Petroleum exploration and production

Petroleum exploration and production

The 1901 discovery of the vast Spindletop oil field in Texas and the emergence of the automobile caused petroleum to surpass coal as the principal fuel source by 1951. For the primary crude oil recovery process, chemistry is most evident in diamond drilling bits, drilling muds, and oil-from-shale extraction, using a combination of chemicals and steam. The secondary recovery processes include pumping high pressure gas (carbon dioxide) or water solutions into the earth.

Oil derrick in the Gulf of MexicoOil derrick in the Gulf of Mexico

The chemical technology of refining crude oil to separate its different chemical fractions has been continually improved, starting with simple atmospheric distillation and progressing to vacuum (reduced pressure) distillation to thermal cracking to the use of catalysts.

Process of fractional destillation

  1. Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)
  2. Chemicals
  3. Petrol for vehicles
  4. Jet fuel
  5. Diesel fuels
  6. Lubricating oils
  7. Fuels for factories, central heating
  8. Bitumen for roads
  9. Heated crude oil

Did you know?

In the ancient times, crude oil was used to preserve mummies. The Arabic word "mumiya" means bitumen, which is a type of tar. According to the resarch findings, the Egyptians held huge stocks of this substance, traded with it, and tranported it in long bamboo tubes.