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Chapter 8

PETROLEUM
For theforeseeablefuture, oil will remain acritical fuel for theUnited States and all other
industrialized nations. [In order to maketheU.S. economy less dependent on oil,] the
National Energy Strategy proposes initiatives to (1) reducetheeconomic consequences of
disruptions in world oil markets, and (2) increase domestic oil and petroleumproduct
supplies.
(National Energy Strategy, Executive Summary, 1991/1992)
Thegrowing level of U.S. oil consumption raises potential economic and national security
concerns. In addition to emphasizing efficient use of oil products and enhancing fuel
flexibility, national energy policy must address declining domestic production levels with
minimuminterferencewith market forces. TheAdministration's policy is to improvethe
economics of domestic oil production by reducing costs, in order to lessen theimpact on
this industry of low and volatileprices.
(Sustainable Energy Strategy, 1995)
138 CHAITLR 8
Petroleum(or crudeoil) is acomplex, naturally occurring liquid mixturecontaining mostly
hydrocarbons, but containing also somecompounds of oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur. It is
often referred to as theblack gold. TheRockefellers, theRothschilds, theGettys, the
Hammers and theroyal families of thePersian Gulf areawould certainly agree. A view at
Fortunemagazine's list of billionaires confirms it: theSultan of theoil-rich Brunei, on the
island of Borneo, has been at thevery top for quitesometime. Saudi Arabia's King Fahd
is up thereas well.
After WorldWar II, thehugeoil reserves intheMiddleEast becameavailable, at avery
low cost, and they rapidly revolutionized theway welive. Indeed, thetwentieth century
with all thedramatic changes that it has brought to society is probably best characterized
as thecentury of oil. A fascinating account of theepic quest for oil, money and power is
given by Daniel Yergin, in his Pulitzer prize-winning book The Prize (seeFurther Reading,
p. 461).
Iniled Slales
Resl of America
Iormer ISSR
MiddIe Lasl
Resl of WorId
O 5OO 1OOO 15OO 2OOO 25OO
QuadriIIion TI
Iroduclion lo dale Reserves Resources
FIGURE 8-1. World distribution of petroleumresources and reserves.
[Source: W. Fulkerson et al., Scientific American, September 1990, p. 129.]
Most of theworld's petroleumis to befound in theMiddleEast, as shown in Figure8-1
and in moredetail in Figure8-2. Figure8-1 also illustrates thefact that theworld reserves
and resources of crudeoil areorders of magnitudesmaller than thoseof coal. In particular,
it is seen that theU.S. reserves arejust an order of magnitudelarger than theannual oil
ILTRLLIM 139
consumption (seeFigure8-3). Obviously, United States imports alargeportion of the
petroleumthat it consumes. This increasing trend is likely to continue. Theeconomic,
political andpolicy implications of this stateof affairs arediscussedinChapter 21.
China
Iniled Slales
Mexico
Iormer ISSR
VenezueIa
Iran
Kuvail
IAL
Iraq
Saudi Arabia
O 5O 1OO 15O 2OO 25O 3OO
iIIions of barreIs
FIGURE 8-2. Distribution of major petroleumreserves in theworld.
[Source: The New York Times, September 2, 1990.]
Petroleum Formation
Petroleumforms by thebreaking down of largemolecules of fats, oils and waxes that
contributed to theformation of kerogen (seeChapter 6). This process began millions of
years ago, when small marineorganisms abounded in theseas. As marinelifedied, it
settled at theseabottomand becameburied in layers of clay, silt and sand. Thegradual
decay by the effect of heat and pressure resulted in the formation of hundreds of
compounds.
Becausepetroleumis afluid, it is ableto migratethrough theearth as it forms. To form
large, economically recoverableamounts of oil underground, two things areneeded: an oil
pool and an oil trap. An oil pool, which is theunderground reservoir of oil, may literally be
apool or it could bedroplets of oil collected in ahighly porous rock such as sandstone. An
oil trap is anon-porous rock formation that holds theoil pool in place. Obviously, in order
to stay in theground, thefluids oil and associated gas must betrapped, so that they
cannot flow to thesurfaceof theearth. Thehydrocarbons accumulatein reservoir rock, the
porous sandstoneor limestone. Thereservoir rock must haveacovering of an impervious
rock that will not allow thepassageof thehydrocarbon fluids to thesurface.
14O CHAITLR 8

