Posted by: oilissues | March 7, 2012

The offshore oil drilling

The offshore oil drilling is a mechanical process that can recover oil buried in the soil in the bottom of seas and oceans.

The first platforms are those of the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas coast. These platforms are located invery shallow water and have no other function than being a “wellhead”.

They are an extension of what had then been developed on earth.
During the first oil shock in 1973, European governments are asking the question of their independence from the Gulf states.
It becomes essential for them to develop the oil fields in the North Sea.

The choice between different types of platforms is based on their role and the environment (water depth, sea conditions …).

A platform is usually composed of two distinct parts:
– The “topsides” (useful part surface), consisting of prefabricated modules
– The supporting structure: part for holding the useful part above water, made of metal mesh(jacket) or consists of concrete columns.

The offshore oil drilling has been banned in the U.S. in 1990 by George HW Bush because of it is dangerous for the environment.
In 2008, his son George W. Bush lifts the ban to ensure the independence of his country’s production.

Oil companies operate more and more oil wells at sea.

Construction, transportation, operation (with any incidents or accidents) and the end of life of platforms generate various environmental impacts.

Toxicity and ecotoxicity of antifoolings, paints or certain waste lost at sea, during normal operation of the platform can cause local problems.

Another problem is that the impacts generated by the lighting infrastructure, disrupting marine life, but especially migratory birds through the phenomenon known as light pollution.
Experiments suggest that the birds would be less disturbed by the green light, one might therefore focus on the platforms, but the green lights mark out the lines of traditional helicopters, and some fear of disturbing patterns or meaning the orientation of the pilot.

But the main risk is the major accident, on a deep drilling, and 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon reputedly one of the most sophisticated in the world.

The video below explains the reasons of the disaster:

And consequences:

Posted by: oilissues | February 15, 2012

Energy shock ?

The oil crisis is certain, but when? Many analysts argue the idea that oil prices will explode in the coming decades due to several factors.
The first is the depletion of oil fields on the globe, the second is the establishment of successive limited export producing countries for political and/or economic reasons.


Posted by: oilissues | February 15, 2012

Bituminous sands

A bituminous sand (or oil sand, sometimes called tar sands) is a mixture of crude bitumen, which is a semi-solid form of crude oil, sand, claymineral and water. In other words, it is a sand coated with a layer of water on which a film of bitumen is deposited.

The picture below shows a grain of bituminous sand:








The largest concentration of oil sands  is located in Canada in the Alberta region:








Alberta has proven oil reserves of 171.3 billion barrels, consisting of bitumen (169.9 billion barrels) and conventional oil (1.4 billion barrels). These reserves make up the third-largest proven crude oil reserve in the world, next to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. This is enough oil to meet Canada’s current oil demand for almost 400 years.

The extraction of oil from sand is very difficult and requires more chemical treatment than normal extraction, however, this new source of production is more and more developed because of rising oil prices.

The four most common environmental impacts from oil sands development are greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and tailings ponds (open-pit mines).

The environmental impact is very important because it takes between 2 and 3 tons of sand to make a barrel, so imagine the size and depth of careers. Enormous machines dig the ground 24 hours on 24, the flora and fauna of the region of Alberta is changed every day.

The bituminous sands are the largest user of water in Alberta. Current projects are licensed to remove more than 450 million cubic metres of water from the Athabasca River each year, equivalent to about two and a half times the water the City of Calgary (988 193 inhabitants) uses per year.

Posted by: oilissues | January 22, 2012

Oil barrel

Barrel (bbl or symbol bl) of the gallo-roman barriculus “hogshead” and the medieval Latin barriclus “little cask” is a unit of measurement.

The oil barrel is used in the United States as a measure of crude oil and other petroleum products.


  • 1 barrel equals 42 US gallons
  • 1 barrel = 34.29 BPD
  • 1 barrel equals 158.984 Litres
There can be 6 to 8 barrels of oil in a ton, depending on density.

There are two main types of barrels of oil: WTI (West Texas Intermediate) U.S. and Brent in Europe (the acronym Brent means Broom, Rannock, Etive, Ness and Tarbert).

WTI is generally regarded as the reference oil price because it is one of the best quality of oil in the world. However, the quality of oil is typically American: WTI is intended primarily for the U.S. market.

Brent crude oil, however, is more “international”, which also determines much of the price of other crude oil in the world. Brent is a mixture of production from 19 oil fields located in the North Sea.

On this picture, you can see the price of a barrel of WTI and a barrel of Brent (January, Sunday 22 2012) and their evolution over one year. It is found that both types of barrels have almost same variations:

Barrels per day (BPD) is a measurement used to describe the rate of crude oil production or consumption by an entity. Thanks to this unit, we can measure the production of an oil field or the production/consumption of a country.

