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IT KILLS US GETTING IT OUT - Mining is traditionally a dangerous occupation. If a mine collapse does not get you, the carcinogenic dust will do you no good.



Oil is the product of millions of years of decay of tiny plants and animals under layers of sand and mud.


The plankton that lived in the Jurassic period made our crude oil. This was the time of the dinosaurs. It was about 180,000,000 years ago.


The oil we find underground is called crude oil. Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons - from almost solid to a gaseous state.

Crude oil has to be treated before it can be used for anything. This happens in an oil refinery.

When crude oil is pumped out of a well (especially offshore wells) the oil is often mixed with gases, water and sand forming an emulsion with the water that looks a bit like a caramel coloured paint.

Sand is suspended in the emulsion, adding to the caramel look. The sand will settle out and the water is removed using de-emulsifying agents. The water and sand have to be separated from the crude oil before it can be processed ready for transportation by tanker or pipeline to a refinery.

Dissolved gases have to be removed at the well. Otherwise, they might come out of solution and cause a build up of pressure in a pipe or a tanker and potentially cause an explosion.

Crude oil also contains sulphur. This has to be removed from any fractions that are going to be burnt because it forms sulphur dioxide which contributes to acid rain and acid oceans.


For this reason any fractions that go into fuels, like kerosene, petroleum and diesel, pass through hydrofiners to remove the sulphur, except for bunker fuel which has a high sulphur content and is now being phased out for marine transport.





Fossil fuels kick started our industrial revolution, powered steam ships and generated electricity as we released the energy in coal and later oil, to make things happen at a faster pace. Cars and aircraft being an example of things we now take for granted that pollute big time.


But it was a brilliant time for engineers and town planners who thought they could rely of this energy source without any consequences. Because after all the world is a big place. Surely humans could not alter the delicate ecological balance of planet earth just by driving a few cars and lighting a few home fires. Then came central heating. Sh*#%


Sadly, we can. We did and we still are, even though we now know how dangerous our excesses are to other species - and we are also set for extinction if we do nothing to swap fossil fuels for clean renewable energy sources.



Oil usage map of the world by country in millions of barrels






By way of an example, the United States has less than 5% of the world's population, but uses more than 25% of the world's supply of fossil fuels derived from oil. As the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, accounted for 80 percent of [its] weighted emissions in 1998. Combustion of fossil fuels also produces other air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds and heavy metals. The more developed a country in 2019, the harder it will be to kick the fossil fuel habit. Going cold-turkey is not an option. President Donald Trump and other G20 world leaders are sure to be considering ways of curing their nation's addiction to oil, before they overdose.









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