-intensive mechanization
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

, fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s and pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

s. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilizers are made from oil.

Consumption


According to the CIA World Factbook estimate for 2010 the world consumes about 87 million barrels of oil each day.

This table orders the amount of petroleum consumed in 2008 in thousand barrels
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

 (bbl) per day and in thousand cubic metres (m3) per day:
Consuming Nation 2008 (1000 bbl/day) (1000 m3/day) population in millions bbl/year per capita m3/year per capita
United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 1
19497.953,099.9 314 oilbbl
China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 
78311,245 1345 oilbbl
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 2
4784.85760.7 127 oilbbl
India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 2
2962470.9 1198 oilbbl
Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 1
2916463.6 140 oilbbl
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 2
2569.28408.5 82 oilbbl
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 
2485395,083.4 193 oilbbl
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 (OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

)
2376377,753.8 25 oilbbl
Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 
2261.36359,527.5 33 oilbbl
South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 2
2174.91345,783.1 48 oilbbl
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 1
2128.46338,398.1 109 oilbbl
France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 2
1986.26315,790.1 62 oilbbl
Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

)
1741276,796.9 74 oilbbl
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 1
1709.66271,814.2 61 oilbbl
Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 2
1639.01260,581.8 60 oilbbl

Source: US Energy Information Administration

Population Data:

1 peak production of oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 already passed in this state


2 This country is not a major oil producer

Production


In petroleum industry parlance, production refers to the quantity of crude extracted from reserves, not the literal creation of the product.
# Producing Nation 103bbl/d (2006) 103bbl/d (2007) 103bbl/d (2008) 103bbl/d (2009) Present Share
1 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 (OPEC)
10,665 10,234 10,782 9,760 11.8%
2 Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 1
9,677 9,876 9,789 9,934 12.0%
3 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 1
8,331 8,481 8,514 9,141 11.1%
4 Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (OPEC)
4,148 4,043 4,174 4,177 5.1%
5 China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

3,846 3,901 3,973 3,996 4.8%
6 Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 2
3,288 3,358 3,350 3,294 4.0%
7 Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 1
3,707 3,501 3,185 3,001 3.6%
8 United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (OPEC)
2,945 2,948 3,046 2,795 3.4%
9 Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 (OPEC)
2,675 2,613 2,742 2,496 3.0%
10 Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 (OPEC) 1
2,803 2,667 2,643 2,471 3.0%
11 Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 1
2,786 2,565 2,466 2,350 2.8%
12 Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

2,166 2,279 2,401 2,577 3.1%
13 Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (OPEC) 3
2,008 2,094 2,385 2,400 2.9%
14 Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 (OPEC)
2,122 2,173 2,179 2,126 2.6%
15 Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 (OPEC)
2,443 2,352 2,169 2,211 2.7%
16 Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 (OPEC)
1,435 1,769 2,014 1,948 2.4%
17 Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 (OPEC)
1,809 1,845 1,875 1,789 2.2%
18 United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

1,689 1,690 1,584 1,422 1.7%
19 Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

1,388 1,445 1,429 1,540 1.9%
20 Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 (OPEC)
1,141 1,136 1,207 1,213 1.5%
21 Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

1,102 1,044 1,051 1,023 1.2%
22 India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

854 881 884 877 1.1%
23 Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

648 850 875 1,012 1.2%
24 Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

802 791 792 794 1.0%
25 Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

743 714 761 816 1.0%
26 Malaysia 729 703 727 693 0.8%
27 Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

667 664 631 678 0.8%
28 Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

544 543 601 686 0.8%
29 Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

552 595 586 588 0.7%
30 Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 (OPEC)
536 512 505 485 0.6%
31 Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

380 466 480 486 0.6%
32 Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

449 446 426 400 0.5%
33 Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where the capital Malabo is situated.Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the...

386 400 359 346 0.4%
34 Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

334 349 361 339 0.4%
35 Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

362 352 314 346 0.4%
36 Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

377 361 300 287 0.3%
37 Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

344 314 289 262 0.3%
38 Gabon
Gabon
Gabon , officially the Gabonese Republic is a state in west central Africa sharing borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean is to the west...

