Oil was made out of animal and plant remains, of animals that had lived in water many millions years ago. On the picture you can see the development of the oil and the natural gas shown in three steps. The first step was 300-400 millions of years ago. Then remains started to sediment on ocean’s bottom and with time all was covered with sand and mud. Before 50-100 millions years those remains were already covered with big layer of sand and mud which created huge pressures and high temperatures. As a result of these conditions raw oil as well as natural gas turned up. Today we drill through the huge layers of mud, sand and cliffs in order to get to oil wells. Before drilling through of all those layers starts, scientists and engineers are studying cliff’s structure. If a cliff’s structure points to a possible oil well, drilling starts. The big problem during the drilling and transportation is possibility of oil leakage in to an environment. New technologies are making possible to increase the precision when searching oil, resulting in smaller number of necessary wells. In 1990 law that every newly built tanker must have double shell in order to prevent oil leakage in a case of shipwreck was laid down. Despite all technology improvements in drilling and transportation, oil leakage in the sea still happens very often, having as a result almost complete extermination of animals and plants in that part of the sea. Although there’s the big sea pollution as the consequence of oil leakage, when relating with air pollution is in fact negligible. Oil derivatives, when combusting are releasing large quantities of the carbon dioxide in to an atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and with its release in to an atmosphere we are influencing to an increase of global temperature on Earth. In order to solve this problem, Kyoto protocol was promoted, but largest pollutants still didn’t ratified it.
Most people think that oil is located in some underground pools, but this is not the case. Oil is located compendious in small pores between the rocks under the very big pressure (picture right). When we make a drill till the depth in which pores containing oil are located, that small drops are rushing to oil well because of the huge pressure. This can be compared with releasing the air out of the balloon. When we let go the balloon’s throat, the air that is pressured inside, rushes out. Same happens with the oil as well, oil under pressure rushes through the well up to the surface. Because of that in past times, sometimes used to happen that the large amounts of oil were spilled because of the lack of the readiness. First of all, the natural pressure bursts the oil outside through the well, and after that oil companies are deciding to pump the oil out of the well. These two fazes of exploitation are called primary production. After that about 75 % of oil’s starting amount is still in the well. That’s the reason why are oil companies deciding to flood oil wells with water. Through some other well they’re pumping water in to a well and are “washing” one part of the remaining oil with it. Thanks to this 15 % more of oil’s starting amount is gained. Finally, there’s about 60 % of oil still in the well, which we for time being still don’t know how to pump out.
PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND OIL RESERVES
Pointing out USA as the biggest consumer is expected because of their traditional relying on fossil fuels. The biggest producer is Saudi Arabia, followed by Russia and USA. USA with its entire production is covering just 39% of its own needs, so they’re forced to import large quantities of oil. Major oil exporters to USA are Mexico and some countries of the Middle East. Largest reserves of oil are estimated to be in countries of Middle East. Saudi Arabia very much leads the way with 264 x 109 barrels of oil reserves. These are very understandable reasons why USA is always involved in Middle East country’s policy and why USA military forces are always near these areas.
In order to decrease the oil importing dependence, many countries have so called “strategic reserves” which are insuring the independence of importing for couple of months. These reserves are also helping problems with sudden increase of oil price, using these reserves then for amortization. President Bush gave order to fill USA reserves to the full capacity of 700 millions barrel till the year 2005.
Exporting oil countries have formed its Association shortly called OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) which controls price and quantity of the oil that is yet to be produced. These countries are: Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arabian Emirates and Venezuela. Since the oil exporting is the primary economic sector of these countries, there’s the minimum of two meetings per year. The purpose of these meetings is to determine the optimum amount of oil production. Eleven members of OPEC are producing about 40% of the world’s total oil production, having three quarters of totally confirmed world’s reserves.