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Lecture Topic: Petroleum

Figures 15.16 (in the sense of recognizing a carbon cycle that includes fossil organic
carbon), 15.17 (in the sense of recognizing human alteration of carbon cycle); 23.8,
23.14 (in comparison to petroleum)
Key Terms carbon cycle, fossil fuel, nonrenewable resource, oil trap
Carbon Cycle:
Coal is the result of
accumulation and burial
of terrestrial plant

Oil is fossil fuel that is

formed from plankton
that is deposited in the sediments of oceans and lakes, and then buried deeply in the
Organic matter deposited with sediments can be transformed into fossil fuels during

Bacterial and chemical actions, aided by elevated temperatures, begin the long process of
transforming buried organic matter to petroleum
The Oil peak is at approximately 100 degrees.
Upon burial and exposure to
heat, the lighter molecular
weigh hydrocarbon compounds
are distilled off into the gas and
liquid phases of petroleum.

Oil and gas are less dense than

water and insoluble in water, so
the oil (or gas) phase separates from water in the pore space and begins to migrate

The beds of the sedimentary rock in which the

petroleum is formed are called the source
rocks. Oil and natural gas moved upward
through porous rock until a trap is encountered.
Migrating hydrocarbons can get trapped
by subsurface structures
Adjacent wells drilled to the same depths may have drastically different
production histories. Successful production depends upon an understanding of the
subsurface rock types and structures.

When we produce the crude oil, we send it

to refineries for further distillation into various products.