237 244 248 242 0.3%
39 South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

204 199 195 192 0.2%
40 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

No data 180 189 198 0.2%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

1 Peak production of conventional oil already passed in this state

2 Although Canadian conventional oil production is declining, total oil production is increasing as oil sands production grows. If oil sands are included, it has the world's second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

3 Though still a member, Iraq has not been included in production figures since 1998

Export



In order of net exports in 2009 and 2006 in thousand bbl
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

/d
Day
A day is a unit of time, commonly defined as an interval equal to 24 hours. It also can mean that portion of the full day during which a location is illuminated by the light of the sun...

 and thousand m³/d:
# Exporting Nation 103bbl/d (2009) 103m3/d (2009) 103bbl/d (2006) 103m3/d (2006)
1 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 (OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

)
7,322 1,164 8,651 1,376
2 Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 1
7,194 1,144 6,565 1,044
3 Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (OPEC)
2,486 395 2,519 401
4 United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (OPEC)
2,303 366 2,515 400
5 Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 1
2,132 339 2,542 404
6 Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 (OPEC)
2,124 338 2,150 342
7 Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 (OPEC)
1,939 308 2,146 341
8 Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 (OPEC)
1,878 299 1,363 217
9 Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 (OPEC) 1
1,767 281 1,847 297
10 Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 (OPEC)
1,764 280 1,438 229
11 Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 (OPEC) 1
1,748 278 2,203 350
12 Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 (OPEC) 1
1,525 242 1,525 242
13 Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

1,299 207 1,114 177
14 Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 2
1,168 187 1,071 170
15 Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 (OPEC)
1,066 169 - -
- Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 1
1,039 165 1,676 266

Source: US Energy Information Administration

1 peak production
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 already passed in this state


2 Canadian statistics are complicated by the fact it is both an importer and exporter of crude oil, and refines large amounts of oil for the U.S. market. It is the leading source of U.S. imports of oil and products, averaging 2500000 oilbbl/d in August 2007.
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbblpd_m.htm.


Total world production/consumption (as of 2005) is approximately 84 Moilbbl/d.

Import


In order of net imports in 2009 and 2006 in thousand bbl
Barrel (unit)
A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

/d
Day
A day is a unit of time, commonly defined as an interval equal to 24 hours. It also can mean that portion of the full day during which a location is illuminated by the light of the sun...

 and thousand m³/d:
# Importing Nation 103bbl/day (2009) 103m3/day (2009) 103bbl/day (2006) 103m3/day (2006)
1 United States 1 9,631 1,531 12,220 1,943
2 China 2 4,328 688 3,438 547
3 Japan 4,235 673 5,097 810
4 Germany 2,323 369 2,483 395
5 India 2,233 355 1,687 268
6 South Korea 2,139 340 2,150 342
7 France 1,749 278 1,893 301
8 United Kingdom 1,588 252 - -
9 Spain 1,439 229 1,555 247
10 Italy 1,381 220 1,558 248
11 Netherlands 973 155 936 149
12 Republic of China (Taiwan) 944 150 942 150
13 Singapore 916 146 787 125
14 Turkey 650 103 576 92
15 Belgium 597 95 546 87
- Thailand 538 86 606 96

Source: US Energy Information Administration

1 peak production of oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 already passed in this state


2 Major oil producer whose production is still increasing

Non-producing consumers


Countries whose oil production is 10% or less of their consumption.
# Consuming Nation (bbl/day) (m³/day)
1 Japan 5,578,000 886,831
2 Germany 2,677,000 425,609
3 South Korea 2,061,000 327,673
4 France 2,060,000 327,514
5 Italy 1,874,000 297,942
6 Spain 1,537,000 244,363
7 Netherlands 946,700 150,513
8 Turkey 575,011 91,663

Source: CIA World Factbook

Environmental effects



Because petroleum is a naturally occurring substance, its presence in the environment need not be the result of human causes such as accidents and routine activities ( seismic
Seismology
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic,...

 exploration, drilling
Boring (earth)
Boring is drilling a hole, tunnel, or well in the earth.-Earth boring:Boring is used for a wide variety of applications in geology, agriculture, hydrology, civil engineering, and oil and natural gas industries...

