Petroleum Formation
Petroleum oil is generally considered to be formed from animal and vegetable
debris accumulating in sea basins or estuaries and buried there by sand and
silt. The debris may have been decomposed by anaerobic bacteria under
reducing conditions, so that most of the oxygen was removed, or oil may have
been distilled from the partially decayed debris by heat generated by earth
movements or by depth of burial.
The final results is a black viscous product of composition:
Carbon 80 to 89%
Hydrogen 12 to 14%
Nitrogen 0.3 to 1%
Sulphur 0.3 to 3%
Oxygen 2 to 3%
The main differences between the origins of oil and coal are:
a) Coal was formed mainly from land plants, decaying under mildly
reducing conditions
b) Oil was formed mainly from sea plants and animals decaying under
strongly reducing conditions
c) Coal seams remained where deposited.
d) Oil can migrate under the effects of temperature and pressure so that
the location of existing deposits may not be the location of the initial
accumulation of oil-forming debris.
e) The source rock is sedimentary in nature and mainly, or entirely, of
marine origin.
Temperature changes, earth movements, and differences in density between oil
and salt water, caused the oil to migrate from the source rock to accumulate in
favourable geological formations. Favourable locations mean a porous
sedimentary rock, called a “Reservoir rock” in which oil and gas can
accumulate in the upper lavers, capped by an impermeable rock, or rock
formation, which prevents escape of the oil and gas. Reservoir rocks are usually
coarse-grained sandstones, grit, limestones or dolomite. Cap rocks are fine
grained clays and shales, marls and limestones. The strata in an oilfield form a
trap and the following types are commonly found:

The aim is not to understand every word. but by locating topic sentences and keywords to gain a general grasp of the subject matter. In this type of exercise you should out reading time to the minimum. such as limestone. measuring the reflectance of shock waves passed through the earth’s crust. in which inclined layers of oil containing rock are overlain by a cap of impervious rock d) Anticline formed by a salt dome. In cases b) to d) the gas has escaped and the deposit consists only of oil and salt water. It is widely used for undersea exploration Magnetic. Geophysical methods. sealing off the oil-bearing layers. When oil has been proved. Think of sub headings for . under which the oil can form a reservoir. c) Stratigraphic trap. in time the deposit separates into three layers: gas. local variations in the intensity and direction of the earth’s magnetic field show the distribution of the various rocks in the earth’s crust. Oil deposits are detected by visual. reflecting. b) Fault trap. C. their nature. and geophysical methods. drilling. sealing layers above the reservoir rock. in which a fracture in the strata brings an impervious.a) Anticlinal dome. These may be assisted by aerial photography. Visual methods include observations of oil seepages at the surface and fossils occurring in the strata. which has been thrust through strata. Drilling. measuring with sensitive instruments the variation in density of the earth’s crust. oil and water. The final test for oil bearing strata is drilling. is continued until the depth of the oil. with mud cooling.1 Skimming Read quickly through the text. geological. Or oil bearing strata. These include: Gravimetric. EXERCISES 1. Seismic. Cores from the drill are examined for fossil formation and evidence of porous or non-porous rocks. or even every sentence. This gives the depth of hard. layers. Geological methods include mapping the age of rocks. and the types of formations present. has been ascertained.

Can you name them? 1.3 information transfer 1 – Composition Chart a) to e) are the components of oil. 1. Methods of oil exploration 1.2 Scanning true or false? In this type of exercise a more thorough reading is required. Oil composition B. Coal is made mainly from vegetable matter. (a) Anticlinal dome (b) Anticline formed by a salt dome (c) Fault tramp . are the following statements true or false according to the text? a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) Oil is made of animal and vegetable matter. T Cap rock is permeable. F Reservoir rock is porous. T Gas is always found with oil deposits. displayed in their relative proportions as a schematic bar chart.4 Information transfer 2 – Formation Diagrams Name these formations using information given in the text. Oil reservoirs And C. T Oil contains no oxygen. You are looking for specific details for example. F Oil is made from bacteria. T Oil deposits can change their location. T Coal deposits sometimes migrate.A. T Earth movements produce heat.

e. stripped and close. many words of similar shape. e.5 Word skills These exercises are designed to build vocabulary. Detection methods a) Visual = Observation + Strata b) Geological = Map + aerial photography c) Geophysical (measurements) 1. choose the closest in meaning to the word given as it used in the text: a) b) c) d) e) Debris (line3) = deposits/detritus/depth Accumulating (line 2) = gathering/accommodating/exhumating Decomposed (line 3) = decayed/deformed/debris Migrate (line26) = mitigate/magnetize/move Thrust (line42) = truss/push/crust 1. From the following. Seismic = waves + depth 3. Christmas trees. in the following sentences. “composed” and “components”. The Christmas trees were stripped at the close of festivities and The Christmas trees were stripped at the close of production.6 Locating keywords.2 words) for each method.g. Are related. Certain items are central to the meaning of a given point. Magnetic = rocks + variation d) Drilling = mud + petroleum . For example. Look at section C of the text.g. whilst others. and teach you to recognize (but not to be misled by) the formation of words. “Estuaries” and “actuaries” are not.(d) Stratigraphic tramp 1. the last word in each case determines the meaning of the whole. Try to select keywords or key phrases (max. or affects our understanding of the other content words. Gravimetric = density +variation 2. and changes.