Crude Oil and Natural Gas

Crude oil and Natural Gas are two major domestic and industrial needs all over the world. Crude oil, which is also known as petroleum, is a natural, flammable liquid composed of hydrocarbons that vary in molecular weights and organic compounds. The appearance of crude oil greatly varies from dark brown or black to yellowish and even greenish with regard to its composition.
Crude Oil and Natural Gas
Pumpjack pumping

Natural gas is primarily composed of methane. Apart from being a valuable fuel source, natural gas fulfills major demands of fertilizer and power sectors.

Crude oil is extracted by drilling wells into reservoirs by using "Natural lift" production methods with the help of natural reservoir pressure. However, if the natural pressure dissipates, the oil needs to be pumped out using "Artificial lift" that is created with the help of mechanical pumps that work on electricity or gas.

Crude Oil or petroleum being heterogeneous can be distilled in the oil refineries and used as flues namely ethane, diesel fuel, fuel oils, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas. Oil refineries also produce some end products such as Alkenes (which can be later converted to plastics), lubricants such as greases and motor oils, wax, sulfuric acid etc.

Natural gas is stored underground inside gas reservoirs, salt domes or as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in tanks. It is injected in the reservoirs at the time of low demands and extracted when demands increase.
Crude Oil and Natural Gas
Natural Gas Storage

Natural Gas plays an important part in generation of electricity, which is achieved by using gas turbines and steam turbines. It also serves domestic use such as cooking. Methane, a compressed form of natural gas makes a cleaner automobile fuel as compared to diesel and gasoline (petrol). Natural gas is a source of hydrogen, which in turn serves the chemical industry. Plastic, steel, glass, fabric paint etc. are also manufactured using natural gas.

As we know advantages always come with some disadvantages. Oil and Gas also includes their own disadvantages in the form of environmental effects.

As far as Crude oil is concerned, oil extraction is environmentally damaging as well as costly. Oil spills on land and sea causes significant damage to natural ecosystems. Spills at sea are more dangerous as it can spread for hundreds of miles and can kill mammals, sea birds, shellfish etc. It is difficult to control oil spills, as it requires huge manpower and various difficult methods

Even though natural gas is described to be one of the cleanest fuels, it substantially contributes to carbon emission, which is expected to grow in years to come. However it produces lesser nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide in comparison to various other fuels.

It is expected that there will be a rise of 50%-60% in the global demand for oil and gas by 2030 with the world population growing day by day and oil and gas being the primary sources of energy. Increasing automobile sales is also one of the reasons that lead to increase in demand for petroleum, which is expected to grow in the coming years.

This highlights the fact that the energy industry will have to increase the supply of these energy sources to meet the increase in the demands. The energy industry will require exploiting more conventional as well as unconventional reservoirs in a manner that is environmentally acceptable. This requires a new technology to be developed.

Environment friendly operations such as CO2 sequestration will be a major part of development of new resources. Technology breakthroughs in solar energy, bio fuels and nuclear power can considerably alter rise in demand for energy from oil and gas.

Unconventional resources, as the name suggests, are the reservoirs, which produce gas or oil at very low rate because of various factors such as geographic complexity, low permeability or high viscosity. Exploitation of unconventional resources will be one of the key factors in meeting the demand for energy sources in future.