, extraction, refining and combustion). Phenomena such as seeps and tar pit
Tar pit
A tar pit, or more accurately known as an asphalt pit or asphalt lake, is a geological occurrence where subterranean bitumen leaks to the surface, creating a large area of natural asphalt.-Known tar pits:...

s are examples of areas that petroleum naturally affects. Regardless of source, petroleum's effects when released into the environment are similar.

Global warming


When burned, petroleum releases carbon dioxide; a greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

. Along with the burning of coal, petroleum combustion is the largest contributor to the increase in atmospheric CO2. Atmospheric CO2 has risen steadily since the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 to current levels of over 380ppmv, from the 180 - 300ppmv of the prior 800 thousand years, driving global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

.

Extraction


Oil extraction is simply the removal of oil from the reservoir (oil pool). Oil is often recovered as a water-in-oil emulsion, and specialty chemicals called demulsifiers are used to separate the oil from water. Oil extraction is costly and sometimes environmentally damaging, although Dr. John Hunt
John Hunt (oceanographer)
John M. Hunt was a geologist, chemist, and oceanographer. He worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution beginning in 1968. His specialty was petroleum geochemistry, and he wrote the standard textbook Petroleum Geochemistry and Geology....

 of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research...

 pointed out in a 1981 paper that over 70% of the reserves in the world are associated with visible macroseepage
Seep
A petroleum seep is a place where natural liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons escape to the earth's atmosphere and surface, normally under low pressure or flow. Seeps generally occur above either terrestrial or offshore petroleum accumulation structures...

s, and many oil fields are found due to natural seep
Seep
A petroleum seep is a place where natural liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons escape to the earth's atmosphere and surface, normally under low pressure or flow. Seeps generally occur above either terrestrial or offshore petroleum accumulation structures...

s. Offshore exploration and extraction of oil disturbs the surrounding marine environment.

Oil spills



Crude oil and refined fuel spills
Oil spill
An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is mostly used to describe marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters...

 from tanker ship
Tanker (ship)
A tanker is a ship designed to transport liquids in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and the liquefied natural gas carrier.-Background:...

 accidents have damaged natural ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s in Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, the Galapagos Islands
Galápagos Islands
The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.The Galápagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan 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., Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Atlantic Empress
Atlantic Empress
The Atlantic Empress was a Greek oil tanker that was involved in two large oil spills. The spills together are the fifth largest oil spill on record and the largest ship-based spill....

, Amoco Cadiz
Amoco Cadiz
Amoco Cadiz was a very large crude carrier , owned by Amoco, that ran aground on Portsall Rocks, from the coast of Brittany, France, on 16 March 1978, and ultimately split in three and sank, all together resulting in the largest oil spill of its kind in history to that date.-Oil spill:Amoco Cadiz...

). Smaller spills have already proven to have a great impact on ecosystems, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill
Exxon Valdez oil spill
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused...



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 beach
Beach
A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of an ocean, sea, lake or river. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles or cobblestones...

es with a thin coating of oil. This can kill sea birds, mammals, shellfish and other organisms it coats. Oil spills on land are more readily containable if a makeshift earth dam
Dam
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity are...

 can be rapidly bulldozed around the spill site before most of the oil escapes, and land animals can avoid the oil more easily.

Control of oil spills is difficult, requires ad hoc methods, and often a large amount of manpower. The dropping of bombs and incendiary devices from aircraft on the Torrey Canyon
Torrey Canyon
The Torrey Canyon was a supertanker capable of carrying a cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil, which was shipwrecked off the western coast of Cornwall, England in March 1967 causing an environmental disaster...

 wreck produced poor results; modern techniques would include pumping the oil from the wreck, like in the Prestige oil spill
Prestige oil spill
The Prestige oil spill was an oil spill off the coast of Galicia caused by the sinking of an oil tanker in 2002. The spill polluted thousands of kilometers of coastline and more than one thousand beaches on the Spanish, French and Portuguese coast, as well as causing great harm to the local fishing...

 or the Erika
Erika (tanker)
Erika was the name of a tanker built in 1975 and last chartered by Total-Fina-Elf. She sank off the coast of France in 1999, causing a major environmental disaster.- Background :Erika was one of eight sister ships built in Japan...

 oil spill.