195O 196O 197O 198O 199O 2OOO


O
5
1O
15
2O
25
M
i
I
I
i
o
n

b
a
r
r
e
I
s

e
r

d
a
y
Consumlion Iroduclion
FIGURE 8-3. U.S. petroleumproduction and consumption in thelast 45 years.
[Source: Energy Information Administration.]
Theimpervious rock covering thereservoir rocks is called acap rock. As shown in Figure
8-4, oil traps consist of hydrocarbon fluids held in porous rock covered by acap rock.
A hot, wet climatefosters thegrowth of largeamounts of organisms. If this growth
takes placein ashallow sea, theeventual drying out of theenvironment and evaporation of
theseawater leaves behind largedeposits of salt. Salt makes an excellent cap rock for a
reservoir. If theseconditions areenhanced by agentlegeological folding of thesubsurface
rocks, therock folding can producevery largereservoirs, with theimpervious salt deposits
acting as acap. Theseareprecisely theconditions that prevailed in theMiddleEast, giving
riseto theenormous deposits of oil found in that region of theworld.
Properties of Petroleum
Theelemental composition of petroleumis much less variablethan that of coal: 83-87%
carbon, 11-16% hydrogen, 0-4% oxygen plus nitrogen, and 0-4% sulfur. Notethat most
crude oils contain substantially more hydrogen than coals. Only a brief discussion is
needed here regarding the distribution of these elements among the thousands of
compounds found in petroleum.
Most of thecompounds in petroleumcontain fromfiveto about twenty carbon atoms.
Many of themconsist of straight chains of carbon atoms (surrounded by hydrogen atoms),
asillustratedbelow:
ILTRLLIM 141
IRIS
RCK
CAP
2,/
SALT DML
LARTH'S SIRIACL
CAI CAI
IMILRVIIS
RCK
2,/
Gas Gas
rine rine
FIGURE 8-4. Representativegeologic structureof an oil trap: asalt dome.
CCCCC CCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCC
Compounds having branched chains and rings of carbon atoms arealso present. Hereare
someexamples:
142 CHAITLR 8
Compounds of thetypes shown abovewith chains of carbon atoms, either branched or
straight, are called paraffins. All paraffins have the molecular formula CnH2n+2. For
example, n =8 for acompound called octane.
The physical state of the paraffins depends on the number of carbon atoms in the
molecule. Paraffins with less than fivecarbon atoms aregases at ordinary temperatures.
Paraffins with fiveto fifteen carbon atoms arefree-flowing liquids. Paraffins with more
than fifteen carbon atoms rangefromvery thick, viscous liquids to waxy solids. As the
number of carbon atoms increases, so too does thenumber of possiblemolecular structures
resulting fromtheir combination. For example, theparaffin with fivecarbon atoms (called
pentane) canexist as onelinear chainandtwo branchedchains:
As thenumber of carbon atoms increases beyond five, thenumber of different molecular
structures with thesamenumber of carbon atoms increases drastically (exponentially).
Weshall seelater, in our discussion of thequality of gasoline, that thebranched-chain
paraffins arevery important in providing good automobileengineperformance. Thereader
will berelieved to know, however, that it will benecessary to learn thestructureof only
one or two of the most important branched paraffins, not the million or so possible
structures.
Another class of molecules found in petroleumarethearomatic compounds. They have
aring structureand aretypically derivatives of acompound called benzene, C6H6. They do
indeedhaveacharacteristic aroma, but they typically haveanegativeenvironmental impact.
Theones that havealow molecular weight arevolatile; for example, they easily evaporate
fromgasolineat fillingstations. Many amongthemarecarcinogenic.
Crudeoils can beclassified in anumber of ways. Consider first acrudeoil that is in the
very early stages of being produced fromkerogen. The long-chain compounds in the
kerogen will not havebroken apart to agreat extent, becausetheoil or kerogen has not yet
been buried very deeply (so it has not been exposed to high temperatures in theearth), nor
has it been buried for avery long time. Thecarbon atomchains in this oil arelikely to be
very long. Theselong chains givethecrudeoil two properties: (a) They makeit dense
becauselong, straight chains of molecules can bepacked tightly, resulting in alargemass
per unit volume. (b) They also makeit difficult for themolecules to flow past oneanother,
making thecrudeoil moreviscous (slower to flow and harder to pump). In addition, many
sulfur compounds might bepresent in theseoils. They arecalled young-shallow crudes:
young, becausethey havenot had thetimeto bebroken down by thehigh temperatures
insidetheearth; and shallow, becausethey havenot been buried deeply. Typically, young-
shallow crudes are highly viscous, high-density materials with a high sulfur content.
Crude oil found in portions of southern California, for example near Ventura (see
Investigation 8-14), areyoung-shallow crudes.
ILTRLLIM 143
As the oil is buried more deeply inside the earth's crust, it is exposed to higher
temperatures. As aresult, themolecules can break apart to agreater extent, and someof the
molecules containing sulfur will be destroyed. These young-deep crudes will have
moderate viscosities, densities and sulfur contents. If the oil has not been buried very
deeply, it will not experiencethesametemperatures as ayoung-deep crude. However, over
very long timeperiods, thesamechemical transformations that occur in ashort timeat high
temperatures can also occur at relatively low temperatures. Thus an old-shallow oil might
havethesameproperties as ayoung-deep one. Theanalogy with theexpression that time
is money is very appropriate. We know that we can shorten the time required to do
something if wearewilling to spend moremoney to do it. (Remember also our definition
and discussion of power, in Chapter 2.) In geology timeis temperature: as temperature
increases, thetimeneeded to accomplish aparticular changedecreases. Crudeoils of the
young-deep or old-shallow quality occur both in California, around Oxnard, and in Texas,
in thevicinity of Scarborough.
If acrudeoil is buried deeply and for along time, extensivebreaking apart of the
carbon chains can occur. At thesametime, most of thesulfur compounds in theoil are
broken down. Thereforean old-deep crudeoil has low viscosity, low density, and very
low sulfur content. This combination of properties makes theold-deep crudes themost
desirable: they requirelittlerefining to removesulfur and they can beconverted to large
quantities of high-quality products such as gasoline(seebelow). Unfortunately, less than
5% of the world's remaining petroleumreserves are of this quality. Some of the best
quality crudeoils arefound in northwestern Pennsylvania, in thevicinity of Bradford, and
thetermPennsylvania crude is used as astandard of quality for crudeoils. Overseas, old-
deep crudes occur in Morocco.
Illustration 8-1. Calculatetheatomic C/H ratio in aPennsylvaniacrudeoil that has the
following elemental composition: 84.9% C; 13.7% H; 1.4% O (+N). Compareit to the
C/H ratio in octane.
Solution.
C
H
=
84.9 g C
13.7 g H
= (
84.9 g C
13.7 g H
) (
1 g H
1 mol H
) (
1 mol C
12 g C
) =0.52
mol C
mol H
(PA oil)
C
H
=
8 atoms C
18 atoms H
=
0.44 atoms C
1 atom H
=0.44
mol C
mol H
(octane, C8H18)
It is seen that this crudeoil has less hydrogen than octane. Indeed, oneof theresults of
crudeoil refining is amorehydrogenated product, that is, aproduct containing more
hydrogen. Also, petroleumcontains morehydrogen than coal; seeIllustration 7-1. This
issuewill bepursued further in our discussion of synfuels in Chapter 10.
144 CHAITLR 8
Petroleum Utilization
Petroleumutilization is a much more complex process than coal utilization. This is
illustrated in Figure8-5. In particular, thepreparation of petroleumbeforeit is sold to the
consumers is very extensive. Thereason for this is that, despitetheir similar elemental
composition, the chemical structure of different crude oils may be very different, as
discussed above. Furthermore, alargenumber of different products is obtained fromthe
petroleumrefinery. This is illustrated in Figure8-6. Most of themareused as fuels. A
small but very important fraction is usedas thebasis for the(petro)chemical industry which
gives us such indispensableproducts as plastics, pharmaceuticals and textiles.
Petroleum
Transport
Recovery
Physical
processing
Chemical
processing
Petroleum refinery
P
e
t
r
o
l
e
u
m
p
r
o
d
u
c
t
s
Gasoline
Diesel fuel
Kerosene
(jet fuel)
Fuel oil
(Others)
FIGURE 8-5. Pathways to petroleumutilization.
ILTRLLIM 145
Oil Recovery (Drilling). After geologists of an oil company havelocated thegeneral
areain which petroleumis thought to occur, awell is drilled. Selecting thesitefor drilling
requires detailed knowledgeof thegeologic features under theearth's surface. Wecan see
fromFigure8-7 that of thethreewells shown, all of which arereasonably closeto theoil
pool, only well B would actually produceoil. Drilling is also doneto determinetheextent
of thereserves. Oncetheoil has beenlocated, additional drillingmight bedoneover anarea
around thefirst producing well to assess thegeographic extent of theoil pool and its depth.
This information allows geologists to estimatetheamount of oil in thepool (seealso Figure
5-9).
46.6/
8.8/
19.8/
5.O/
4.1/
15.7/ GasoIine
}el fueI
DisliIIale fueI oiI
ResiduaI fueI oiI
LIG
lher roducls
FIGURE 8-6. Distribution of products of petroleumrefining in theUnited States.
[Source: Energy Information Administration.]
When adrilling sitehas been selected, thefirst job is to rig up, or to assemblethedrilling
rig derrick. This is routinely taken as asign of activity of theentireoil exploration industry,
and is periodically reported among theeconomic indicators. Figure8-8 shows thechanges
in thenumber of activerigs in theperiod 1970-1990. A comparison with Figure20-3 will
show thelogical existenceof apositivecorrelationwiththepriceof oil.
Thenext step is to begin theactual drilling; in theindustry jargon, thewell is spudded
in. Thedrill bit, which grinds through therock to cut thehole, is attached to sections of
pipecalled thedrill stem. Theportion of this stemsticking out of theground is thekelly.
Thekelly is turned by an engineto providetherotary motion needed for thedrill bit to do
146 CHAITLR 8
its job. As thedrill bit moves further into theearth's crust, thekelly gradually sinks in. At
somepoint, thecrew must stop drilling to add anew section of pipeto thedrill stemand
reattach thekelly. A top-notch crew can add a30-foot section of pipein 45seconds.
Thedrill bit is lubricated by mud. Theholeis lined with casing, asteel pipelining that
prevents theupper portions of thewell fromcaving in on top of thebit. Eventually, thedrill
bit will beworn to thepoint that it no longer cuts rock effectively. At that point, thereis no
alternativebut to replaceit, ajob that requires pulling the pipe, meaningremovingthekelly
and all of thesections of pipecomprising thedrill stem. On avery deep well, this chore
can involvepulling up 10,000 feet or moreof pipe, in thirty-foot sections. Thedrilling mud
is examined for traces of oil, to determinewhen thereservoir has been penetrated. Onceoil
has been found, thedrill pipeis pulled out, leaving thecasing to protect against cave-ins.
Thefirst oil well in theUnited States, drilled by Edwin Drakein Titusville, PA, was
only 69 feet deep. Today it is common to drill oil wells several thousands of feet deep, in
somecases to an extremeof 25,000 feet (almost 5 miles!). Thedeeper thewell, themore
expensiveit becomes, becauseof thelabor involved in thedrilling operation, theneed to
replaceworn-out drill bits, and thecost of thepipeput down thedrill hole.
If oil is found, therearetwo general classes of recovery methods for bringing it to the
surface. Conventional or primary recovery, usually recovers about 30% of theoil froma
reservoir. Therearetwo kinds of primary recovery. Flush production requires no work.
Gas
A C
rine
iI
Ca
FIGURE 8-7. Selection of asitefor petroleumdrilling.
ILTRLLIM 147
197O 1975 198O 1985 199O
O
5OO
1OOO
15OO
2OOO
25OO
3OOO
35OO
4OOO
45OO
N
u
m
b
e
r

