Crude oil is a resource that is essential in our society. Our lives virtually run on this fossil fuel and it is hard to imagine a world without it. Though due to the fact that fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy soon this shall be the case. In this paper I shall talk about crude oil being a valuable resource that will soon run out.
Fossil fuels are hydrocarbon containing natural resources found underground. These natural resources were formed by the remains of animals and plants, also known as biomass, from over 150 million years; this is when the dead sea life and animals were buried under the sea bead. Over millions of years the biomass became covered in silt, sand, mud and other various products that slowly formed into sedimentary rock. The mass of sedimentary rock enables huge pressure to be exerted onto the biomass, this factor combined with the temperature and the fact that there is little to no oxygen and there is bacteria that aids to decay the remains of the animals and plants, causes the material to become oil or other fossil fuels.
There are 3 main examples of fossil fuels, Coal, natural gas and crude oil. All though they are all made in a similar manner, they all vary slightly. Coal is formed by a majority of dead land-based plant life such as trees; the dead plant life then goes through the same high pressure and temperature, as do the crude oil and natural gases. The cellulose in from the dead plant-life changes into Humic acids, which is a product of incomplete decomposition of plant life. It then turns into bitumens, a vicious black liquid that is a mixture of organic materials that is primarily composed of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; it then becomes elementary carbon.
Crude oil is the product of the decomposition of sea-life, which is too buried under sedimentary rock, which put under the right pressure and temperature form crude oil. This oil is deposited in porous rocks, seeping through the rock till it is stopped by non-porous rock. With the oil comes another fossil fuel that is natural gases.
Natural gases primarily consist of methane, it is found with other fossil fuels like coal or oil, and it is formed by the anaerobic decomposition of methanogenic organisms and general biomass. Once theses organisms are compressed, and if it is at lower temperature it becomes oil, and the higher the temperature gets (going towards the earths core) there more gas gets produced, which is why natural gases are usually associated with crude oil.
Diagram of the formation of crude oil and natural gas
Crude oil reservoirs are generally found in areas where there is or was a saline lake of ocean.
Fossil fuels are often referred to as stores of the sun’s energy. This is true in some respects. Energy as we know it can never be destroyed just transferred into different types The plants and animals did get their energy from the sun. The sun also contributed to the heating of the surface, transforming the organic material to oil. The oil we use is a result of the energy given to the animals that have died, from the sun. The sun also helped in the disintegration of the animal after is dead; but what people mean when they say that fossil fuels are stores of the sun’s energy is reinforcing the point of saying that the plants and animals that make the oil got their energy from the sun.
Heat and power will be produced as the chemical potential energy stored in the fossil fuel when Crude oil or any of the fossil fuels are burned. This comes from the energy that was originally sun energy stored in the living species (that under pressure and temperature became the fossil fuels) gets transferred into heat energy, light energy and power.