Though crude oil is predominantly composed of various hydrocarbons, certain nitrogen heterocylic compounds, such as pyridine
Pyridine
Pyridine is a basic heterocyclic organic compound with the chemical formula C5H5N. It is structurally related to benzene, with one C-H group replaced by a nitrogen atom...

, picoline
Picoline
Picoline refers to three different methylpyridine isomers, all with the chemical formula C6H7N and a molar mass of 93.13 g mol−1. All three are colourless liquids at room temperature and pressure and are miscible with water and most organic solvents...

, and quinoline
Quinoline
Quinoline is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound. It has the formula C9H7N and is a colourless hygroscopic liquid with a strong odour. Aged samples, if exposed to light, become yellow and later brown...

 are reported as contaminants associated with crude oil, as well as facilities processing oil shale or coal, and have also been found at legacy wood treatment sites. These compounds have a very high water solubility, and thus tend to dissolve and move with water. Certain naturally occurring bacteria, such as Micrococcus
Micrococcus
Micrococcus is a genus of bacteria in the Micrococcaceae family. Micrococcus occurs in a wide range of environments, including water, dust, and soil. Micrococci have Gram-positive spherical cells ranging from about 0.5 to 3 micrometers in diameter and are typically appear in tetrads...

, Arthrobacter
Arthrobacter
Arthrobacter is a genus of bacteria that is commonly found in soil. All species in this genus are Gram-positive obligate aerobes that are rods during exponential growth and cocci in their stationary phase....

, and Rhodococcus
Rhodococcus
Rhodococcus is a genus of aerobic, nonsporulating, nonmotile Gram-positive bacteria closely related to Mycobacteria and Corynebacteria. While a few species are pathogenic, most are benign and have been found to thrive in a broad range of environments, including soil, water, and eukaryotic cells...

 and have been shown to degrade these contaminants.

Degradation of underground tanks located at gas stations may also occur, significantly affecting soil and groundwater. In these instances of the biological degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons, solutions such as bioremediation may be used.

Tarballs


A tarball is a blob of oil (not to be confused with tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

, which is typically derived from pine trees rather than petroleum) which has been weathered after floating in the ocean. Tarballs are an aquatic pollutant
Pollutant
A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil, and is the cause of pollution.Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, its concentration and its persistence. Some pollutants are biodegradable and therefore will not persist in the environment in the...

 in most environments, although they can occur naturally, for example, in the Santa Barbara Channel of California. Their concentration and features have been used to assess the extent of oil spills. Their composition can be used to identify their sources of origin, and tarballs themselves may be dispersed over long distances by deep sea currents. They are slowly decomposed by bacteria, including Chromobacterium violaceum
Chromobacterium violaceum
Chromobacterium violaceum is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, non-sporing coccobacillus. It is part of the normal flora of water and soil of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It produces a natural antibiotic called violacein, which may be useful for the treatment of colon and...

, Cladosporium resinae, Bacillus submarinus, Micrococcus varians, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium that can cause disease in animals, including humans. It is found in soil, water, skin flora, and most man-made environments throughout the world. It thrives not only in normal atmospheres, but also in hypoxic atmospheres, and has, thus, colonized many...

, Candida marina and Saccharomyces estuari.

Whales


James S. Robbins has argued that the advent of petroleum-refined kerosene saved some species of great whales from extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 by providing an inexpensive substitute for whale oil, thus eliminating the economic imperative for open-boat whaling
Whaling
Whaling is the hunting of whales mainly for meat and oil. Its earliest forms date to at least 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of sustenance whaling and harvesting beached whales...

.

Alternatives to petroleum


In the United States in 2007 about 70% of petroleum was used for transportation (e.g. petrol, diesel, jet fuel), 24% by industry (e.g. production of plastics), 5% for residential and commercial uses, and 2% for electricity production. Outside of the US, a higher proportion of petroleum tends to be used for electricity.

