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Pros&Cons of Petroleum Industry on Global Warming

Pros&Cons of Petroleum Industry on Global Warming

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Published by thangarspe
paper presented by Mr. K Thangarasu in SPE-RGCE Annual paper contest in 2009. This paper won the first price
paper presented by Mr. K Thangarasu in SPE-RGCE Annual paper contest in 2009. This paper won the first price

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Published by: thangarspe on Apr 19, 2010
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10/24/2012

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PROS & CONS OF PETROLEUM INDUSTRY ON GLOBAL WARMINGAbstract
Global warming is the increase in temperature of the earth surface air and oceans, caused by the greenhouse gases (GHG), which include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide. Rising sea levels,glacier retreat, arctic shrinkage, and altered agriculture are the direct consequences of global warming.Secondary and regional effects include extreme weather events, expansion of tropical diseases, changes inclimate systems and drastic economic impact.The petroleum industry activities involve burning, processing, flaring and transporting using fossil fuels ,which emit the CO
2
is one of major sources for GHG emissions. Therefore, petroleum industry needs toadopt initiatives in mitigating GHG emissions, monitoring & controlling. Proposals for stabilizing theatmospheric concentration of CO
2
about 500-550 ppm brings Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).Separation, compression, transportation and deposition of CO
2
will increase the electricity cost byapproximately 50%, but the use of CO
2
to recover additional oil may offer a significant value for largequantities of CO
2
. CO
2
can be stored in geological formation or in Deep Ocean or to react with minerals(mineral carbonation). Geologic storage options include the depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs, salineaquifers, and coal beds. Storage of CO
2
in producing oil & gas reservoir leads to enhanced oil recovery byincreasing the mobility of the fluid or by maintaining the reservoir pressure. This process involves theinjection of fluid into the formation and monitoring the injected CO
2
. Petroleum industry has a long timeexperience with all the activities involved with transportation and injection of fluid into underground. Itoffers new business opportunity for the petroleum industry. CO
2
can be stored in the ocean either as a deeplake or as dissolution method. Alternatives under consideration include capture by micro algae, ironfertilization, non biological capture from air and utilization.
Author: K.Thangarasu, PE
2
nd
year, Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering. 2008-2011
1
 
Green House Effect
The Earth receives energy from the Sun mostly in the form of visible light. The bulk of this energy is notabsorbed by the atmosphere since the atmosphere is transparent to visible light. 50% of the sun's energyreaches the Earth which is absorbed by the surface as heat. Because of its temperature, the Earth's surfaceradiates energy in infrared range. The Greenhouse gases are not transparent to infrared radiation so theyabsorb infrared radiation. Infrared radiation is absorbed from all directions and is passed as heat to all gasesin the atmosphere. The atmosphere also radiates in the infrared range (because of its temperature, in thesame way the Earth's surface does) and does so in all directions. The surface and lower atmosphere arewarmed because of the greenhouse gases and makes our life on earth possible. This is called naturalgreenhouse effect ( see fig-1 ).Increased industrial activity (fossil fuel burning) and other human activities such as cement production andtropical deforestation, electricity generation has increased the concentration of these green house gases inthe atmosphere.These excessive emission of the anthrobogenic greenhouse gases trap the heat within theearth’s atmosphere and thus results in increasing the temperature of the earth (see fig -2). This is we call asthe Global Warming.To counter greenhouse gases, plants take the gases from the air, turn them into new growth, thenrelease them through respiration. In the ocean, the gases are stored as dissolved carbon dioxide. So carbondioxide and other gases are continuously being exchanged between land and atmosphere. However, the plants and the rest of the land –based ecosystem, as well as the ocean, soak up less than 50% of all gasesthat humans release through fossil fuels. Thus, the excess gasses (like CO
2
) build up as a heat blanket in theatmosphere, thereby warming the planet. NASA scientists have stated that CO
2
levels in the atmospherehave shot up from 285 parts per million (ppm) to 377 ppm. Historically, CO
2
levels had only averaged between 180 and 290 ppm. Every 10 ppm increase on CO
2
concentration is associated with a half a degreeCentigrade increase in temperature 
Effects of Global WarmingPolar ice caps melting
It will raise sea levels. There are 5,773,000 cubic miles of water in ice caps, glaciers, and permanent snow.According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, if all glaciers melted today the seas would rise about230 feet. Luckily, that’s not going to happen all in one go. But sea levels will rise.
2
 
Melting ice caps will throw the global ecosystem out of balance. The ice caps are fresh water, and whenthey melt they will desalinate the ocean, or in plain English - make it less salty. The desalinization of thegulf current will “screw up” ocean currents, which regulate temperatures. The stream shutdown or irregularity would cool the area around north-east America and Western Europe. Luckily, that will slowsome of the other effects of global warming in that area (see fig-3).Temperature rises and changing landscapes in the artic circle will endanger several species of animals.Only the most adaptable will survive.Global warming could snowball with the ice caps gone. Ice caps are white, and reflect sunlight, much of which is reflected back into space, further cooling Earth. If the ice caps melt, the only reflector is the ocean.Darker colors absorb sunlight, further warming the Earth.
Glacier retreat and disappearance
Currently glacier retreat rates and mass balance losses have been increasing in the Andes, Alps, Pyrenees,Himalayas, Rocky Mountains and North Cascades due to the global warming. The loss of glaciers not onlydirectly causes landslides, flash floods and glacial lake overflow,
 
 but also increases annual variation inwater flows in rivers. Glacier runoff declines in the summer as glaciers decrease in size. Glaciers retainwater on mountains in high precipitation years, since the snow cover accumulating on, glaciers protects theice from melting. In warmer and drier years, glaciers offset the lower precipitation amounts with a higher meltwater input.Of particular importance are the Hindu Kush and Himalayan glacial melts that comprise the principal dry-season water source of many of the major rivers of the Central, South, East and Southeast Asian mainland.Increased melting would cause greater flow for several decades, after which "some areas of the most populated regions on Earth are likely to 'run out of water'" as source glaciers are depleted (see fig-4).
Ocean acicidification
The role of the oceans in global warming is a complex one. Ocean acidification is an effect of risingconcentrations of CO
2
in the atmosphere, and is not a direct consequence of global warming. Theoceans soak up much of the CO
2
produced by living organisms, either as dissolved gas, or in theskeletons of tiny marine creatures that fall to the bottom to become chalk or limestone. Oceanscurrently absorb about one tonne of CO
2
per year. It is estimated that the oceans have absorbed
3

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