o
f

o

e
r
a
l
i
o
n
a
I

r
i
g
s
FIGURE 8-8. Averagenumber of oil (and gas) drilling rigs in operation in theU.S.
[Source: Time, August 27, 1990, p. 47.]
In this case, theoil in thereservoir is under pressureand will cometo thesurfaceby natural
flow. Theforceresponsiblefor theflow of oil may beawater drive, in which water lying
under theoil pushes it to thesurface, or agas cap drive, in which abubbleof gas pushing
down on theoil forces it to thesurface. Settled production occurs when oil has to be
pumped fromthereservoir.
Enhanced recovery is used when it is no longer possible to pump the oil with
conventional techniques. Enhanced oil recovery techniques aresometimes divided into
secondary and tertiary recovery. In secondary production, conditions similar to flush
production arecreated. Instead of relying on naturally occurring water or gas to forcethe
oil out, theoil field is flooded with water pumped down into wells to forcetheoil out, or
gas is pumped down awell to createan artificial version of gas cap drive. This is shown in
Figure8-9.
Secondary recovery methods extract an additional 10 to 20% of theavailableoil froma
well. Becausewecannot rely simply on natural forces, as in flush production, but instead
must providepumps and associated piping to forcegas or water underground, secondary
recovery is more expensive than primary recovery. Tertiary recovery is even more
expensive. In general, it is usually necessary to decreasetheviscosity of theoil to achieve
further recovery. Since the viscosity of any liquid drops as its temperature increases,
tertiary recovery often involves heatingtheoil underground, such as by injectingsteaminto
thewells. As an alternative, special chemicals (surface-activeagents) can beinjected into
wells to reducetheviscosity.
148 CHAITLR 8
In the United States, many oil fields have lost most of their associated gas.
Consequently, littlegas pressureremains to forcetheremainingoil to thesurfacein gas cap
drive. It is necessary to resort to themoreexpensivemethods of secondary and tertiary
recovery. Becausegas and oil havebeen pumped fromoil fields in theU.S. for many
years, and becausethereis agreater need for enhanced recovery, many activeoil wells in
theUnited States actually producevery littleoil. Thereareabout 500,000 oil wells in the
United States, but theaverageproduction is only about 16 barrels per well per day. In
comparison, thereareno morethan 1000 wells in Saudi Arabia, but each oneof them
produces, on average, 10,000 barrels of oil per day.
*DV
2LO
:DWHU
rine
iI
Gas
FIGURE 8-9. Enhanced oil recovery techniques: secondary recovery.
In somecases, oil is under such ahigh pressureunderground that drilling creates agusher,
in which oil and gas may shoot out of thewell up into theair for days or even weeks. An
uncontrolled gusher is very wasteful, sincethereis no way to collect and recover theoil
spewed out of thewell. It also harms theenvironment, sincetheoil is sprayed into theair
and onto theground. A very dangerous situation occurs when an oil well catches fire. In a
gusher, theoil and gas may shoot out of thewell with such speed that small rocks can be
carried along. If oneof theserocks strikes sparks fromsteel piping, afirecould start.
ILTRLLIM 149
Some oil occurs in pools underneath the sea floor (in the Point Arguello field,
California, for example). Extracting that oil fromtheearth requires theexpensiveand
dangerous process of underseadrilling. Theprocess requires that astableplatformholding
thedrilling rig befloated into position on thesurfaceof thesea, and anchored in thespot
whereit is intended to drill. Oncethedrilling platformhas been located and anchored, legs
areinstalled to support theplatformfromtheseafloor. People, their food and clothing and
all thenecessary supplies must betransported to thedrilling rig. In somecases thedrilling
rigs arelargeenough to haveahelicopter landing pad, so that thetransportation of people
and materials is doneby helicopter. Therig must beanchored and supported well enough
to resist the wave and wind action of severe storms at sea (see Investigation 8-6).
Precautions areneededto prevent ships fromblunderinginto therigandto avoidleakageof
oil. If aleak occurs in theunderseawell or in thepiping bringing theoil to theocean
surface, severeecologic damagecan result. Thecrudeoil leakinginto theocean can destroy
marinelife. Any of theoil that washes ashorecan ruin beaches. This is precisely thepoint
of contention between oil firms and environmentalists in theongoing debateabout the
development of the Point Arguello field, near Santa Barbara, California, the largest
domestic oil discovery sinceAlaska's PrudhoeBay (seeInvestigation 8-14). Such debates
will probably increaseas thenumber of offshorerigs increases both in theU.S. (Figure8-
10) and elsewherein theworld.
1973 1978 1983 1988 1993
O
1OOO
2OOO
3OOO
4OOO
R
i
g
s