Alternatives to petroleum-based vehicle fuels




Alternative fuel vehicle
Alternative fuel vehicle
An alternative fuel vehicle is a vehicle that runs on a fuel other than "traditional" petroleum fuels ; and also refers to any technology of powering an engine that does not involve solely petroleum...

s refers to both:
  • vehicles that use alternative fuel
    Alternative fuel
    Alternative fuels, known as non-conventional or advanced fuels, are any materials or substances that can be used as fuels, other than conventional fuels...

    s used in standard or modified internal combustion engine
    Internal combustion engine
    The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

    s such as natural gas vehicle
    Natural gas vehicle
    thumb|right|200px|2009 [[Honda Civic GX]] hooked up to Phill refueling system.A natural gas vehicle or NGV is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas as a clean alternative to other fossil fuels...

    s, neat ethanol vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicle
    Flexible-fuel vehicle
    A flexible-fuel vehicle or dual-fuel vehicle is an alternative fuel vehicle with an internal combustion engine designed to run on more than one fuel, usually gasoline blended with either ethanol or methanol fuel, and both fuels are stored in the same common tank...

    s, biodiesel
    Biodiesel
    Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

    -powered vehicles, and hydrogen vehicle
    Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle
    A hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle is a type of hydrogen vehicle using an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicles are different from hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ; the hydrogen internal combustion engine is simply a modified version of the traditional...

    s.
  • vehicles with advanced propulsion systems that reduce or substitute petroleum use such as battery electric vehicle
    Battery electric vehicle
    A battery electric vehicle, or BEV, is a type of electric vehicle that uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of, or in addition to, internal combustion engines for propulsion.A battery-only electric vehicle or...

    s, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
    Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
    A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle , plug-in hybrid vehicle , or plug-in hybrid is a hybrid vehicle which utilizes rechargeable batteries, or another energy storage device, that can be restored to full charge by connecting a plug to an external electric power source...

    s, hybrid electric vehicle
    Hybrid electric vehicle
    A hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a conventional...

    s, and hydrogen
    Hydrogen vehicle
    A hydrogen vehicle is a vehicle that uses hydrogen as its onboard fuel for motive power. Hydrogen vehicles include hydrogen fueled space rockets, as well as automobiles and other transportation vehicles...

     fuel cell vehicle
    Fuel cell vehicle
    A Fuel cell vehicle or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle is a type of hydrogen vehicle which uses a fuel cell to produce electricity, powering its on-board electric motor...

    s.

Alternatives to using oil in industry



Biological feedstocks do exist for industrial uses such as Bioplastic
Bioplastic
Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, pea starch, or microbiota, rather than fossil-fuel plastics which are derived from petroleum...

 production.

Alternatives to burning petroleum for electricity



In oil producing countries with little refinery capacity, oil is sometimes burned to produce electricity. Renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 technologies such as solar power
Solar power
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available...

, wind power
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

, micro hydro
Micro hydro
Micro hydro is a term used for hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of electricity. These installations can provide power to an isolated home or small community, or are sometimes connected to electric power networks....

, biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 and biofuels might someday be used to replace some of these generators, but today the primary alternatives remain large scale hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

, nuclear
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 and coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

-fired generation.

Future of petroleum production


Consumption in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been abundantly pushed by automobile growth; the 1985-2003 oil glut
1980s oil glut
The 1980s oil glut was a serious surplus of crude oil caused by falling demand following the 1970s Energy Crisis. The world price of oil, which had peaked in 1980 at over US$35 per barrel , fell in 1986 from $27 to below $10...

 even fuelled the sales of low economy vehicles in OECD countries. In 2008, the economic crisis seems to have some impact on the sales of such vehicles; still, the 2008 oil consumption shows a small increase. The BRIC
BRIC
In economics, BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development...

 countries might also kick in, as China briefly was the first automobile market in December 2009. The immediate outlook still hints upwards.
In the long term, uncertainties linger; the OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

 believes that the OECD countries will push low consumption policies at some point in the future; when that happens, it will definitely curb the oil sales, and both OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

 and EIA
Energy Information Administration
The U.S. Energy Information Administration is the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and...

 kept lowering their 2020 consumption estimates during the past 5 years. Oil products are more and more in competition with alternative sources, mainly coal and natural gas, both cheaper sources.

Production will also face an increasingly complex situation; while OPEC countries still have large reserves at low production prices, newly found reservoirs often lead to higher prices; offshore giants such as Tupi
Tupi oil field
Tupi oil field is a large oil field located in the Santos Basin, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The field was named in honor of the Tupi people and is considered to be Western Hemisphere's largest oil discovery of the last 30 years.-History:...

