Oil is a nonpolar chemical compound made up of hydrocarbons. It is both lipophilic and hydrophobic, and most oils are flammable and surface active. They are also typically unsaturated lipids, and are liquid at room temperature. Regardless of source, there is an oil that has specific properties, including its use in various industries. Below, we’ll explain what oil is and how it’s made. But first, let’s define oil.
Petrol is a fossil fuel. It was formed through the transformation of dead organisms that were trapped in the Earth’s mantle or sea floor. These organic materials were then heated and pressed until they dissolved into oily substances. These products have numerous uses, including transportation, heating, lighting, lubricants, clothing, and industrials. Today, petroleum is used in almost everything from cars to household goods. Its importance cannot be overstated.
Petroleum is found in three forms: gaseous, liquid, and solid. It is most commonly found in the liquid form. It is a complex mixture of hydrocarbon molecules. In its solid or viscous form, petroleum exists as a viscous substance called bitumen. Natural gas is another form of petroleum, and tar sands are a major source of petroleum. In this way, petroleum serves as a fuel and is an essential part of our daily lives.
Crude oil is a natural petroleum product, a mixture of hydrocarbon deposits and organic materials, which is used to produce fuels, plastics, and other products. This nonrenewable resource is extracted from the earth and refined into products that we use every day. These refined products range from gasoline to jet fuel. Crude oil is traded in global markets as spot oil and derivative contracts. But there is a catch: oil is a finite resource. New oil will not be available for millions of years.
As a result, crude oil is classified according to its hydrocarbon composition. The main types of crude oil are light, medium, and heavy. Light oils contain 97% of hydrocarbons, while heavier ones contain 50% or more. These types of oil also contain larger amounts of other elements. Almost all crudes must undergo a refinery process to produce useful products. In addition, oil with a high asphaltene content is thicker.
Oil condensate, sometimes referred to as “natural gasoline,” is a naturally occurring gaseous hydrocarbon that liquefies at surface temperatures. Though often considered part of crude oil production, some OPEC members seek to produce large quantities of condensate outside of their official quotas. But the problem is not limited to shipping condensate. The SANCHI incident raised awareness about the hazards of transporting condensate by sea.
Oil condensate is often produced by reducing pressure in a reservoir to extract hydrocarbons. This hydrocarbon mixture is light and transparent, but it is very volatile, making it dangerous to transport and store in a conventional manner. For this reason, it must be stabilized, and often undergoes various steps. It is then pumped to a storage tank, which is usually referred to as a “bullet tank.”
Despite its name, bitumen from the oil sands is not a liquid fuel, and must undergo an intermediate upgrading process before it can be sold on the open market. Upgrading involves blending crude bitumen with lighter hydrocarbons to lower its density, which makes it suitable for pipeline transportation. Oil sands upgraders then use the lighter bitumen to produce synthetic crude oil. The crude oil produced from the process is also more environmentally friendly than conventional oil as it is less flammable.
The development of oil sands is the most energy-intensive oil production process on Earth, with wetlands and rivers being drained and trees stripped from forests. In 2014, the cost of crude oil from oil sands production was over $60 a barrel, but improvements in technology and efficiencies have lowered this cost to around $50 a barrel. However, even in the best of times, the industry’s margins are thin.
Oil shale oil
The process of recovering oil from oil shale is called extraction and is not limited to any one type of deposit. It is used in a variety of industrial processes, including petrochemical manufacturing. The process involves thermal decomposition of oil shale, which is formed from trapped plant and animal remains millions of years ago. As the oil is heated, it releases petroleum-like liquids. The liquid fraction of the oil is composed of condensable hydrocarbons and small amounts of decomposition water. The gaseous portion is made of carbon monoxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, and methane. The inorganic minerals that are left are known as carbonaceous residue.
The United States has some of the largest known deposits of oil shale in the world. Recovering oil from oil shale in the United States would reduce the need for imported oil, put people to work, and decrease our country’s reliance on foreign trade and fluctuating oil prices. However, not all oil shale is recoverable, and the process can be complicated. The chemical composition and depositional history of oil shales determine whether they are recoverable or not. Oil shale in Australia is siliceous and less complex than oil shales in the Western United States.
Oil shale oil sands
In Canada, there are currently 36 active and planned oil sands projects. The three largest are the Great Divide, Halfway Creek, and Horizon mines. Each has a production capacity of up to ten kbb/d. While only 20% of the oil sands can be extracted using an open pit technique, a number of existing projects are expected to meet or exceed production goals by the end of 2008.
There are many challenges facing the development of oil shale. The process of in-situ processing is highly energy-intensive, consumes water, and contaminates ground water. Moreover, it disturbs topography, degrades ground-water quality, and exposes the area to harmful gases. As a result, environmental concerns led to the cancellation of the U.S. federal oil shale research program in 1994.