i
n

o

e
r
a
l
i
o
n
nshore
ffshore
FIGURE 8-10. Oil and gas drilling activity in theUnited States.
[Source: Energy Information Administration.]
Many factors determinehow valuableaparticular crudeoil deposit is. First is thelocation
of thereservoir its depth, and thehardness of theintervening rock layers. Thesefactors
15O CHAITLR 8
determine the drilling costs necessary to reach the reservoir. Second is the size of the
reservoir; thenumber of barrels of oil that can berecovered together with theprevailing
crudeoil pricegivean indication of theamount of money that can beobtained fromselling
theoil. Thequality of theoil is also an important consideration. First is thequestion of how
easily it can begotten fromtheground. Does it flow readily, or will expensivesecondary
and tertiary recovery methods beneeded? Chemical composition is also an indicator of
quality. Supposean oil company wishes to producelargequantities of gasoline. Gasoline
consists mainly of molecules having fromfiveto about ninecarbon atoms (seebelow), and
has avery low sulfur content. Given achoiceof two crudes, onewith molecules mainly
having 13-17 carbons and 3% sulfur, and onewith molecules mainly having 9-12 carbon
atoms and 1% sulfur, thelatter would requireless refining to obtain high yields of gasoline
and would bethemorevaluablefeedstock for agasolinerefinery. Indeed, thebest crudes
would seemto bethosehaving relatively small molecules (both for low viscosity flow and
for high yields of gasoline) and having low sulfur contents. As mentioned previously, the
old-deep crudes of Pennsylvania, whereoil exploration started, but wherethereis hardly
any oil left, havethesecharacteristics. Today, most of thedrilling activity in theU.S. is
concentrated in theGulf states, Californiaand Alaska, as illustrated in Figure8-11. Six
states (Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, California, Oklahomaand Wyoming) accounted for more
than 85% of thepetroleumproduced in 1992.
AIabama
AIaska
CaIifornia
CoIorado
IIIinois
Kansas
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississii
Monlana
Nev Mexico
Norlh Dakola
kIahoma
Texas
Ilah
Wyoming
O 1OOOOO 2OOOOO 3OOOOO 4OOOOO 5OOOOO 6OOOOO 7OOOOO
FIGURE 8-11. Production of petroleumin theU.S. by states (in thousands of barrels).
[Source: American PetroleumInstitute, Basic PetroleumDataBook, July 1995.]
ILTRLLIM 151
Transportation. Once the oil has been pumped out of the ground, it must then be
transported to theusers. Two major methods areused for petroleumtransportation. About
200,000 miles of oil pipelines exist in theUnited States. Thebest known is theTrans-
Alaskan pipeline, which runs for 800 miles fromtheoil fields on thenorth slopeof Alaska
at PrudhoeBay to aship terminal at the(now well known) port of Valdez. Thepipeline
was completed in 1977 at atotal cost of fifteen billion dollars. Its capacity is some1.2
million barrels of oil per day, almost 20% of U.S. production. Its construction represents
oneof thelargest civil engineeringprojects of this century.
Thesecond transportation method uses ships oil tankers and thehuge, ocean-crossing
supertankers. Thesupertankers arevery economical. They can carry as much as 50 million
barrels of oil across theoceans, equivalent to about athree-day oil consumption in theU.S.
Oneproblemin their useis that they cannot pass through thePanamaCanal. Hence, theoil
fromAlaskaneeds to betransferred to smaller vessels for transportation to theEast Coast.
Another problembecameapparent in thespring of 1990 (on aGood Friday!), when the
1000-ft long supertanker Exxon Valdez collided with areef and spilled some250,000
barrels of oil into PrinceWilliamSound. (Thecleanup costs amounted to several billion
dollars.) Several other significant oil spills havebeen reported by themediasincethen (see
Investigation 8-17). As international transport of oil becomes increasingly important, this
potential problemmust beadded to thegrowing list of environmental problems associated
with fossil fuel utilization (seeChapter 11).
Petroleum Refining. We have seen that coal requires little processing before its
(conventional) use for direct combustion purposes. We shall also see that natural gas
requires littleor no processing. In comparison, when crudeoil is pumped fromtheground,
it may contain several hundred individual components, which rangefromliquids of very
low boiling points to solid waxes. Crudeoil could beused as aboiler fuel to makesteam
for process heating or electric power generation, but it is only marginally moredesirable
than coal (becauseof theconvenienceof handling liquids rather than solids). No other
device can make efficient use of a substance having such a complex mixture of
components. For example, imaginegetting Vaseline(apetroleum-derived product) into the
fuel injector or carburetor of your car! Imaginetryingto pavearoadwithgasoline!
As illustrated in Figure8-5, theapproach to making thebest useof petroleumis first to
separate it into a small groups of compounds. This is done in a petroleumrefinery,
schematically (and simplistically) illustrated in Figure 8-12. The numbers given in
parentheses for the yields of different products are only approximate. They can vary
considerably with thetypeof crudeoil refined and with theconditions of operation of the
refinery.
In principle, it is possibleto separateeach component of petroleumone-by-one, though
this might takemany repetitivedistillation operations. However, to do so would beboth
very wasteful and prohibitively expensive. For example, supposewehad asupply of crude
oil that contained 0.5% octane. Octane, C8H18, is acomponent of gasoline. If for some
reason wewanted to usepureoctaneas amotor vehiclefuel, wewould require4.8 million
152 CHAITLR 8
barrels (some 200,000,000 gallons) of crude oil to produce 1,000,000 gallons of pure
octane, after many distillation steps to purify theoctane. On theother hand, 20% of agood
crudeoil might yield gasolineon simpledistillation. Making 1,000,000 gallons of gasoline
would requireonly 119,000 barrels of crudeoil. Currently, pureoctanecan bepurchased
fromchemical supply companies at about $100 per liter, which is equivalent to some$400
per gallon. In contrast, gasolinecosts about $1.30 per gallon. Few of us would drivevery
far if we had to pay $400 for a gallon of fuel! Hence, a compromise is reached by
separating petroleuminto groups of components having reasonably similar properties. In
that way, it is possibleto makeproducts having consistently uniformproperties without
incurring in theexpenseof separating thepetroleuminto individual chemical compounds.
This upgrading of crudeoil into products tailored to meet specific consumer needs is what
wemean by refining.
Chemical Processing
Cracking Reforming
Physical Processing
Crude oil
Distillation
Typical Refinery Capacity:
~50,000bbl/day
+
Gasoline
(~40%)
J et fuel
(~10%)
Distillate
fuel oil
(~20%)
Residual
fuel oil
(~10%)
FIGURE 8-12. Schematic representation of apetroleumrefinery.
Thekey step in refining is distillation. Distillation is theseparation of materials based on
differences in their volatility (as indicated by their boiling points). This operation is carried
out in adistillation tower (or column) illustrated in Figure8-13. Vapors fromtheheated
ILTRLLIM 153
crudeoil riseand recondensecontinuously as they ascend within thecolumn. Themore
volatilesubstances thosewith thelower boiling points becomerelatively enriched near
the top of the column. Substances with very high boiling points are enriched near the
bottom. At any given location in thecolumn, thereis amixtureof vapors corresponding to
aliquid of particular composition and volatility. Thesevapors can bewithdrawn fromthe
column and condensed to formaliquid product. Such aliquid is still amixtureof many
components, but in this case the components have fairly similar boiling points. The
separation of crudeoil by distillation is aphysical process based on thefact that different
chemical compounds havedifferent boiling points. For example, pentane, C5H12, boils at
36 C, whilenonane, C9H20, boils at 128 C. Becausetheseparation is based only on a
physical process boiling no chemical bonds are broken during distillation and no
chemical reactionstakeplaceat thisstage.
Crude oil
T
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e

i
n
c
r
e
a
s
e
s
Gasoline cut
Kerosene cut
Fuel oil cut
Residue
Gas
FIGURE 8-13. Schematic representation of adistillation tower.
154 CHAITLR 8
Petroleum Products. Fivebroad categories of products areobtained by distillation of
crude oil. Their primary use is shown in Table 8-1. Their historical output fromU.S.
refineries is summarized in Figure8-14.
Gases aremainly propane, C3H8, and butane, C4H10, that weredissolved in theoil.
They can be liquefied and sold as the useful fuel LPG (liquefied petroleumgas); see
Chapter 9. Gasolineproducedby distillationof crudeoil is calledstraight-run gasoline.
TABLE 8-1
Principal energy-relateduses of theproducts of petroleumrefining
Product MainUse
Gases Industrial andresidential fuel
Gasoline Fuel in spark-ignition engines
Diesel fuel Fuel in compression-ignition engines
Jet fuel (Kerosene) Fuel for jet engines and gas turbines
Fuel oils Industrial or residential fuel
195O 196O 197O 198O 199O
O
5
1O
15
2O
M
i
I
I
i
o
n

