Petroleum, also called crude oil, is a thick and black liquid. It is mainly made of hydrocarbons. Most petroleum is found in the Middle East, North America, and Russia. It is the most important world energy source. It supplies 38% of the world's energy at the moment.
Petroleum can be easily transported by pipeline. Treated petroleum can be used as fuels; mainly gasoline (petrol) for cars, diesel fuel for diesel engines used in trucks, trains and ships, kerosene fuel for jets and as lubricants.
Other uses of petroleum:
- artificial rubber
- food additives
- textile fibres
Petroleum resource is limited and non-renewable. Some believe it will run out within 70 years. Burning petroleum adds the carbon in the oil to the oxygen in the air to create carbon dioxide. The carbon can be removed from the carbon dioxide by plants.
Crude is chemically speaking a mixture of lots of different chemicals most of which burn well. It is separated by fractional distillation in oil refineries to give separate chemicals such as gasoline (or petrol) for cars, kerosene for airplanes and bitumen for roads. The bitumen gives crude oil its dark black colour; most of the other chemicals in crude are slightly yellow or colourless.
There is a lot of crude oil left underground. Oil companies quote "reserves" which some people confuse with the actual amount of oil underground, but are more to do with extraction costs. Most of the crude left underground is in the Middle East which is not a politically stable part of the world. Some governments with lots of oil reserves work together through OPEC to keep production low and prices high. Policitians complain about high oil prices because voters complain. However many environmentalists worry about the damage being done by using oil as a fuel source (especially global warming) and are therefore happy that prices are kept high so that people use less oil.
Other pages [change]
Other websites [change]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Petroleum|
- US Energy Information Administration - Part of the informative website of the US Government's Energy Information Administration.
- Environmental effects of oil extraction
- BP Statistical Review of World Energy
- PetroTalk Portal for petro related Articles, Discussion, Links and more
- Oil, petroleum: Development, production, consumption and reserves
- World oil consumption World oil consumption
- Department of Energy EIA - World supply and consumption
- Department of Energy EIA - Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports to USA
- US petroleum prices - from US Department of Energy EIA
- European Brent prices since 1987