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Oil at the dawn of a revolution

Origin of oil

 Automatic translationAutomatic translation Category: ecology and environment
Updated June 01, 2013

Much of the oil on the planet was formed during short periods of extreme warming, there are 90 and 150 million years. It is produced by the decomposition of dead plants and animals, buried under the sand. This accumulation and mixes with the mud and silt brought layers of sediment rich in organic matter, kerosene. Under the effect of compression, the layers were transformed into rocks that have become reservoirs of oil. The pressure of these sedimentary layers increased temperature and transformed the original organic matter into simpler substances, hydrocarbons, compounds of carbon and hydrogen, we extract today. Although used since ancient times because it is present at ground level in some areas where it is flush, the first barrels of the modern era occurred in the 1850s, the United States (274 tons in 1859). Our civilization can not live without oil because it is part of our daily lives, it is everywhere and therefore indispensable.


Liquid, easily transportable and converted into large quantities, it heats our home and turns almost all the engines of cars, planes, trains and countless other industrial machines. It is now in intensive agriculture using fertilizers and pesticides derived from petroleum chemistry. Plastic objects to shoes through the disposable bags, bitumen of our roads, synthetic or all hydrocarbons methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexane and other compounds, it enriches our civilization. We use it excessively and it may, after participating in the strong expansion of our standard of living for a century to undermine the whole of humanity if it could miss.

Image: Oil refinery

 Oil refinery

Reserves are exhaustible they?


This valuable resource is distributed unevenly across the world, we find it mainly in the Persian Gulf, North Sea, Venezuela, Russia and Nigeria. During periods of intense global warming, these sediments rich in organic matter have, over millions of years, accumulated slowly and were trapped in reservoirs of impermeable rock.
The actual reserves of oil are difficult to estimate because the oil companies and producing countries often tend to overstate reserves for political or economic reasons. Yet the exhaustion of oil reserves is inevitable. But before it runs out, looks a shortage because the bid will not be irretrievable meet growing world demand (see tables).
The danger is concentrated in the reserves of the Middle East, which owns 78% of world reserves of crude oil (reference 2007
Although new deposits of oil, particularly offshore, are drilled every day (105 000 wells in 2007), it is urgent to make it less dependent on this non-renewable fossil resource.

Image: The main oil-producing countries in 2007, Mbbls / d (million barrels a day).

rangProduction de petroleum 2007Mbbls/j
1Saudi Arabia 10,72
2 Russia9,67
3 United States8,36
4 Iran4,15
5 China3,84
6 Mexico3,71
7 Canada3,29
8 UAE2,94
9 Venezuela2,80
10 Norway2,78
11 Kuwait2,67
12 Nigeria2,44
13 Brazil2,16
14 Algeria2,12
15 Iraq2,01
16 Libya1,89
17 Angola1,80
18 United Kingdom1,71
rangConsummation 2007 PopulationMbbls/j
1United States0,30 milliard20,7
2 China1,32 milliard7,86
3 Japan0,13 milliard5,05
4 India1,15 milliard2,75
5 Russia0,14 milliard2,70
6 Germany0,08 milliard2,39
7 South Korea0,05 milliard2,37
8 Canada0,03 milliard2,30
9 Brazil0,19 milliard2,19
10 Saudi Arabia0,03 milliard2,15
11 France0,06 milliard1,92
12 Italia0,06 milliard1,75
13 Spain0,05 milliard1,72
14 United Kingdom0,06 milliard1,70
15 Iran0,07 milliard1,62

Image: Main oil consuming countries in 2007, Mbbls / d (million barrels a day). World production in 2009 is 85.3 million barrels per day. A barrel of oil equivalent exactly to 42 gallons, or 158.987 liters.

World energy demand


World oil demand will probably continue to rise in the next thirty years.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) this growth could be 60%, a forecast that remains shrouded in uncertainty, as it is difficult to assess the evolution of populations, economies, lifestyles , technology or industrial revolutions. All forecasters agree on the fact that consumption growth will be largely driven by emerging countries with the largest populations, like China and India, experiencing buoyant economic growth. The application of these countries will increase three times faster than the OECD area to almost half the total oil demand in 2030 (against 13% in 1970).
The planet is unlikely to provide all the energy we want. A revolution will take place on our way bulimic consumption.

Image: tep (ton equivalent petroleum).