b
a
r
r
e
I
s

e
r

d
a
y
GasoIine
}el fueI
DisliIIale fueI oiI
ResiduaI fueI oiI
lher
FIGURE 8-14. Output of petroleumproducts fromU. S refineries.
[Source: Energy Information Administration.]
ILTRLLIM 155
This mixtureboils in therange25-150C. Themajor chemical components of straight-run
gasolinearestraight-chain paraffins in therangeof pentaneto nonane. Kerosene consists
mainly of compounds with ten to twelvecarbon atoms, boiling in therangeof 170-300 C.
Fuel oil boils at temperatures above300C and consists of molecules with twelveor more
carbon atoms. Theresidueis thematerial that doesn't boil at all in thedistillation operation.
In thepetroleumbusiness, it is often referred to as theresid. Special treatments of theresid
can produceheavy fuel oils, asphalt, waxes and greases.
Gasolineis themost important product of apetroleumrefinery. A good quality old-
deep crudeoil may yield 20% straight-run gasolineupon distillation. That is, every 100
barrels of crude oil distilled would provide 20 barrels of gasoline. However, today's
market demand for gasolineis such that weneed to producemorelike40-50 barrels of
gasoline from 100 barrels of crude (see Figure 8-7). We have seen that gasoline
components typically havefiveto ninecarbon atoms, whilethehigher-boiling distillation
products havelarger molecules. Wehavealso seen that thegradual heating of petroleum
insidetheearth converts largemolecules having long chains of carbon atoms to smaller
molecules (compareayoung-shallow with an old-deep crude). To increasetheamount of
gasoline produced during refining, we adopt nature's process for reducing the size of
molecules by heating. Theformation of an old-deep crudein naturetakes thousands of
years. To acceleratethis process and makeit commercially useful in an oil refinery, weuse
muchhigher temperatures thanareencounteredinatypical petroleumreservoir.
Theprocess of thermal cracking uses thermal energy (heat) to break chemical bonds.
For example, dodecane, C12H26, which occurs in fuel oil, might break apart to butane,
C4H10, and octane, C8H18. Sinceoctanecontains eight carbon atoms, wewould expect it
to beacomponent of gasoline. In this way, afuel oil can becracked to increasetheyield of
gasoline. Thermal cracking processes werefirst developed around thetimeof World War I,
to help meet the increased demand for gasoline for military vehicles and aircraft. A
disadvantageof thethermal crackingprocess is that it can producealot of carbon-rich solid
(also called coke, even though this material is not identical with metallurgical coke
produced fromcoal). Converting someof thecarbon in thefuel oil to thelow-valuecoke
rather thanthehigh-valuegasolinerepresents awasteof material.
As automobile design and technology continued to evolve in the 1920s and 30s,
automotiveengineers cameto realizethat not only is theamount of gasolineavailableto
consumers an important concern, but so too is its combustion performancein theengine.
To seehow and why oil refiners developed processes to producethekinds of gasolinewe
can buy today, we must digress a bit to consider how gasoline actually burns in an
automobileengine.
Almost all automobileengines operateon afour-strokecycle. This will bediscussed in
Chapter 20. Thegasoline/air mixtureis first compressed and is then ignited. At theinstant
thespark plugfires, thegasoline/air mixtureintheimmediatevicinity of thespark plugtip
is ignited. This burning gasoline cloud ignites the surrounding mass of gasoline. The
products of combustion occupy agreater volumethan theoriginal gasolineand air. For
156 CHAITLR 8
example, supposeweassumethat gasolinewerepureoctane. Wecould then writethe
followingchemical reaction:
2 C8H18 +25 O2 16 CO2 +18 H2O
Spark pl ug
Compressed
gasol i ne/ai r
mi xture
Pi ston at top
of stroke
In this process 27 volumes of gaseous reactants form34 volumes of products. Theeffect
of this changeis to increasethepressureinsidetheenginecylinder. Sinceheat is being
liberated fromtheburning of thegasoline, thetemperaturealso increases. Theincreasing
temperaturewill also increasethepressureinsidethecylinder. Therefore, theunburned
gasoline/air mixtureis compressed even further. With awell-tuned engineunder normal
operation, thecombustion of thegasoline/air mixturewill continuesmoothly by igniting
successivelayers of themixtureuntil thepiston has been pushed to thebottomof its stroke,
ready to begin the exhaust stroke. Sometimes, however, the remaining, unburned
gasoline/air mixtureis compressed so much that it explodes instead of burning smoothly.
Theexplosion is so violent that wecan actually hear it insidethecar wecall it engine
knock. Engine knock is undesirable because it wastes gasoline. If your engine knocks
regularly, your mileage, thenumber of miles driven per gallon of gasoline, will beless
than you could get fromasmoothly running engine. It is also undesirablebecausethe
engineis subjected to increased mechanical stresses when this happens; this can lead to
prematurewear and physical damageof theengineand, eventually, to somesizeablerepair
bills. We'll comeback to theseissues in Chapter 20.
Automotiveengineers learnedthat straight-chainparaffins haveamuchhigher tendency
to knock than do branched-chain paraffins. Thetendency of aparticular gasolineto knock
is expressed by its octane number (ON).
Heptane Iso-octane
ON =0 ON =100
ILTRLLIM 157
Thestraight-chain paraffin heptane, C7H16, is arbitrarily assigned an octanenumber of 0.
The highly branched paraffin formally called trimethylpentane, C8H18, is assigned an
octanenumber of 100. Thenameoctanenumber derives fromthefact that theformal
chemical nameis abandoned, for convenience, and thecompound is referred to as iso-
octane, and moreoften simply as octane.
To determine the octane number, the combustion performance of a gasoline is
compared in astandardized test enginewith various blends of heptaneand iso-octane. The
octanenumber of thegasolineisequal to thepercentageof iso-octaneintheblendthat gives
thesameknock performanceas thegasolinebeing tested. For example, agasolinewith
ON=87 has thesameengineperformanceas ablend of 87% iso-octaneand 13% heptane.
Thehigher theoctanenumber, theless likely it is that agasolinewill causeengineknock.
V
1
V
2
Compression Ratio =
V
2
V
1
Thedriving performanceof acar depends on thecompression ratio of theengine. This is
theratio of thecylinder volumewhen thepiston is at thebottomof its stroketo thevolume
remaining when thepiston is at thetop of its stroke. Although, strictly speaking, theratio
would beexpressed as anumber, say, 8, it is customary to writethecompression ratio as
8:1 and refer to it as eight to one. The efficiency of an engine is proportional to its
compression ratio. Thehigher thecompression ratio is, thegreater will betheefficiency of
conversion of chemical energy of thefuel to kinetic energy of theengine; in other words,
theengine's power will begreater. Sincepower is therateof doing work, and work must
beaccomplished to movethevehicledown theroad, weexperiencepower as arapid
acceleration of thecar andhigh drivingspeeds.
If an enginehas ahigh compression ratio, thegasoline/air mixtureis compressed to a
higher pressurethan would beexperienced in adifferent engineof lower compression
158 CHAITLR 8
ratio. Sincethegasoline/air mixtureis already at ahigher pressurein thehigh-compression-
ratio engine, it is easier and more likely to be compressed to the pressures that cause
knocking during combustion. In other words, the higher the compression ratio of the
engineis, themorelikely it is to knock with agiven gradeof gasoline. Consequently, the
higher thecompression ratio of theengine, thehigher theoctanenumber of gasolinethat is
required to avoid engineknock.
Straight-run gasoline has an octane number of about 55. In contrast, most modern
automobileengines requiregasolines with octanenumbers in therangeof 87-93. Not only
must refiners increasethetotal amount of gasolineproduced fromabarrel of crude, but
they must also seek ways to increasetheoctanenumber. Threeoptions areavailablefor
improving theoctanenumber. First, straight-chain paraffins can beconverted to branched
chain compounds (see below). Second, ring-containing aromatic compounds can be
blended into the gasoline, because many aromatic compounds have very high octane
numbers. Third, special antiknock compounds can be added to the gasoline in small
quantities. Theuseof aromatic compounds in gasolineis on thedeclinebecauseof Clean
Air Act regulations: thesecompounds tend to contributemuch morethan paraffins to soot
