Demand Essay

3715 words - 15 pages

Demand And Supply Of Crude Oil

10/10/2009

Introduction
Crude oil is a naturally occurring substance (i.e., “Fossil Fuel”, formed from organic remains over a period of millions of years) found in certain rock formations in the earth. It is a dark, sticky liquid which, scientifically speaking, is classified as a hydrocarbon. This means, it is a compound containing carbon and hydrogen, with or without non-metallic elements such as oxygen and sulfur. Crude oil is highly flammable and can be burned to create energy. Derivatives from crude oil make an excellent fuel.

Uses
Different types of oil that are obtained from crude oil are as mentioned below:
1. Ethane and other ...view middle of the document...

The number of barrels contained in each ton varies depending on the type and specific gravity of each crude, however the average number considered would be around 7.33 barrels per each ton


Production
The most common method of obtaining petroleum is extracting it from oil wells found in oil fields. With improved technologies and higher demand for hydrocarbons various methods are applied in petroleum exploration and development to optimize the recovery of oil and gas (Enhanced Oil Recovery, EOR). Primary recovery methods are used to extract oil that is brought to the surface by underground pressure, and can generally recover about 20% of the oil present. The natural pressure can come from several different sources; where it is provided by an underlying water layer it is called a water drive reservoir and where it is from the gas cap above it is called gas drive.
During the oil price increases since 2003, alternative methods of producing oil gained importance. The most widely known alternatives involve extracting oil from sources such as oil shale or tar sands. These resources exist in large quantities; however, extracting the oil at low cost without excessively harming the environment remains a challenge.
Chemically transforming methane or coal into the various hydrocarbons found in oil. The best-known such method is the Fischer-Tropsch process.
As crude oil prices increase, the cost of coal to oil conversion becomes comparatively cheaper. The method involves converting high ash coal into synthetic oil in a multi-stage process.
Currently, two companies have commercialised their Fischer-Tropsch technology. Shell Oil in Bintulu, Malaysia, uses natural gas as a feedstock, and produces primarily low-sulfur diesel fuels. Sasol in South Africa uses coal as a feedstock, and produces a variety of synthetic petroleum products.
The process is today used in South Africa to produce most of the country's diesel fuel from coal by the company Sasol. The process was used in South Africa to meet its energy needs during its isolation under Apartheid. This process produces low sulfur diesel fuel but also produces large amounts of greenhouse gases.
An alternative method of converting coal into petroleum is the Karrick process, which was pioneered in the 1930s in the United States. It uses low temperatures in the absence of ambient air, to distill the short-chain hydrocarbons out of coal instead of petroleum.

Oil shale can also be used to produce oil, either through mining and processing, or in more modern methods, with in-situ thermal conversion.
Conventional crude can be extracted from unconventional reservoirs, such as the Bakken Formation. The formation is about two miles (3 km) underground but only a few meters thick, stretching across hundreds of thousands of square miles. It further has very poor extraction characteristics. Recovery at Elm Coulee has involved extensive use of horizontal drilling, solvents, and proppants.
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