today "big oil" is responsible for most of the world's
energy resources, its history is a relatively short one.
modern times, petroleum oil was used only occasionally - including
the 8th century when petroleum was used to create tar, which
was used to pave the streets of ancient Baghdad.
It wasn't until the rise of the 19th century industrial revolution,
however, when demand increased and the mass production of
refined oil for energy generation really began. Today,
that industry powers most of the world, and funds the
economies of entire nations. Little wonder, then, that oil
is often referred to as "black gold."
Oil, however, is a finite resource and in time will surely run out.
Studies of the potential lifespan of the world's oil reserves
predict that they will effectively be depleted in just over
40 years, sometime around the halfway mark of the 21st century.
Big Oil vs the environment
that the current controversy over global
warming that hinges on worldwide use of oil, coal
and natural gas. which releases heat-trapping carbon dioxide
into the atmosphere.
The widespread use of these fossil fuels,
scientists say, is a major reason for higher temperatures
currently being recorded around the world including longer
heat waves, droughts, and worsening wildfires.
As reserves dwindle, there are of course ways to artificially
produce oil, the end product of which is typically referred
to as biodiesel. It is very unlikely, however, that artificially
will ever fully replace the world's oil consumption needs.
Instead, it is inevitable that some form of alternative energy
will have to be found to replace the energy needs of a rapidly
growing industrialized world.
As sources of land oil drilling become more scarce, oil companies are more often looking to tap into hidden reserves in the world's oceans. The hazardous practice has gained worldwide attention recently as the Deep Horizon oil spoil effectively puts in jeopardy fishing and the tourism economy throughout the Gulf coast which is now experiencing the worst oil spill in US history.
The Deep Horizon oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico as seen from
space on May 24, 2010.
There is another wrinkle in the dwindling supply of oil, and
that is the concept of "peak oil." Oil supplies
will run out a long time from now, but as we get to that point,
the world's capacity of oil production will fall gradually.
Once we reach the peak of production, which is predicted to
happen sometime before the year 2020, the amount of oil being
produced and refined will begin to fall, while the global
demand for energy will continue to rise.
What this means is that a viable replacement for oil must
be found much sooner than many people anticipate. The world
does not have a long time to find another, more sustainable
source of energy that will fill the energy needs of the global
population after oil supplies have begun to decline in the
oil energy information & opinion around the Web:
industry - Wikipedia
- The grand sweep of information including its history, current
production and distribution, environmental impact and predictions
on future shortages, with related resources and references.
the Ground Up - The World of Oil - Educational series
with a look at the history, development and uses of oil in
the US including a look at geological sciences and the tools
employed in the discovery of oil and natural gas.
Oil Dependency.org - A look at the impending peak
in world oil production with news and opinion on production
and reserves, developments in alternative energy resources,
related video, newsletters, blog.
- A main industry portal for breaking international news,
searchable database of related equipment and supplies, job
listings, oil rig data and photos, free newsletters.