and smoke formation, and with increased concern about air pollution fromvehicle
exhausts, futuregasolineformulations arelikely to contain fewer, not more, aromatics. In
addition, the simplest aromatic compound, benzene, is thought to be responsible for
causing leukemiain laboratory animals, suggesting that long-termexposureto gasoline
vapors containing benzenemight causeleukemiain humans. Themost widely used and
most controversial antiknock additiveis tetraethyllead (for conveniencecalled lead). The
use of tetraethyllead in gasoline is now almost completely discontinued because of
environmental concerns. Lead compounds that areproduced when tetraethyllead burns in
theenginedestroy theeffectiveness of thecatalytic converters intheengineexhaust system.
This in turn works against society's efforts to curb thepollution caused by vehicleexhausts
(seeChapter 11). Furthermore, lead compounds leaving theexhaust systemof thecar get
into theenvironment. Most lead compounds arepoisonous to humans and other animals.
Thus thebest strategy for improving theoctanenumber of gasolineis to convert straight-
chain paraffins to branched-chain compounds.
In the1940s, it was discovered that carrying out thecracking operation in thepresence
of solid materials containing silicon and aluminumoxides, called catalysts, not only broke
largeparaffin molecules apart into smaller ones, but thecarbon chains werealso changed
fromstraight to branched structures. A catalyst is asubstancethat increases therateof a
chemical reaction, but is not itself consumed in the reaction. Many catalysts not only
increasetherateof areaction, but they also allow theoverall chemical reactionto becarried
out at lower temperatures or pressures by altering thespecific molecular processes that take
placeduring thecourseof thereaction. Essentially, catalysts makeit easier to carry out a
particular chemical process. Thecatalytic cracking process in arefinery increases both the
total number of gallons of gasolineproduced fromabarrel of crudeoil and theoctane
number of theproduct. Catalytic cracking also generally produces less cokethan thermal
ILTRLLIM 159
cracking, and wastes less oil. This is today thestandard process for improving gasoline
yield, andthermal crackingprocesses areusedonly to alimitedextent.
All crudeoils will producesomestraight-run gasolineon distillation. This product has
too low an octanenumber for today's cars, but it would beextremely wasteful to throw it
away. Straight-run gasolineis, of course, already agasoline, so it does not need cracking
to improveits properties. Rather, all that is needed is for thestraight chains of carbon
atoms to berearranged into branched chains or aromatic rings. Theshape, and not thesize,
of themolecules needs to bechanged. In other words, themolecules need to bere-formed
and indeed theprocess by which wedo this is called reforming. Likecatalytic cracking,
reforming is carried out in the presence of a catalyst. The essential difference is that
reforming changes only themolecular shape, whilecatalytic cracking changes both the
shapeand sizeof thecarbon chains.
In summary, then, wehaveseen that relying only on distillation, about 20% of abarrel
of high-quality crudeoil couldbeconvertedto gasolinewitharelatively low octanenumber
(for example, ON=55). Using modern refinery technology that includes catalytic cracking
and catalytic reforming, almost 50% of abarrel of crudecan beconverted to gasolinewith
octanenumber well into the90s.
Keroseneis used today mainly as afuel for jet engines and gas turbines. In years past it
was widely used for domestic lighting (in kerosenelamps). That market was essentially
wiped out by theincreasing spread of electric power networks, especially into rural areas,
in thefirst threedecades of this century. Thereis still asmall market for kerosenefor
domestic use, particularly for auxiliary heaters (spaceheaters).
Diesel fuel partially overlaps in boiling rangewith thefuel oils. Theboiling rangeof
diesel fuel is 190-380 C. In contrast to thetraditional automobileengines, in which the
fuel/air mixture is ignited by a spark plug, diesels have no spark plugs; they rely on
extremecompression to ignitethefuel/air mixture. Both automobileand diesel engines are
examples of internal combustion engines, meaningthat thefuel is ignitedandburnedinside
theengine. Wecan differentiatethetwo by referring to thetraditional automobileengineas
aspark-ignition engine and thediesel as acompression-ignition engine. Thecompression
ratio of adiesel engineis in therange13:1 to 20:1, whereas ahigh-performancespark-
ignition enginemight haveacompression ratio of 9.5:1; in smaller, economy car engines it
might beabout 8:1.
Sincethediesel engineis acompression-ignition engine, wewant (in fact, weneed) the
fuel to knock. Thus thestraight-chain paraffins, which areundesirablein gasoline, are
highly desirablecomponents in diesel fuels. Thestandard of performanceof adiesel fuel is
thecetane number. Thecetanenumber is determined in analogous fashion to theoctane
number. In this case, thetwo referencecompounds arehexadecane(cetane), C16H34, and
methylnaphthalene, C11H10.
Cetane is assigned a cetane number of 100 and 1-methylnaphthalene, an aromatic
compound very unlikely to knock, is assigned acetanenumber of 0. Most commercially
availablediesel fuels havecetanenumbers in therange30-60. For automobiles or light
trucks with diesel engines afuel with cetanenumber 52-54is appropriate.
16O CHAITLR 8
Cetane Methylnaphthalene
Fuel oils haveawiderangeof uses. Someof themajor uses includedomestic heating,
generation of heat or mechanical power in industrial processes, steamgeneration in electric
power plants, and running theengines on ships. Theentirespectrumof fuel oil products
sold commercially covers awideboiling range. Commercial fuel oils areusually assigned a
number to indicatethefuel quality. ThesearesummarizedinTable8-2.
TABLE 8-2
Classification of fuel oils by numbers
Number Name Color Calorific value
(BTU/gal)
________________________________________________________________________
1 Kerosene Light 137,000
2 Distillate Amber 141,000
4 Very light residual Black 146,000
5 Light residual Black 148,000
6 Residual (Bunker C) Black 150,000
______
Number 2 fuel oil is the common home heating oil. Number 6, or Bunker C oil, is a
commonly used industrial heating oil; however, Bunker C usually has such ahigh viscosity
that it must bewarmed beforeit can flow through thefuel systeminto thefurnace. As a
rule, theviscosity and thesulfur content of fuel oils increaseas theclassification number
increases. Theflash point, thetemperatureat which thevapors ignite, and thepour point,
thelowest temperatureat which an oil will still flow, also increaseas thenumber increases.
Lubricating oils (or lubeoils) exit fromthedistillation column below theheating oils.
In automobileengines, their performancedirectly affects theefficiency: their roleis to
minimizetheconversion of mechanical energy (of pistons, shaft, etc.) back to thermal
energy (through friction). Although lubeoils may constituteno morethan 2% of thecrude,
they arevery desirableproducts, sincethey can often besold at high profit. (Comparethe
cost of aquart of lubeoil with agallon of gasoline.) Lubeoils arecarefully refined to
insuredesirablelubricating characteristics. Thesecharacteristics includealow viscosity at
ILTRLLIM 161
low temperatures (so that theoil can flow into themoving parts even on very cold days),
low volatility at high temperatures (so that theoil does not vaporizeaway when theengine
is running at high speed) and aresistanceto decomposition at thehigh temperatures of the
engine.
Table8-3 and Figure8-15 summarizethedataon thevarious commercially available
motor oils, which the reader should find useful. The SAE (Society of Automotive
Engineers) oils aredesignated by their viscosity or pour point. Thelower thepour point
(for, say, oil 5W), thelower theviscosity and themorelikely it is that theoil will flow (and
thus lubricatetheengine) at low temperatures. In very cold climates, oneneeds to useoils
like5W-20 or 5W-30 to makesurethat they will flow at thevery low temperatures. There
exist also year-round oils, for most climates, such as SAE 10W-40 and 10W-50. (These
oil designations havefound their way even into comics. Hereis thedialoguefroma1995
B.C. cartoon: I havethis terriblerecurring dreamthat involves numbers and letters, says
thepatient to Dr. Peter, thehead shrinker. What arethey?, asks Dr. Peter. 10W-30,
responds thepatient.)
TABLE 8-3
