Oil and Gas Facts

Oil and Gas Facts

Oil and gas are hydrocarbons. Both are comprised of carbon and hydrogen atoms. The natural state of pure oil and gas allows for the elements to be used as fuel in various forms.

The use of oil and gas for energy dates back centuries. Many civilizations have historical documents and drawings showing the use of oil and gas for lighting and other energy needs.

The modern oil and gas industry began in the 1800s in the US. The oil and gas industry grew as demand for energy increased with the Industrial Revolution, railroads, modern transportation and other forms of production and manufacturing.

Today, uses for oil and gas continue to increase throughout the world. The US continues to use the resources to fuel growth, as do many emerging nations around the world.

Crude Oil Facts

Crude oil exists in reservoirs or wells underneath the Earth’s surface.

Geologists and other scientists work with oil prospecting companies to study land and underground formations to find reserves suitable for drilling.

Crude oil found in underground wells needs to be brought to the surface and refined for use as energy. The name “crude” describes the state of the oil as originally found.

There are varying degrees of crude oil quality that determine the level of refinement. Refineries take the oil pumped from the well and separate it out into the chemical components. Contaminants are removed to make the oil pure. The refiners also produce gasoline and other fuels as energy.

The output from the crude that goes to refineries includes gasoline, petrochemicals (used for plastics), jet fuel, diesel fuel, heating oil, lubricants and other outputs.

Natural Gas Facts

Natural gas is found in wells similar to crude oil. Gas found in wells is comprised of methane, propane, butane and ethane.

Quality of the gas varies just like with crude oil. Refineries are used to process the gas directly from the well where contaminants are removed and the gases are broken out into useful forms.

Natural gas exists underground in deposits that consist mainly of natural gas. However, deposits can be found with crude oil and other deposits. This type of natural gas discovery is known as associated natural gas.

New technology like horizontal drilling is allowing access to more natural gas deposits found in shale formations underground.

Methane gas is used for energy and heat in homes. Propane has various uses including being used to power vehicles, home appliances, barbecue grills and other items. Ethane is used in the production of plastics.

Future Outlook

In the US, oil and gas production is growing. New technologies are allowing the US to drill reserves previously unreachable, which is great for American production.

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