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Enzymatic catalysis on petroleum products
M. Ayala a and R. V a z q u e z - D u h a l t b
aInstituto Mexicano del Petr61eo. Eje Central Lfizaro Cfirdenas 152, San Bartolo Atepehuacan 07730 Mfxico DF, Mfxico bInstituto de Biotecnologia, UNAM. Apartado Postal 510-3 Cuernavaca, Morelos 62250 Mfxico
1. I N T R O D U C T I O N The contemporary society is highly dependent on oil supply for energy, transportation, food production, and in general, industrial production. A century ago the oil exploitation began, first as a source of energy and now as a source both of energy and raw material. Thus, history will describe our time as the oil based society. Nature took 500 millions years to accumulate the world's oil; nevertheless, the world's petroleum could be consumed in two centuries [ 1]. The inexorable production peak is estimated to occur sometime between 2010 and 2020 and then the oil resources will be drastically reduced at the end of this century (Fig. 1) . When the world's oil reserves become scarce, the more expensive fuel sources as hard-to-extract oil deposits, tarry sands, and synfuels from coal will be brought to the front of production.
~ ~ "x Heavy oils and non conventional petroleum sources
1900 1950 2000 2050 2100 Fig. 1. Petroleum availability estimation from World Resource Institute (1996)