Properties of commonlubricating(engine) oils
SAE Number
Pour Point
(C)
Viscosity
*
5W - 3.8
10W -28 4.1
15W - 5.6
20W -24 5.6
20 - 5.6
30 -20 9.3
40 -16 12.5
50 -10 16.3
* inmm
2
/s, at 100C
Note: Commercial motor oils aremixtures of the
ones shown in thetable.
Finally, asphalt which is normally a non-distillable portion of crude oil is most
commonly used for paving roads. Waxes can be extracted fromasphalt using special
solvents. Waxes haveavariety of important - though mundane- uses in society, including
candles, waxed paper, wax coatings on cardboard food containers and theparaffin wax
used for sealing jars when preserving food by homecanning.
162 CHAITLR 8
-20
-10
0
10
20
30
Outside Air
Temperature,
C
SAE Viscosity
Grades
5
W
-
2
0
5
W
-
3
0
1
0
W
-
3
0
1
0
W
-
4
0
1
0
W
-
5
0
1
5
W
-
4
0
1
5
W
-
5
0
2
0
W
-
4
0
2
0
W
-
5
0
3
0
FIGURE 8-15. Examples of viscosity grades for passenger car engineoils.
[Source: Society of AutomotiveEngineers Handbook, 1986.]
REVIEW QUESTIONS
8-1. The Department of Energy has provided the following data for the U.S. proven
reserves of oil in the period 1984-1994 (in billions of barrels): 28.4, 28.4, 26.9, 27.3,
26.8, 26.5, 26.2, 24.7, 23.7, 22.9, 22.5. Makeagraph with thesedataand comment on
the trend observed. Compare this information with that published in the Economist of
7/20/96 (p. 88) according to which theU.S. has 10 years of reserves remaining.
8-2. Each one of the tankers froma fleet that bring imported oil to the U.S. carries 5
million barrels of oil. How many of theseneed to beunloading their cargo in any given day
to keep theU.S. refineries busy?
ILTRLLIM 163
8-3. Recently hailed as oneof thelargest discoveries sincePrudhoeBay (seeNYT of
11/22/96, Petrobrs Finds Big Deep-Water Oilfield), afield 80 miles off thecoast of the
stateof Rio deJ aneiro (owned by Petrobrs, thestate-owned Brazilian oil company), is
said to contain 1.3 billion barrels of oil. Indeed, in thelast decadetherehas been no larger
discovery (see the Economist of 5/18/96, Frommajor to minor). At current oil
consumption levels (less than 2 quads per year), how long would this oil last in Brazil.
Wereit to beconsumed in theU.S., how long would it last?
8-4. The1994 Energy Statistics Yearbook of theUnited Nations reports that theworld
oil production was 3.03 billion metric tons of oil.
(a) Compare this amount, in energy units, with the production of coal (see Review
Question 7-2).
AIgeria
AngoIa
Lgyl
Libya
Nigeria
Canada
Mexico
ISA
Argenlina
raziI
CoIombia
VenezueIa
China
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Kuvail
MaIaysia
man
Saudi Arabia
Syria
IAL
Norvay
Russia
IK
AuslraIia
O 1OOOOO 2OOOOO 3OOOOO 4OOOOO 5OOOOO
Thousand melric lons
164 CHAITLR 8
(b) What percentageof this production is accounted for by thecountries shown on the
graph (p. 163)?
(c) What fraction is accounted for by theU.S., Russiaand Saudi Arabia?
(d) Compare the information in this graph with that provided in Figure 8-3. Is the
agreement good?
8-5. Do the numbers for U.S. reserves shown in Figures 8-1 and 8-2 agree with each
other? Explain your answer.
8-6. By regularly changing thelubricating oil, theaverageefficiency of acar is kept at 30
miles per gallon. If theoil is not changed regularly, theaverageefficiency slips to 27 miles
per gallon. Thecar is driven 15,000 miles every year and agallon of gasolinecosts $1.30.
(a) How much money is saved by changing theoil? (b) Is this enough for 3 annual oil
changes (at $20per oil change)?
8-7. How many pounds of carbon dioxideareproduced by burning apound of gasoline
and apound of diesel fuel? Which fuel produces moreCO2? Assumethat gasolinecan be
representedas octaneandthat diesel fuel canberepresentedas cetane.
8-8. Indicatewhether thefollowingstatements aretrueor false:
(a) A gasolinethat has an octanenumber of 92contains 92% iso-octaneand8% heptane.
(b) In thepast 30years domestic oil production has exceeded domestic consumption.
(c) Distillationof crudeoil is achemical process.
(d) Reforming of crudeoil does not changethenumber of carbon atoms in themolecule
chain.
(e) Cracking of crudeoil does not changethenumber of carbon atoms in themolecule
chain.
8-9. Explain why all cars madein theU.S. since1975 useunleaded gasoline.
INVESTIGATIONS
8-1. Find out where the Exxon Corporation is looking for oil these days. See NYT of
10/20/91 (Oil's Field of Dreams Is Usually Foreign), 9/19/94 (Exxon's Go-Slow
Strategy: Someanalysts worry growth is threatened) and 6/30/95 (Exxon Expected to
Sign Deal For Russian Oilfields Today). Wherearetheother major oil companies drilling
for oil? SeeTime of 7/4/94 (Black Gold Rush: Oneof history's great oil scrambles is
under way as new fields open up abroad); BW of 1/13/92 (Big Oil's Slippery Slope)
and 8/8/94 (Remaking Big Oil); NYT of 7/19/92 (TheShrinking of theAmerican Oil
Industry), 9/11/92 (Exxon and Mobil in RussiaVenture), 11/1/93 (East ChinaSea
Opened to Oil Exploration), 11/9/93 (Oil Companies Shifting Exploration Overseas),
3/20/94 (For Oil Industry, That Next Elephant Proves Elusive and In Russia, Turning
Oil Into Money Is Actually Hard), 3/25/94 (Group Sets Oil Project For Russia), 4/12/94
ILTRLLIM 165
(Siberian Oil Ventureby 4 Companies), 9/1/94 (Conoco Starts Pumping Deep in Arctic
Russia), 9/21/94 (Huge-ScaleCaspian Oil Deal Signed), 10/31/94 (Long-TermOil
Strain Is Seen), 3/12/96 (Shell Makes a Big Oil Discovery Off Nigeria), 9/24/96
(Market Place: Arco looks to Russiato fill its vast appetitefor oil reserves); WSJ of
9/11/92 (Exxon and Mobil Agree to Search J ointly For Large Oil Fields in Western
Siberia), 9/1/94 (Conoco Tests the Tundra for Oil Profits), 10/10/94 (Foreign Oil
Companies Find Risks in Exploring China's TarimBasin), 11/24/94 (Texaco-Led
ConsortiumNears Russian Oil Agreement); Economist of 5/18/96(Frommajor to minor:
Theworld's big oil firms areengaged in an increasingly desperatescramblefor giant, low-
cost reserves). Seealso Fortune of 9/10/90(TheBeginning of theEnd for Oil).
8-2. Alaskahas becomealmost as hooked on revenues fromoil as someof theOPEC
countries. Investigatetheimportanceof oil in Alaska's economy. AreAlaskans in favor of
opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration? See NYT of 1/27/91
(Hickel Wants New AlaskaGold Rush), 10/9/96(Payday in Oil-Rich Alaska: Questions
Over a Windfall); BW of 8/6/90 (Why Alaska needs to break its oil habit) and the
Economist of 1/29/94 (Alaska's budget: Now, thediet). Seealso Investigation 21-1.
8-3. Sincethebreakup of theSoviet Union, Azerbaijan has emerged as an important player
on theinternational oil market, just as it was acentury ago in thetimes of Ludwig Nobel,
theoil king of Baku (seeChapter 3 in Yergin's The Prize, Further Reading, p. 461).
Find out who is exploring for oil in and around Baku, how much is expected to flow from
thesefields, and through which pipelines. SeeNYT of 9/21/94 (Huge-ScaleCaspian Oil
Deal Signed), 2/15/95 (Getting This Oil Takes Drilling and Diplomacy), 9/13/95
(PipelinePolitics), 10/4/95 (U.S. and Russiaat Odds Over Caspian Oil), 10/10/95
(Lessened Russian Rolein Azerbaijani Oil), 10/27/95 (Caspian's Sun on Rise, Chasing
Russian Shadow); Economist of 11/14/92 (Azerbaijani oil: Almost an oil rush), 3/25/95
(Of pipedreams and hubble-bubbles: Like just about everything that happens in
Azerbaijan, last week's attempted coup had oily ramifications); and BW of 7/17/95 (The
Great GameComes to Baku: Who will tapandtransporttheCaspian seaof oil?).
8-4. TheNorth Seaoil has been abig factor in reducing theclout of OPEC in thelast
fifteen years. Find out how much oil is flowing fromthesefields, who is producing it and
who is using it. SeeNYT of 4/12/94 (Risks Risein North SeaAs Oil's PriceDeclines),
2/28/95 (Shell and Exxon in North SeaOil Venture) and 10/19/95 (New Oilfield Lifts
Output FromNorway).
8-5. Colombia, known for its vast reserves of high-quality coal (seeInvestigation 7-11)
and as aformer oil importer, has becomeanew oil power. Investigatehow much oil is
expected to flow fromits oil fields and how much of it is exported. SeeNYT of 8/4/93
(As ColombiaOil Flow Spurts, So Do Worries About Money), 8/22/94 (Oil Companies
Buy an Army To TameColombia's Rebels), 3/20/95 (ColombiaBecoming an Oil Power
166 CHAITLR 8
in Spiteof Itself) and 10/7/96 (Land Clash Pits Indians Vs. Oilmen in Colombia). See
also theEconomist of 7/31/93(Colombia: And now oil).
8-6. Offshoredrilling in theGulf of Mexico has been important for theU.S. oil industry
since the 1960s (see Figure 8-10). Find out about some of the recent activities of oil
