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Introduction

The world uses millions of barrels of oil each day. Canada alone uses 1,765,000 barrels per day. Crude oil, or petroleum, remains an important for many of the products we use daily, from plastics to gasoline, as well as energy.

Where does Petroleum come from?

Petroleum is formed from ancient microscopic plants and plankton that lived in the ocean and saltwater seas millions of years ago. The micro-organisms are buried in silt and sand when they die; over time sediment settles over them. As sediment layers build up, the mud is compressed and heated, eventually forming petroleum. The oil flows from its source and accumulates in thicker, more porous limestone or sandstone as a reservoir.

How oil is formed

Producing Energy from Oil

Like coal, oil is burned to produce heat energy that converts water to steam. The steam is used to turn a turbine and a generator.

Click here to see an oil power animation

Oil Energy Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages
Disadvantages
  • Affordable
  • Readily available
  • Efficient
  • Generates less CO2 than coal when burned
  • Produces carbon dioxide when burned
  • Limited supply as a non-renewable resource
  • Rising fuel costs
  • Rising cost of extraction
  • Oil extraction can be environmentally damaging
  • Transportation of crude oil in tanker ships have caused accidents damange marine ecosystems

Summary

The world has a insatiable appetite for oil. With a huge dependence on one limited resource, concerns are being raised about sustainability. As well, environmental concerns of oil extraction and transportation continue to be a highly debated topic.

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