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Oil is a fossil fuel and liquid hydrocarbon used mainly for the production of transportation fuels and petroleum-based products.

OIL

Definition

Oil, otherwise known as ‘petroleum or crude oil’, is a thick black liquid composed primarily of hydrogen and carbon. Oil also contains trace elements of sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen.[1]Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp 

Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp 
 

Today’s oil deposits were formed millions of years ago, when dead marine organisms sunk to the bottom of the ocean and were buried under deposits of sedimentary rock. Subject to intense heat and pressure, these organisms underwent a transformation in which they were converted to oil over millions of years.[2]BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf   This process is similar to the process of natural gas formation, however oil forms under a limited range of temperatures while natural gas forms under a wider range. This limited range of temperatures is called the ‘oil window’. [3]Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window 

Oil is found in specific underground rocks called reservoirs. The rocks have tiny spaces in them that allow them to hold water, natural gas and/or oil. Impermeable rocks called cap rocks surround the reservoir and trap oil in its place.[4]Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing 

Through exploratory activities such as seismic, well sampling, and subsurface mapping, geoscientists locate sites for oil drilling

Oil is extracted from the reservoir by drilling a well and pumping it up the well. Once recovered, oil is transported by pipeline, ship, rail, or truck to a refinery where it undergoes a complex process that produces petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, jet-fuel, home-heating fuel, lubricating oil and asphalt along with petrochemicals that are used to make common products such as plastic, drugs, synthetic fiber, soap and paint. Approximately 71 percent of global oil consumption is used to produce fuel to power transportation systems.[5]Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf 

Context

Oil is a relatively abundant but is a non-renewable resource.  Supplies of conventional oil have been decreasing steadily, making unconventional production more common.

Oil's benefits include its high energy density and versatility.  Oil is used to produce products like transport fuels and many other common products. While all these products are important to global society, approximately 71% of global oil consumption is used to enable transportation systems. 

The production and use of oil also come with many social and environmental challenges. Producing oil causes land-disturbance sometimes in environmentally sensitive areas, although this varies greatly depending on the production techniques used.  The world's oil-powered transportation systems contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Additionally, control and trade of oil resources present many geopolitical tensions between nations and, on a more local level, between stakeholder groups and communities.    

References

  1. ^ Energy Information Administration(2014, March 8). Definition, Sources and Explanatory NotesRetrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/tbldefs/pet_crd_pres_tbldef2.asp 
  2. ^ BP (2008). Crude Oil and Natural Gas FormationRetrieved from: http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/bp_australia/bp_education_australia/STAGING/local_assets/downloads_pdfs/Module2_Crude_Oil_and_NaturalGas_Formation/bp_module02_int.pdf 
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Britanica. (2015) Oil Window. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/426266/oil-window 
  4. ^ Norman J. Hyne ( 2012, March 15). Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production (ISBN 1593702698)Retrieved from Knovel Publishing 
  5. ^ Energy Information Administration (2011).Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2011Retrieved from: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/flow/primary_energy.pdf 

International organizations

International Association of Oil & Gas Producers

IPIECA

International Energy Agency

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

World Petroleum Council

Oil and Gas Council

International or Prominent Industry Association

US Oil & Gas Association

Illinois Oil & Gas Association

Society of Petroleum Engineer

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America

National Petroleum Council

APPEA

Research institution

BMI Research

The Petroleum Institute

University of Calgary

The Oxford Princeton Programme

University of Leeds

University of Dundee

British Columbia Institute of Technology

Canadian Energy Research Institute

Montan Universitat

Oil Center Research

Research Institute of Petroleum Industry

Politecnico di Torino

Academic Journal

Universita Degli Studi Di Perugia

OnePetro

SPE Journal

Journal of Petroleum Technology

History

ExtremeOil

The virtual Geology Department Canda

Drilling Info

Politics

Technology Review (MIT) - Power and Politics in World Oil

The Economist - Oil and Gas

Global Policy Forum - Oil and Natural Gas in Conflict

Columbia - Center on Global Energy Policy

World Bank - The Great Plunge in Oil Prices: Causes, Consequences and Policy Response

Economics

American Petroleum Institute - Industry Economics

Oil and Gas Journal - Economics and Oil Market News

Oil and Gas UK - Economic Report 2014

OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report

Platts Real Time Oil Market Data

Environmental Impact

TEEIC - Potential Impacts of Oil and Gas Production

Kharaka and Dorsey - Environmental issues of petroleum exploration and production

UNESCO - Environmental Impacts of the Oil Industry

Scottish Government Fisheries Research Center - Environmental Impacts

State of the Environment Norway - Environmental Impacts of Oil and Gas activities

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Effects of Oil and Gas Activities in the Arctic Ocean

Business Analysis

IHS - Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas Financial Journal - Analysis

Net News Ledger - Business Analysis

Health Impact

US EPA - Health effects of pollutants emitted from oil and natural gas prod. facilities

Earthworks - Oil and Gas Health Effects

Worcester Polytechnic Institute - The Health Effects of Oil Contamination

Sustainability

Journal of Environmental Sustainability - Towards Sustainability in the Oil and Gas Sector: Benchmarking of Environmental, Health, and Safety Efforts 

Ceres - Oil & Gas Producers

Castagra - Voluntary Sustainability Reporting

Other Interesting essays/articles

GreenBiz - Is there a greener side to Drilling for Oil?

Deep Blue Library - Oil Companies and Sustainability: More than just an Image?

Unep and The E&P Forum - Environmental Management

Definition

Financial Times - Oil - The big Drop

International Energy Agency (IEA) Oil Overview 

OilPrice.com - Types of Crude Oil 

Take a Step Back

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel is a term used to describe a group of energy sources that were formed when ancient plants and organisms were subject to intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

Keep Learning! Progress To

Conventional Oil

Conventional Oil refers to oil that is produced from reservoirs using traditional drilling, pumping and compression techniques.

Unconventional Oil

Unconventional Oil refers to crude oil that is not produced by traditional extraction methods. This includes but is not limited to offshore, oil sands, and tight oil.