, Guara and Tiber
Tiber oilfield
The Tiber Oil Field is a deepwater offshore oil field located in the Keathley Canyon block 102 of the United States sector of the Gulf of Mexico. The deepwater field was discovered in September 2009 and it is operated by BP. Described as a "giant" find, it is estimated to contain of oil in place...

 demand high investments and ever-increasing technological abilities. Subsalt reservoirs such as Tupi were unknown in the twentieth century, mainly because the industry was unable to probe them. Enhanced Oil Recovery
Enhanced oil recovery
Enhanced Oil Recovery is a generic term for techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field...

 (EOR) techniques (example: DaQing
Daqing Field
Daqing Field , formerly called "Taching", is the largest oil field in the People's Republic of China, located between the Songhua river and Nunjiang river in Heilongjiang province....

, China ) will continue to play a major role in increasing the world's recoverable oil.

Hubbert peak theory


The Hubbert peak theory (also known as peak oil) posits that future petroleum production (whether for individual oil wells, entire oil fields, whole countries, or worldwide production) will eventually peak and then decline at a similar rate to the rate of increase before the peak as these reserves are exhausted. The peak of oil discoveries was in 1965, and oil production per year has surpassed oil discoveries every year since 1980.

Hubbert applied his theory to predict the peak of U.S. oil production at a date between 1966 and 1970. This prediction was based on data available at the time of his publication in 1956. In the same paper, Hubbert predicts world peak oil in "half a century" after his publication, which would be 2006.

It is difficult to predict the oil peak
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 in any given region, due to the lack of knowledge and/or transparency in accounting of global oil reserves. The scientist and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because OPEC members over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share. Based on available production data, proponents have previously predicted the peak for the world to be in years 1989, 1995, or 1995-2000. Some of these predictions date from before the recession of the early 1980s, and the consequent reduction in global consumption, the effect of which was to delay the date of any peak by several years. Just as the 1971 U.S. peak in oil production was only clearly recognized after the fact, a peak in world production will be difficult to discern until production clearly drops off.

The International Energy Agency
International Energy Agency
The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis...

 (IEA) says production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006. Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on petroleum, peak oil could lead to a "partial or complete failure of markets."

See also



  • Barrel of oil equivalent
    Barrel of oil equivalent
    The barrel of oil equivalent is a unit of energy based on the approximate energy released by burning one barrel of crude oil. The US Internal Revenue Service defines it as equal to 5.8 × 106 BTU...

  • Gas oil ratio
    Gas oil ratio
    When oil is brought to surface conditions it is usual for some natural gas to come out of solution. The gas/oil ratio is the ratio of the volume of gas that comes out of solution, to the volume of oil at standard conditions....

  • Gross domestic product per barrel
    Gross domestic product per barrel
    Energy efficiency as it relates to oil usage can be described by the gross domestic product per barrel of oil used . The original data for this is taken from two sources, the and the List of countries by GDP article from Wikipedia...

  • List of countries by proven oil reserves
  • List of oil fields
  • List of petroleum companies
  • Manure-derived synthetic crude oil
  • Oil burden
    Oil burden
    Oil burden is the volume of petroleum consumed multiplied by the average price and divided by nominal gross domestic product.This gives the proportion of the world economy devoted to buying oil. It is a concept developed by Veronique Riches-Flores of Société Générale. It is also referred to as...

  • Petroleum geology
    Petroleum geology
    Petroleum geology refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons .-Sedimentary basin analysis:...

  • Thermal depolymerization
    Thermal depolymerization
    Thermal depolymerization is a depolymerization process using hydrous pyrolysis for the reduction of complex organic materials into light crude oil. It mimics the natural geological processes thought to be involved in the production of fossil fuels...

  • Waste oil
    Waste oil
    Waste oil is defined as any petroleum-based or synthetic oil that, through use or handling, has become unsuitable for its original purpose due to the presence of impurities or loss of original properties.-Differentiating between "waste oil" and "used oil":...

  • Tar Sands
    Tar sands
    Bituminous sands, colloquially known as oil sands or tar sands, are a type of unconventional petroleum deposit. The sands contain naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and a dense and extremely viscous form of petroleum technically referred to as bitumen...


External links