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[Energy] [Column] All About Petroleum - (1) Origin of Petroleum

by Eco Generation | 18-06-2019 09:34 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 1 recommendations



Origin of Petroleum

 

 

 

By Science Columnist Ho-Gwan Ko

 

 

 

"Such useless dinosaurs that lived in Korea! They could not even leave us petroleum..."

 


Some people complain that we do not have petroleum in this country.
It is truly a shame that valuable petroleum is barely produced in Korea, but if you blame dinosaurs for it, they are being falsely accused. Dinosaurs and petroleum have nothing to do with each other.


First, let us study what petroleum is. Petroleum is a mixture of liquid natural hydrocarbons in the ground. In the Korean word for petroleum (Seok-Yu), “Seok” means stone. This tells you where petroleum comes from. When being in a gaseous state, it is called natural gas. The word petroleum consists of petra, which means rocks, and oleum, which means oil. The word originates from the fact that petroleum flowing over the ground was used in the past.


The natural state of petroleum extracted from the ground is called crude oil, which contains impurities such as sulfur, nitrogen, and metals as well as the main component, hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons have numerous types and can be made into a variety of materials depending on the process. For this reason, petroleum has become indispensable in our lives today.


Therefore, when and how was petroleum formed? It takes a long time for petroleum to be created. 70% of petroleum that we use today was formed in the Mesozoic era (about 250 million to 66 million years ago). 20% was made in the Cenozoic era (more than 65 million years ago) and 10% in the Paleozoic era (540 million to 250 million years ago). Some research says that petroleum could have been made from a whopping 3 billion years ago.
Aha! Is it not right that dinosaurs have turned into petroleum, because the Mesozoic era is when dinosaurs lived? Listen a little more.


The main components of petroleum, carbon and hydrogen, are also the building blocks of organisms. Moreover, impurities such as nitrogen and sulfur can be generated as protein breaks down. It seems certain that organisms buried underground in the past turned into petroleum. This is why petroleum and coal, which is made of buried plant material, are called fossil fuels.


Scientists now assume that petroleum was made by microorganisms such as plankton buried under the sea changing their forms. To turn into petroleum, debris of organisms buried under the ground should not meet oxygen so as not to decompose; under the sea is a better environment than the ground.

The reason why a great deal of petroleum was created in the Mesozoic era is because it was warm during that period. Plankton can prosper when the ocean is warm.


First, dead plankton, algae, and bacteria are accumulated at the ocean floor and mixed with mud. These sediments are accumulated where oxygen is not contacted, and accumulation continues, making forcing old layers downward. When the depth reaches 2-4 km, the temperature and pressure increase, turning them into the material called “kerogen.” When kerogen is heated to 90-160°C, it turns into petroleum and natural gas.


As petroleum is lighter than water, it moves upward through holes in the rocks, changing its position with water. In this process, the place where petroleum, natural gas, and water are surrounded by dense rocks becomes an oil field, from which we get petroleum by drilling holes.


For oil fields to be created, all conditions must be met. It requires a wide area where sedimentary rocks are developed and mixed with lots of debris of organisms, and chemical changes must be made by proper temperature and pressure. For petroleum to be collected, there should be sandstone or limestone with a lot of cracks, and rocks that do not let petroleum penetrate need to surround the area to prevent it from leaking out. As oil fields are close to the ground, we can dig into them.


Most oil fields are found in 150-7,600 meter-deep rock layers. Sometimes, we need to dig more than 12 km into the earth to find an oil field. This means that you need to dig a whopping 4 km further, even when you begin from the top of Mount Everest and reach sea level. With further development of oil exploration and drilling technology in the future, we may be able to tap into more oil fields existing deeper down.


In conclusion, petroleum is a precious resource that is not easily formed or found. It is not abnormal that Korea does not have good enough oil fields. We can now stop blaming the poor dinosaurs.

  

 

Oil well

Flcelloguy [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

 

6 Comments

Benjamin Santos

  • Benjamin Santos says :
    Long live the Dinosaurs!!! :)

    Thanks here.
    Posted 18-07-2019 11:34

Muskan Priya

  • Muskan Priya says :
    Thanks for such an informative report @ecogen :)
    Posted 01-07-2019 17:26

Israel Adeoye

  • Israel Adeoye says :
    What an educating report. It expands the origin of petroleum to me.

    Also, the Koreans who have a different view of petroleum, that blame dinosaurs for low petroleum in Korea will have their view changed.


    Posted 25-06-2019 21:49

Rosa Domingos

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hi Eco-Generation!

    I hope you are well. Thank you for the knowledge-bound theme article! The knowledge behind what it consists and the impurities thereof makes us understand that it needs to go through a number of process before it is that which we all know... 'petroleum'

    Thank you for this wonderful reading piece Tunza!
    Posted 25-06-2019 16:12

Claudiana Sleinx Saheintah Petit Homme

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Thank you @EcoGeneration. This is really informative and fun to read

    Eagerly waiting for the next Tuesday for the next article.

    Green Cheers :)
    Posted 19-06-2019 11:57

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