 World oil demand

At the dawn of a revolution


Natural gas, hydro, nuclear, solar, wind or coal are prized tracks at the dawn of the 21st century to replace oil representing approximately 35% of global energy consumption. Liquefied natural gas or LNG is increasingly used in industry as global reserves of natural gas are abundant. Its liquid form makes it easy to transport over long distances especially by sea and pipeline systems. The first commercial export terminal was opened at Arzew in Algeria in 1964.
It exports gas to Britain, then to France and the United States. Natural gas comes in third place with 22% of global energy supplies.
Hydropower has long been used, water mills were already providing mechanical energy to grind grain. Today, hydropower can produce electricity, hydropower called in hydroelectric power, thanks to the strength of natural waterfalls, the tides or created artificially in the reservoirs of dams. It's an energy that emits no greenhouse gas emissions, it can be used quickly through large amounts of stored water. That is more renewable energy and very economical in the long term. World production is estimated by the United Nations is 4210 TWh / year which is renewable with 7% of world production. The coal reserves of which are higher than that of oil through modern technology allows combustion with a very low level of pollution.
Coal and other solid fuels represent approximately 30% of global consumption.
Nuclear energy is a source of much criticism since the accidents at Three Mile Island in the United States and Chernobyl in Ukraine. This sector does not emit CO2, but it has two major handicaps, the risk of accidents and radioactive waste treatment. Nuclear power thus provides "energy rare", with a contribution to world energy production only 2%, which ranks last, after hydroelectricity and renewable energy. World production of nuclear energy in 2008 to 372 gigawatts. Wind power despite its rapid development is not that 121 gigawatts in 2008, less than 2% of world production. Geothermal power uses heat from the earth, hot water or hot rocks. This technique is used for supplying greenhouses, boilers or fish ponds. Photovoltaic solar energy is about 0.3% of global electricity production but the market for solar electricity is expected to grow.


In 2005, the total capacity of solar photovoltaic systems installed worldwide has crossed the symbolic step of 5 gigawatts. In recent years, global shipments of photovoltaic cells and modules have increased at an average annual rate above 35%.
The energy efficiency of photovoltaic panels in 2009 only 15%, this should increase sharply from 2010. Note: The American economist Jeremy Rifkin, since the publication of his bestseller, The European Dream, the third industrial revolution has greatly influenced the strategies of the EU energy policy.
He said we are at the dawn of a new era based on a distributed energy that is to say, a decentralized system where each house, factory or office would produce its own energy using wind, sun , garbage, ocean currents, we must focus on a dense network of small units producing energy on a small scale but can also sell and buy energy on the network.
The advantage of such a system is that it does not require massive investment and involves the citizen.

Evolution of world consumption

Image: Evolution of world consumption (in Mtoe%).
Source: Energy Information Administration / Department Of Energy

 hydroelectric dam Roselend (Savoie France)

Image: hydroelectric dam Roselend (Savoie France)

Solar photovoltaic panels

Image: Solar photovoltaic panels are composed of cells whose structure consists of 3 layers: a bottom layer of germanium (Ge), a medium layer of indium (In) Gallium (Ga) and Arsenide (As) and a top layer Indium (In), gallium (Ga) and Phosphide (P).

Generation "oil"


Our generation has taken full advantage of oil to enrich themselves without considering the long-term consequences. It is now time to think about tomorrow. We'll have to learn to consume less and especially to use renewables to avoid compromising future generations. It is on the transport and in particular on motor vehicles, that efforts should be worn because transportation rely on oil for 90%. Electric cars must be industrialized rapidly as demand is already present. Scientists say it will reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, 60 to 80% by 2050 to limit the extent of damage. The challenge is enormous, and the changes it entails, such as the abandonment of oil as main energy source, will be painful. The definition of sustainable development was adopted in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development of the UN: "Sustainable development is development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs."

Image: night view of the generation "oil"

 night view earth



Several problems simultaneously to us at the beginning of the 21st century, the exhaustion of the planet's resources, global warming and overpopulation.
There is no immediate plan B quick and easy to implement, if not the massive reduction in energy consumption, the common point of these 3 problems. We are probably on the cusp of a revolution in both industrial and cultural and like all industrial revolutions, there will be damage, many people will be sacrificed for the survival of others.


This important phenomenon will be characterized by the transition from a consumer of energy in an energy-saving society to allow time for our technology to focus on developing sustainable energy alternatives.
This process will profoundly affect the entire economy, finance, politics and environment of the modern world. The curve of the world population remains rampant, should be reversed, simply for the survival of humanity.


We naively believed that progress was acquired for ever, yet the history of human civilization shows us that when civilization reached its peak, it will eventually decline and be replaced.
Will we land safely and limit the damage? Experts have a pessimistic scenario that awaits us. Humanity at the foot of the wall must prove it is mature enough to avoid bloodshed.

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