Human survival has always been dependent on natural resources- from food to clothing, covering several other factors in between, like transportation. Apart from the flora and fauna, earth's crust is also utilized for daily requirements. Use of natural oil can be traced back to five thousand years ago when it helped in transportation, medication, and lighting purposes in the Middle East. It still continues to be used in various sectors.
Oil was drilled from the ground to paint boats to make them waterproof. The demand of oil was very high and could not be met with the limited whale oil used in those days, and hence the need gave birth to the oil industry. Refiners generated heavy revenue from the oil business. Prices went high because of limited supply, and thus alternatives had to be searched. U.S.A is the biggest consumer of oil while the Arab League is the number one producer.
If we go by the released statistics, nearly 30 billion barrels of oil are consumed in the world every year, of which 25 per cent is consumed by United States of America alone.
The oil industry is divided into three processes:
Upstream processing is done for recovery, search and production of natural gas and crude oil. This sector is called E&P or exploration and production sector. It includes the following steps:
A� Searching for potential underground oil or gas fields
A� Drilling of wells
A� Operating the wells
A� Bringing crude oil to the surface
Downstream processing generally refers to the process of refining crude oil and gas, and selling as well as distribution of the products derived from crude oil. Some of these products are LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), jet fuel, petrol, gasoline, diesel oil, petroleum coke, and asphalt. Hence, the downstream sector is comprised of petrochemical plants, oil refineries and petroleum product distribution. Midstream however is a part of downstream process.
Looking at the facts and figures of the consumption of oil, the estimated petroleum supply in 2030 will reach 118 million barrels per day from 1.2 million barrel per day in 2003. Transportation sector has put a high pressure over the petroleum industry.
The oil industry is a major culprit behind water pollution and hence a threat to global environment. The waste is generally produced as a by-product of refining. Environmental factors need to be considered to secure the resources for future.