The Petroleum Resource Page
Petroleum has been used since Egyptian times for lamp oil; however, they had no conception of the wealth of products that could be developed when petroleum was refined and processed. In 1859, Edwin Drake drilled the first oil well and revealed a glimpse of all the extraordinary products petroleum could supply. Frank and Charles Duryea constructed the first American automobile using gasoline as a fuel in the 1890's and kindled a love affair among Americans, gasoline, and other petroleum derivatives. Modern populations comprehend the limited supply of petroleum and are researching alternatives to replace petroleum and petroleum-derived products.
What It Is
Petroleum is a fossil fuel which, when processed, provides indispensable products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, kerosene, and other fuels. It is created from the remains, or fossils, of plants, animals, and insects. The term petroleum usually refers to crude oil, but can also include natural gas. Both contain a mixture of hydrocarbons, and its composition (liquid or gas) depends on the subsurface conditions.
- What is Petroleum – Fact sheet on petroleum.
- Petroleum and Coal – A brief history of petroleum and the chemistry involved in its production.
- Virginia Petroleum – Fact sheet on Virginia petroleum production, refining, transportation, and consumption.
- Why We Need Petroleum – Fact sheet on the benefits of petroleum.
Composition, Chemistry, and Formation
The composition, chemistry, and formation of petroleum are complex subjects. The types of hydrocarbons in crude oil are typically cycloalkanes, alkanes, and aromatic hydrocarbons, while the organic components are usually sulfer, nitrogen, and oxygen. The color of crude oil is highly dependent on its composition, which varies greatly.
- Petroleum Composition, Chemistry, and Formation – Lecture notes on petroleum chemistry.
- Diamondoids– Explains diamondoids and their role in oil and natural gas fouling.
Crude oil, a fossil fuel, is ordinarily found underground and occurs naturally. Oil wells are used to dig for and bring crude oil to the Earth's surface. It is then refined and processed to produce byproducts like petroleum.
Crude oil is classified based on two criteria; where it is produced and how much sulfur it contains. Price is determined by classification.
- Understanding Engine Oil Labels – Information on API classifications for engine oil.
The petroleum industry handles all modalities of finding and bringing to market petroleum products. Providing a consistent supply of fuels is the major focus of the petroleum industry, but continuing research and exploration to find new sources of crude oil are vital as well.
- Oil and Gas – The petroleum industry’s online news journal.
Mankind has used petroleum from ancient times to present. As transportation sources using petroleum fuels increased, so did the demand for petroleum. As a nation, America is very dependent on a steady supply of petroleum to keep the country running.
- History of the Oil Industry – Links to articles about the history of the oil industry.
- History of the Petroleum Industry- Informative article about history and trends of the petroleum industry.
Why are fuel costs so high? Ask ten people this question and you will receive ten different answers that will probably all come down to the same fact: supply and demand. As oil supplies dwindle, costs rise. Research to find new fuel sources and alternatives drive costs; the cost of fuel must rise or decrease based on economics and supply and demand factors.
- Petroleum Costs – Links to data about the costs of petroleum and crude oil.
- Strategic Petroleum Reserve – Information about the petroleum reserve and how it influences petroleum costs.
- Reduce Oil Dependence – Report on how car selection helps reduce oil dependence.
Fuels and Other Derivatives
Fuels like petroleum produce interesting derivatives – just think about the moisturizing properties of petroleum jelly. Did you know countless cosmetics depend on petroleum as a basic ingredient? Medical devices like heart valves and contact lenses, fabric, and even inks are all byproducts of petroleum.
- Fossil Fuels – Overview of fossil fuels.
- Biofuels For Transportation–Overview of biofuels and their use as fuel sources.
The need for gasoline to fuel automobiles is huge. Due to steadily decreasing fossil fuel supplies, many car manufacturers are developing vehicles powered by gasoline alternatives like ethanol or electricity.
- Automotive Gasoline - FAQs about where gasoline comes from, composition of gasoline, and common additives.
- California Gasoline Data – Fact sheet on prices, ways to save on gasoline, problems and concerns and other issues.
Consumption and Production
As Americans, we realize consumption of petroleum is growing faster than supply. Many fear that as a nation, we will exhaust our fossil fuel supplies before sustainable renewable sources are developed. While many of these means of alternative fuel are still under development or experimental, we have come a long way in finding alternatives to gasoline and petroleum.
- End of the Oil Age– Excerpt of a speech given by David Goodstein, author of Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil.
- Petroleum Consumption/Sales - Data and statistics on fuel consuption from the Department of Energy.
- Crude Reserves and Production - More production statistics from the DOE.
The true environmental effects of fuels such as petroleum are still unknown, but years of research have provided much data regarding the effects. Damage to wildlife from oil spills is undeniable, as is water pollution. On-going research and efforts to minimize the environmental impact of petroleum are necessary.
- Oil Production and Environmental Effects – Scholarly paper on how petroleum affects the environment.
- Environmental Problems – An excerpt from The Nuclear Energy Option by Bernard L. Cohen.
Environmental concerns as well as fears of shortages drive the search for economical and eco-friendly petroleum alternatives. Bio-fuels such as ethanol or bio-diesel are proving to be good alternative fuel sources.
- Alcohol as Fuel – A look at using alcohol as a motor fuel.
- Bio-fuels – The pros and cons of bio-fuels as a petroleum alternative.
- Ethanol – Article contrasting the benefits versus the disadvantages of ethanol as an alternative fuel source.
- Ethanol as Gas Substitute – Report of study on ethanol as fuel.
Research Organizations, Institutions, and Universities
Research is ongoing in the petroleum industry for more efficient ways to provide the energy needs of a constantly growing consumer base. This increased research activity is combined with a growing need for qualified professionals to help with research and development.
- Petroleum Research Center – Flow sheet of on-going research in the petroleum industry.
- Energy Institute of the Americas – Works through education and research to promote cost-effective and environmentally-friendly growth in the field of energy.
- Universities – List of Petroleum engineering and technology schools.
The petroleum industry is complex and varied. There is much to learn about petroleum, from the chemical aspects to its products and derivatives. The petroleum industry is one of the most hotly debated and most researched areas in science today.
- Petroleum Refining Method– Biography of Edith Flanigan, inventor of molecular sieves.
- World Petroleum – Fact sheet on world petroleum.
- Petroleum Links - Fact sheets, statistics, and information about petroleum.
Professional Societies and Consortia
Most industries, like the petroleum industry, have a group of professional societies or consortia with which they are affiliated. These societies provide educational, networking, and career opportunities for the professionals in that field. Such groups may even provide certifications to professionals like petroleum engineers and researchers.
- American Petroleum Institute (API) – Represents the American oil and natural gas industry.
- Society of Petroleum Engineers – Collects and distributes educational information about oil and natural gas for public and professional benefit.
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists - The world's largest geological society.
- Consortium for Petrochemical Industry Benchmarking - Group of petrochemical companies devoted to conducting benchmarking studies for the petroleum industry.
Written By: Edson Farnell | Email |
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