Crude Oil


Did you know that the Crude oil plays a major part in our day today life? Crude oil plays a major part in global economy. In many areas crude oil is the main factor in determining market price in many products. But what is this crude oil? Why does it have so much effect on us and practically everything we own?

You may be do not know about crude oil but you must be familiar with petrol and diesel. These patrol and diesel cannot not found in nature as patrol. They are recovered from crude oil. You must have heard that world will need alternative powers sources since petrol and diesel are becoming hard to retrieve. So let’s get into it.

What is crude oil?

Crude oil is a mixture of organic compounds, yellowish black in colour. They can be found in geological formations. There is another name for crude oil called “petroleum”, which is Latin for “Rock Oil”. But due to their appearance and high price crude oil is named ans “black gold”.

There few sources of crude oil,

  1. Fossil Fuel
  2. Oil Sands
  3. Oil Shale

When large quantities of dead organisms, such as algae and zooplankton are buried under sedimentary rocks for thousands of years under high pressure and heat they turn into a mixture of organic compounds over the years, which is known as fossil fuel

Oil Sands are maybe loose sand or partially hardened sandstones with a mixture of sand, clay and water soaked in an extremely viscous form of oil, known as Asphalt.

Oil Shale is a fine grained sedimentary rock which is rich in organic chemical compounds.

An oil well produces crude oil along with some gasses dissolved. The crude oil is made of mostly carbon with oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and trace amounts of metals such as iron (Fe), nickel(Ni), copper(Cu) and vanadium(V). But the exact molecular composition differs from one oil field to another. Yet the percentage of the above mentioned elements varies within following limits.

ElementPercentage by weight
Carbon 83-85
Hydrogen10-14
Nitrogen0.1-2
Oxygen0.05-1.5
Sulphur0.05-6
Metals<0.01

How crude oil was formed

A massive amount of zooplankton and algae were settled in the sea bed or at the bottom of lakes where there is no flowing water. Over the years more and more layers of dead algae was settled and on the top them settled other sediments. With each and every layer that adds on the pressure and temperature was increased in the underneath layers.

Since these bottoms of seas and lakes have no flowing water they lack dissolved oxygen. Under these low oxygen and high temperature and pressure these algae were converted into a waxy substance called kerogen and kerogen is transformed into hydrocarbons over a process called catagenesis, which is different than normal decaying process.

Pressure, heat along with the original composition of the algae determine the type of hydrocarbons that are going to made. These hydrocarbons make the crude oil. Once the oil is formed it flows from the high pressure to low pressure. Since the pressure rises with the depth the oil usually move upwards. Sometimes the oil move all they way to the surface of the Earth and form an oil seepage. And sometimes the oil trap under rocks or clay and for underground reserves which are drilled and then make into an oil well.

About 80% of the accessible oil reserves are located in the middle east

Brief Introduction in Oil History

Crude oil was used since ancient times. According to some ancient historians Asphalt, a form of crude oil was used in constructions in Babylon more than 4000 years ago. The streets of Baghdad were paved using tar. The Persian and Arabic chemist have used crude oil and refined products for military purposes. Also the Chinese have used crude oil as a fuel more in 4BC and they were the first to record their achievement.

Though there are enough evidence to claim that crude oil and its products were familiar to man, the demand for crude oil did not changed for thousands of years. But since the invention of the internal combustion engine, eventually crude oil and its refined products have become more valuable. Sometimes more than gold.

In modern history James Young who was a chemist, was the first to notice crude oil was seeping in Derbyshire. He was able to distill a less dense oil, which was suitable to use in oil lamp and a more viscous oil which was more suitable for lubricating machinery. He also refined another oil which looked familiar to paraffin wax when it was hardened and he named it as “paraffin oil”. With his inventions eventually James Young was able to start an small business in refining crude oil to make useful products.

Ignacy Lukasiewicz was able to refine kerosene from crude oil, which was later used in kerosene lamps. With these inventions and findings people in the late 1800 were more interested in using products refined from crude oil.

During the 2nd world war many of the oil fields were bombed as by that time an oil field had become an important asset in a country. During Germany’s invasion into Russia, their major goal was to claim Baku oil fields in Azerbaijan, Soviet Russia.

Now you have a simple picture about how crude oil has become the most important asset over the years. Now let’s look into the statistics regarding the crude oil in 2022.

The Top 10 Highest Crude Oil Producing Countries

  1. United States
  2. Saudi Arabia
  3. Russia
  4. China
  5. Canada
  6. Iraq
  7. Iran
  8. United Arab Emirates
  9. Brazil
  10. Kuwait

The Top 10 Highest Oil Exporting Countries

CountryPercentage
1. Saudi Arabia17.2%
2. Russia11%
3. Iraq7.7%
4. United States7.6%
5. United Arab Emirates7.3%
6. Canada7.2%
7. Kuwait4.3%
8. Nigeria3.8%
9. Kazakhstan3.6%
10. Norway3.4%

Highest Oil Consuming Countries

CountryBarrels Per Day
1. United States19,690,000
2. China11,750,000
3. India4,489,000
4. Japan4,026,000
5. Russia3,594,000
6. Saudi Arabia3,237,000
7. Brazil3,018,000
8. South Korea2,630,000
9. Germany2,410,000
10. Canada2,379,000

Crude Oil and Future

Crude oil is not a renewable source. The oil we use today were made for thousands of years and we keep digging and using them. There are no more oil reserves left to be unearthed and even though there were they will not last for a long time. It is estimated that by the 2067 the oil wells in the world will dry out completely. So we need to change completely into a different power source. Because at the time crude oil and its products basically holds the reins in prices. Since every product has to be transported, the oil has effect on the price of raw materials to finished product.

So if we did not change into a different alternative we might end up in misery. Most of motor vehicle productions have turned towards in making electric vehicles over the past decade.

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