companies in thearea. How much oil is expected to berecovered? Is offshoredrilling
permitted elsewherein theU.S.? SeeBW of 5/15/95 (TheUnderseaWorld of Shell Oil:
It's discovering vast reserves in theGulf of Mexico), 10/30/95 (Pulling Oil fromDavy
J ones' Locker: New technologies cut thecost of deep-seaproduction); USNWR of 7/3/95
(Coastal Drilling? Don't Bet On It); Economist of 8/19/95 (Offshore Oil: Murky
waters); NYT of 10/28/90 (Lawmakers Agreeto Curb Exploration for OffshoreOil),
2/10/91 (Interior Dept. Backs New Drilling For Oil and Gas at OffshoreSites), 4/24/94
(2,860Feet Under theSea, aRecord-Breaking Well), 12/7/94(Oil Companies Drawn to
theDeep), 9/19/95 (Oil and Gas Finds by Texaco GiveIt Hopein Gulf of Mexico),
9/26/95(Geochemist Says Oil Fields May BeRefilledNaturally), and11/28/95(Shell to
Seek Oil BeneathGulf of Mexico Salt). Seealso National Geographic of 7/92(America's
Third Coast).
8-7. Geologists aredrilling for oil in increasingly remoteareas. An offshoreplatformis a
remarkableengineering achievement. It better be! A typical cost is abillion dollars, similar
to that of a1000-megawatt electric power plant. Find out moreabout new ways of oil
drilling and about the challenges of maintaining offshore platforms. See National
Geographic of 8/89 (TheQuest for Oil); NYT of 10/21/92 (How theOffshoreRigs
RodeOut Gulf's Storm), 4/8/96 (A New Way to Seek UnderseaOil, ViaSatellite); and
USNWR of 7/10/95 (Drilling deep for dollars).
8-8. In Latin America, Venezuelais theoil super-power. But thereareother important oil
players as well. Preparetwo bar graphs, oneshowing theproven reserves of oil in Latin
American nations and theother showing their current oil production. SeeNYT of 7/11/93
(Latin America's Oil Rush: Tapping Into Foreign Investors) and the Economist of
5/15/93 (Oil in Latin America: A sacred limping cow) and 6/1/96 (Energy in Latin
America: Even oil is growingless sacred).
8-9. TheChevron Corporation has been interested in exploiting oil in Kazakhstan. How
much oil is expected to flow fromtheTengiz oil field? Summarizetherecent developments
in this potentially huge deal. See NYT of 12/29/92 (Caspian Oil Date Is Set By
Chevron), 4/7/93 (Kazakhstan And Chevron Start Venture), 10/4/95 (U.S. and Russia
at Odds Over CaspianOil), and11/19/96(PipelineSet To ExpediteKazakstanOil).
8-10. Theeight-hour TV series ThePrize, based on Daniel Yergin's book (seeFurther
Reading, p. 461), was a major energy-related media event. Read the reviews and
summarizetheopinions of thecritics. SeeTime of 1/11/93 (Historical Gusher), and NYT
of 1/10/93 (Oil Becoming theSubstanceof Saga) and 1/11/93 (TheEpic of World Oil
ILTRLLIM 167
As aCatalyst of Conflict). Seealso thereview of thebook in theNYT Book Review of
12/9/90.
8-11. As thecountry itself, Russian oil industry has gonethrough quiteaturmoil in thelast
decade. Review someof theevents as reported by themedia. SeeNYT of 9/6/90 (Effect
of Fall in Soviet Oil Output), 5/19/91 (Oil Facts and Follies: U.S. ignores drop in Soviet
exports), 2/11/92 (Siberia: Rich in Oil, but Not Oil-Rich), 7/12/92 (Russians LineUp
for Gas as Refineries Sit on Cheap Oil), 9/11/92 (Exxon and Mobil in RussiaVenture),
10/22/92 (Market Place: Searching for Oil Beyond Moscow), 12/13/92 (Russia's Oil
Industry, theNew Domino), 3/20/94 (In Russia, Turning Oil Into Money Is Actually
Hard), 3/25/94 (Group Sets Oil Project for Russia: $10 Billion Investment in Sakhalin
Island Field), 4/12/94 (Siberian Oil Ventureby 4 Companies), 9/1/94 (Conoco Starts
Pumping Deep in Arctic Russia), 9/4/94 (SiberiaAwaits theOnslaught), and 6/30/95
(Exxon Expected to Sign Deal For Russian Oilfields Today); WSJ of 8/22/90 (A Host
of Problems PlagueSoviet Union's Oil Industry), 9/1/94 (Conoco Tests theTundrafor
Oil Profits), 11/24/94 (Texaco-Led ConsortiumNears Russian Oil Agreement);
Economist of 7/16/94 (Lukoil: Vagit Rockefeller), 12/10/94 (Russian oil: A gusher
under ice), and 4/1/95 (Russian oil: Therefined chaos).
8-12. Asiais poised for rapid economic development in the21st century. Do Asian nations
haveenough oil? Prepareagraph that compares their production and consumption of oil.
SeetheEconomist of 8/15/92 (Asian energy: Quenching thetigers' thirst).
8-13. Find out moreabout theStrategic PetroleumReserve. Retrievetherelevant datafrom
the Web site of the Energy Information Administration (www.eia.doe.gov). Make an
appropriategraph. How long would this oil last in thecaseof cessation of imports (if the
current consumption trends continued)? Seealso NYT of 9/28/90 (Delivering Oil From
Strategic Reserves to Consumers), 1/6/91 (Using an Oil Reserveto Control Prices);
WSJ of 9/14/90 (Increasein Strategic PetroleumReserveTo OneBillion Barrels Is Voted
by House); Oil & Gas Journal of 4/8/96(TheSPR andthebudget).
8-14. Despitethefact that theLos Angeles Basin is notorious for its smog, Californiais
well known for its tough environmental regulations. A case in point is Chevron's
exploitation of Point Arguello oil field (closeto SantaBarbara), oneof thelargest reserves
found since Alaskan Prudhoe Bay. Find out more about this odyssey. See NYT of
11/28/90 (Chevron Sets California Oil Plan) and 11/29/90 (Breaking Logjamon
CaliforniaOil), as well as WSJ of 11/12/90 (Oil Firms and Environmentalists SeemNo
Closer To Agreement in Drawn-Out Fight in California). How wouldyou go about getting
aquick updateonthis situation?
8-15. Catalytic cracking is aprocess that revolutionized theproduction of transportation
fuels frompetroleum. Find out how it also helped win theSecond World War. Seethe
Journal of Chemical Education, August 1984, p. 655.
168 CHAITLR 8
8-16. Kuwait's oil fields havebeen devastated during the1990/91 invasion by Iraq; see
National Geographic of 8/91(After theStorm) and 2/92 (Persian Gulf Pollution). They
appear to haverecovered admirably. Summarizetheimportant indicators that illustratethis
recovery. SeeNYT of 11/6/94 (Kuwait's Oil Industry Rises FromtheAshes of War).
8-17. International transport of crudeoil is very important for theUnited States and the
world (seeReview Question 8-2). It has been under closer scrutiny sincetheExxon Valdez
spill. Find out about some of the insurance and market issues. See NYT of 12/12/94
(InsuranceShift for Oil Tankers May Disrupt Flow to U.S.).
8-18. In aseries of advertisements on thecurrent exploration and utilization of oil, the
Mobil Corporation makes thepoint that it is getting ready for achanging world (NYT of
8/29/96). Thechanges involveboth going to new places to find oil and using modern
technology to find it and refineit. Find out about someof thesenew developments. See
USA Today of 11/12/92 (High technology: A premiumasset); NYT of 10/3/96 (A
different kind of power), 10/10/96 (Staying thecoursevs. cut and run), 11/7/96 (High
dramaonceagain in theageof oil), 11/15/96 (New tools for today's oil prospectors),
and11/20/96(Managingmolecules).
8-19. In another series of advertisements on thecurrent exploration for oil, Mobil talks in
moredetail about its many international partners. Find out about someof thesepartners.
SeeNYT of 8/31/95, 9/21/95, 10/26/95, 11/16/95, 1/18/96, and 2/8/96.
8-20. It is understandable that Mobil and other oil companies are not thrilled by the
prospects of alternativefuels. In an advertisement entitled Running out of oil?, Mobil
argues against forcing themarket to makethetransition to alternativefuels prematurely.
What alternativefuels is Mobil talking about? Summarizethearguments against these
alternativefuels. SeeNYT of 4/13/95.
8-21. Onceupon atime, independent oil producers theso called wildcatters werevery
important for thedomestic oil supply. What aretheir fortunes thesedays? SeeTime of
8/27/90 (Gushing With Enthusiasm) and Smithsonian of 3/91 (Therearenew signs of
energy out in theKansas oil patch).
8-22. Therehas never been morepublicity given to oil than in September 1990. Browse
through someof thenewspapers and weekly magazines of thetimeand find out why.
8-23. In addition to discussing thegeopolitics of oil, theNational Geographic of 5/88
(ThePersian Gulf: Living in Harm's Way) has important information on theoil reserves
in theregion. Do thenumbers quoted agreewith theinformation in Figures 8-1 and 8-2
What fraction of MiddleEast's reserves is in thePersian Gulf countries?
8-24. As far as big oil is concerned, it all started with Colonel Edwin Drakein Titusville,
Pennsylvania in 1859. Find out about today's oil cities in Pennsylvania. See NYT of
7/26/95 (InsideOil City, HopeRuns Dry).