From OPEC to American shale, from hydraulic fracturing to negative oil prices, from endless political debates to inventories, the fossil fuel industry never runs out of headlines. But the industry has some lesser-known goodies that might surprise even the most discerning connoisseur of the petroleum industry.
In no particular order, here are our top 10 things you never knew about petroleum.
Number 10 on our list was not inspired by DC Comics, although it’s easy to see why one might think so. Superhero fans might be surprised – and perhaps giddy – to learn that there is a Batman refinery. It takes its name do not from DC comics, but because of its location in Batman, Turkey. Batman in Turkish means “engulfed,” and the city was named because it is often flooded. If you’re disappointed that the refinery doesn’t quite bear the Caped Crusader name, you’re not alone.
Number 9 If you are passionate about the oil industry, you probably already knew that Venezuela is home to the largest oil reserves of any country. But did you know that the 304 billion barrels of oil from the Latin American country is enough to supply the whole world with oil for 8.5 years? That’s over 18 quintillion liters of oil and enough to fill the Baltic Sea more than twice!
Number 8 China may be in search of oil in the rest of the world because its own resources are hard to reach, but China has been in the oil search game for more than a millennium. The first known wells were drilled in China. In AD 347, oil wells in China were drilled using bamboo poles. Some of these wells were nearly 800 feet deep!
Number 7 Your grandparents might remember a time when Standard Oil was… well… the norm. But in 1911, Standard Oil was split into many different companies for antitrust matters. It was a pretty big development that forever changed the oil industry in the United States. But did you know that many of these companies have since merged? Almost all the split companies are now part of Chevron, Exxon, BP and Marathon.
Number 6 Alright, inventory watchers, think about this one. According to the Energy Information Administration, each 42 gallon barrel of crude oil actually produces 45 gallons of petroleum products due to what is called “processing gain.” The EIA likens it to popcorn, which gets bigger when you pop it.
Number 5 Oil and gas have thousands of uses other than transportation and energy. There are about 6,000 different products made from oil and gas. Rain gear, Kevlar, and Velcro are just a few of the things made with oil and gas. But without oil, you wouldn’t have toilet seats or shower curtains either. You wouldn’t have antihistamines either, which would make the world pretty miserable. Soap, aspirin, hearing aids, contact lenses, and hair coloring are just a few other products that depend on oil and gas.
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Number 4 OPEC – it drives up world oil prices by limiting supply It produces almost 40% of the world’s oil. And whether you call them an oil cartel or just a group, or laugh at OPEC’s cautious refusal to speak in terms of the price of oil when we know that is what they are doing, OPEC undeniably plays a central role in the manipulation of the oil markets. worldwide. Still, it can be shocking how much oil OPEC members have found in the world. Of the 20 largest oil fields in world history, OPEC members are responsible for 14 of them. Of the 5 largest oil fields in the world, all are in the hands of OPEC members, from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait, from Iran to Venezuela. Kazakhstan is the only country with one of the top 10 oil fields in terms of barrels of oil equivalent that is NOT part of OPEC.
Number 3 Despite the current barrel measurement, no one ships oil in physical barrels. Why then talk about oil in terms of barrels? And why are there 42 gallons in a barrel instead of a nice round number like 40 or even 50? The measure of oil in barrels comes from the United States. In Pennsylvania in the 1800s, oil was stored in anything handy, like jars. But as the industry began to take off, the industry needed something bigger to transport the oil to sell. People settled on the barrel just because at the time the whiskey was stored in barrels. Well, why reinvent the wheel? The barrel also seemed perfectly suited to the oil industry. As to why the seemingly random volume of 42 gallons, sellers would base the sale on 40 gallons and add two more gallons for good measure to compensate for what would surely spill out during transport.
Number 2 A fair amount of oil floating in the ocean got there honestly, through a natural phenomenon known as oil seeps. No one wants oil companies to leak or dump oil into the ocean, but according to a 2003 National Research Council report, 160,000 tonnes are dumped into North American waters each year through these seeps. The most sensitive area happens to be the eco-friendly California, where 5 million gallons of oil leaks into the ocean every year. Some slicks caused by these seeps are even visible by satellite and can form oil lines of several kilometers.
Number 1 The US states of Texas and North Dakota, combined, produce more crude oil than any other country on the planet except the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia. If Texas were a country, it would be the 4th largest oil producer in the world, excluding the United States. In 2020, Texas alone produced an average of 4.869 million barrels per day, more crude oil than any country except Saudi Arabia, Russia and Canada. China (and of course the United States).
By Julianne Geiger for OilUSD
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