Oil in New Mexico- A Block Katie

By Ayla Hughes, Sabrina Piar, and Zachery Emplit

Background of Oil:

Petroleum, known colloquially as oil, is a valuable, non- renewable substance that plays a large role in many industries, though most prominently in the realm of energy production. While Petroleum is likely to have been used in some form over thousands of years (e.g. the legendary 'Greek fire' of the Eastern Roman Empire, other weaponry and sporadic economic uses) its usage has massively risen since the latter half of the Industrial Revolution where it was first being refined into substances such as Kerosene that was used as lamp fuel.As refining techniques, technologies and understanding of oil improved, its usage started skyrocketing. By the end of World War One many vehicles were powered by having their internal combustion engines use oil and its various derivatives. Also notable is that by the beginning of the 20th Century had the oil industry dominated by the Standard Oil corporation, though it was broken up into many companies that help makeup the modern oil landscape. The modern global economy's usage and dependence on petroleum and its various byproducts and derivatives has lead to some commentators calling the current era the 'Age of Oil.' Oil is has grown to be the world's most important oil energy source in the world.
The first successful oil well was the Drake Well in Pennsylvania, as pictured here from priweb.org:
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDauBbWFgqUFjzDxTJbeOhSE6lDuAIt-iS5ZdYvrMgMWcEOpwU

Oil in New Mexico:

Oil in New Mexico has made large production. In producing 71,416,941 bbls (barrels) of oil in 2011, New Mexico ranked sixth place for oil production in the nation.This production will increase our state revenue and positively impact our growth. This production also is providing us with a $283 million dollar financial fund from the upcoming legislative session.
Oil refineries are what produce the various petroleum products that are used in not only New Mexico, but all over the nation. Oil refineries work by running fluids though different chemical processors. Some of the various products fluids produced in oil refineries are gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, and sulfur. There are many common units in an oil refinery. The very first unit that the petroleum goes through in an oil refinery is a desalter, which washes the salt away from the crude oil. Then the crude oil goes through an atmospheric distillation, which separates the oil into specific fractions in order to create different products. After this unit of process, the rest of the units vary depending on the product being created. the image below shows a visual of the different units in oil refineries, what fluids they produce, and how they produce the fluids:
external image RefineryFlow.png

Petroleum is used for a variety of of different products that are used on a daily basis. The most commonly known use of petroleum is for motor fuels used in cars, buses, jets, planes, etc. Petroleum is also used in fertilizers, food preservatives, clothing and textiles, sport acquisitions, kitchen and household appliances, make-ups, furnishings, house building, and more. To go into fine detail of the given examples of petroleum uses see,
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/classroom/wwo/petroleum.pdf. The list of petroleum uses goes on and on. Finding a new substance to substitute petroleum that is equally as cheap and efficient for these numerous uses would take a lot of difficult science investigation. Many theories of sufficient petroleum substitues exist, but have yet to take action because of the difficulty level of replacement.

New Mexico Map:

Wikispace oil power plants image.jpg
external image map_NM.gif
This map shows all of the oil refineries in New Mexico. The purple square icon with the purple border around it are the oil refineries.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil:

  • Produces a lot of energy when combusted
  • Easily distributed throughout the world
  • Abundant resource so less expensive than most ways of energy
  • Oil based engines are pretty efficient
  • A little goes a long way

Advantages (Discussion): The advantages of Oil is mainly that it is cheap and efficient. These are the reasons oil is one of the main energy producers around the world. With a little of oil you can make quite a bit of energy. The combustion of oil produces A LOT of energy. Oil is made by once living things decaying, so it is a natural resource found all over the globe. Oil is a fossil fuel, so it is virtually everywhere (deep underground). The fact that oil is naturally distributed throughout the world makes it quite accessible (as accessibility goes...) We humans have been using oil for a long time now, so we've made the transporting of it quite manageable. Since oil is so "abundant" it is relatively cheap. Many engines in the world are powered by oil due to it's efficiency.

  • Non-renewable
  • Burning it causes carbon to be emitted into our atmosphere
  • Mining of oil is detrimental to our environment
  • Difficult to recycle
  • Costs rising due to diminishing amounts
  • One of the leading causes to global warming

Disadvantages (Discussion): The disadvantages to oil is the irreversible effect it has on the environment. Oil is fossil fuel, therefor it is non-renewable. Usually when something is a non-renewable resource you do not want to use it all up. The burning of oil (which is the main way of converting it to energy) causes hazardous amounts of carbon to be emitted into our atmosphere, which damages our atmosphere. The combustion of oil is one of the leading causes to global warming due to the sheer amounts of carbon being emitted into the air on a daily basis. The mining of oil is also detrimental to our environment because it ruins the nature of it. Oil is very extremely difficult to recycle, which leaves us with an increasing amount of waste. Lastly, oil is diminishing, so the cost of oil is rising.

(An oil spill can greatly effect the environment.)

Science of Oil:

Petroleum is a substance composed primarily of hydrocarbons, several types of organic materials, some metals, and a mix of other substances. Petroleum naturally occurs in a flammable liquid form known as crude oil. Like similiar hydrocarbon substances such as coal, oil is generally found trapped underneath the surface, the remnant of organic material such as plankton under intense pressure and heat over millions of years. Due to the unique nature of the substance and its formation, burning it releases large amounts of energy, and through a complex process known as refining petroleum can be broken up into several new substances that can provide energy more beneficial to certain situations (e.g. gasoline vs. jet fuel for instance.) A number of plastic, pharmaceutical, and other products are also produced in this process.
Here is an animation of a common mechanism for gathering petroleum on land, from wikipedia.org:
File:Pump jack animation.gif
File:Pump jack animation.gif

While oil is generally gathered in "wells" such as the one pictured above, other ways of gathering it involve frakking on shale oil resources, and equivalent procedures on oil sands, instead of the standard drilling and pulling method utilized when extracting from standard oil reservoirs. On that note, One trillion barrels of oil have been extracted since the Drake Well first opened up in 1859.
The burning and refining of oil have raised concerns for releasing hazardous chemicals such as Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, joining the natural greenhouse gases already trapped there. Catastrophes involving the damage and subsequent leaking of oil transportation also has the potential to have disastrous consequences for the local environment.
Regardless, oil remains a major source of energy in the world for the abundant amount of energy it produces, relatively easy transportation, and various useful byproducts when refined.

Work Cited:

"Petroleum | Information on Petroleum and Crude Oil." Petroleum | Information on Petroleum and Crude Oil. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.petroleum.co.uk/>.
"Petroleum & Other Liquids - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)." U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/>.
"American Petroleum Institute." American Petroleum Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012. <http://www.api.org/>
4.New Mexico- Oil Conservation Division. (n.d.). ENMRD. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from https://wwwapps.emnrd.state.nm.us/ocd/ocdpermitting/Reporting
5.Hargreaves, S. (n.d.). Oil refinery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_refinery
6. Petroleum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved December 19, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum
7. Things Made From Oil that We Use Daily (a partial list). (n.d.).http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/classroom/wwo/petroleum.pdf. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from www.pbs.org/independentlens/classroom/wwo/petroleym.pdf