Below, you can see the top 15 world oil producers (Thousand barrels per Day):

1 Russia 9,674.47
2 Saudi Arabia 8,500.27
3 US 5,511.93
4 Iran 4,080.42
5 China 4,076.28
6 Canada 2,732.29
7 Mexico 2,575.86
8 Nigeria 2,455.26
9 Arab Em. 2,414.66
10 Iraq 2,399.30
11 Kuwait 2,350.00
12 Venezuela 2,129.04
13 Brazil 2,054.67
14 Angola 1,938.52
15 Norway 1,869.28


Below,  the top 15 world oil consumers (Thousand barrels per Day):

1 US 18,810.01
2 China 8,324.00
3 Japan 4,443.49
4 India 3,110.00
5 Russia 2,740.00
6 Brazil 2,522.00
7 Germany 2,440.02
8 Saudi A. 2,438.00
9 Korea 2,185.45
10 Canada 2,150.61
11 Mexico 2,084.15
12 France 1,827.65
13 Iran 1,691.00
14 UK 1,667.01
15 Italy 1,527.75


Posted by: oilissues | December 16, 2011

CO2 emissions in the world

Today, all countries use oil for industry, transportation and domestic needs.

There are two main groups of countries that have increased their CO2 emissions in recent years :

1. Southeast Asia. This group has been rapidly industrializing. This group includes China, India, Korea, Vietnam, and a long list of other countries in Southeast Asia, including nearby islands. The oil needs of these countries has increased significantly over the past 25 years.

2. Middle Eastern Countries. This group showed energy use growing more rapidly than GDP (Gross domestic product), suggesting that it was taking more energy to extract oil and to pacify its population, over time.

3. Rest of the World. This group is the only group showing a favorable trend in energy growth, even in the last decade, although the pace of improvement has slowed. Two reasons for this favorable trend seem to be continued growth of services such as financial service, healthcare, and education, which use relatively little energy and outsourcing of a major part of heavy industry to Southeast Asia.

Below, you can see the evolution of CO2 emissions for each country group:

Carbon dioxide emissions emitted in year shown by the three major areas described (Southeast Asia, Middle East, Remainder), based on BP Statistical Data.

The vast majority of the CO2 increase since 1980 has taken place in the Southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern areas!

Posted by: oilissues | November 14, 2011

Oil companies : size and power

Wikipedia, “Oil companies in the world”

The bigest oil companies in the world have a lot of capital. Their profits allow them to buy more and more exploitation rights. Many of them are lobbying the various governments of the world for more and more “permissions”.

The 3 more important oil companies of the world are :

  • ExxonMobil :   an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is the largest publicly traded companie by market capitalization in the world!
                                         – $340 billion revenues (in 2009) .
                                         – produces about 3 percent of the world’s oil and about 2 percent of the world’s energy.
  • BP :
                                         – 308.9 billion revenues (in 2010).
                                         – produces about 1 percent of the world’s oil and 1 percent oh the world’s gas.
  • Shell :
                                         –  270 billion revenues (in 2010).

On the website you can see the latest news related to oil companies (especially those that we don’t show on TV).

Posted by: oilissues | November 14, 2011

Issues of “Oil issues” (abstract)

Oil issues aims to present to readers challenges of oil worldwide.
We can hear on the radio, on TV or when we read newspapers, conflicts directly related to oil, the various articles of this blog allows us to understand part of this news.

Different views are discussed (history of conflicts, environmental issues, future of oil, advantages, disadvantages, etc.). Each topic raises a debate and invites readers to comment and provide input.

Oil issues not responding to a specific problem but a lot of questions, because the subject of oil is very complex and diverse.

Many blogs and websites are related to the topics covered in Oil issues, so I will use, in some of my articles, the posts published on the web and reactions of readers.

Finally, Oil issues allows everyone to enhance its culture on issues related to oil, to follow the news and so form an opinion and share it.

One problem associated with the dependence on oil is the extremely damaging effects that production, distribution, and use have on the environment. Furthermore, accidents and conflicts can disrupt production or the actual oil resource, which can also result in environmental devastation.


On website, you can see exemples effects of oil pollution…

Posted by: oilissues | October 8, 2011

Petroleum politics

In 2008, 12 of 20 most important firms of the world are oil companies. Black Gold is used in all sectors of industry and is present in our everyday life: transportation, packaging, household appliances, clothes, computers…

Today, every country of the world are more or less dependent on this raw material, but the oil resources are not evenly distributed.  More than half of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in the Middle East. Here, you can see the oil’s distribution around the world.

So, the business of the oil arouses considerable greeds; it requires governments, responsible for the smooth running of their States, permanent surveillance, and was led to sometimes extreme behavior to make sure of its regular supply.

In the early 20th century, the United States occupied the oil-producing countries to ensure their supply. Nowadays, it was less expensive to implement and / or maintain political regimes favorable to trade with Western countries. One example is the Iranian coup d’état orchestrated by the United States in 1953.

Numerous conflicts in the story are due to oil issues. Today the countries of the OPEC try to check oil prices by limiting or increasing production. It allows to reduce the power of oil companies which subjected nations to market fluctuations and to maintain a balance and consequently limit global wars and conflicts.

OPEC has twelve member countries: six in the Middle East, four in Africa, and two in South America.

Below, you can see the capacity of production of each one (barrels per day):

Wikipedia, article OPEC”, part 5.