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An Introduction to Petroleum Technology, Economics, and Politics

ISBN: 978-1-118-01299-4
334 pages
September 2011
An Introduction to Petroleum Technology, Economics, and Politics (1118012992) cover image


The perfect primer for both the layperson and the engineer, for the new hire and the old hand, describing, in easy-to-understand language, one of the biggest and most lucrative industries in the world.

There is only one substance known to mankind that can cause wars, influence global economies, and make entire countries rich: petroleum. One teaspoon of the stuff carries enough energy to power a ton truck up a hill. It's in the news every single day, it influences our lives in ways that we cannot fathom, and it is the most important commodity in the world. But how much does the average person, even the average engineer, know about it?

This book describes the petroleum industry, in easy-to-understand language, for both the layperson and engineer alike. From the economics of searching for oil and gas to the pitfalls of drilling and production, getting it out of the ground, into pipelines, into refineries, and, finally, into your gas tank, this book covers the petroleum industry like no other treatment before. There is coverage of pricing and the economics of this very important resource, as well, which is useful not only to engineers, but to economists and, really, anyone who uses it.

From jet fuel to gasoline to natural gas and plastics, petroleum is one of the integral products of our lives. We are practically bathed it in from birth, our food is protected by it, and it even has healing properties. Learn all about this incredible substance and its fascinating history and highly debated future.

An Introduction to Petroleum Technology, Economics, and Politics:

  • Gives a thorough summary of the petroleum and natural gas industry, from prospect to production to pipeline
  • New technologies, such as directional and underbalanced drilling, are covered, in easy-to-understand language
  • Useful not only for newcomers and laypersons, but for engineers and students, particularly those for whom English is a second language
  • Examines the basics of pricing and valuation
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1. History and Terminology of Crude Oil 1

1.1 Historical Perspectives 3

1.2 Modern Perspectives 14

1.3 Oil Companies 15

1.4 Definitions and Terminology 17

1.5 References 28

2. Origin and Occurrence of Oil 31

2.1 The Formation of Oil 35

2.2 Reservoirs 36

2.3 Reservoir Classification 45

2.4 Reservoir Evaluation 49

2.5 Estimation of Reserves in Place 52

2.6 Reserves 55

2.7 References 62

3. Exploration, Recovery, and Transportation 65

3.1 Exploration 66

3.2 Drilling 70

3.3 Recovery 75

3.4 Bitumen Recovery 86

3.5 Transportation 91

3.6 Products and Product Quality 97

3.7 References 100

4. Crude Oil Classification and Benchmarks 103

4.1 Crude Oil Classification 105

4.2 Classification of Reserves 111

4.3 Benchmark Crude Oils 126

4.4 References 132

5. The Petroleum Culture 135

5.1 The Petroleum Culture 138

5.2 Oil in Perspective 138

5.3 The Seven Sisters 145

5.4 Reserve Estimates 148

5.5 References 156

6. Oil Prices 159

6.1 Oil Price History 161

6.2 Pricing Strategies 164

6.3 Oil Price and Analysis 168

6.4 The Anatomy of Crude Oil Prices 172

6.5 The Anatomy of Gasoline Prices 175

6.6 Effect of Refining Capacity 178

6.7 Outlook 187

6.8 References 191

7. The Crude Oil Market 193

7.1 The Crude Oil Market 195

7.2 Global Oil Consumption 199

7.3 Refining and The Markets 205

7.4 Profitability 211

7.5 References 212

8. Oil Supply 215

8.1 Physical Factors 216

8.2 Technological Factors 220

8.3 Economic Factors 223

8.4 Geopolitical Factors 228

8.5 Peak Oil231

8.6 The Impact of Heavy Oil and Tar Sand Bitumen 237

8.7 References 242

9. The Future 245

9.1 Undiscovered Oil 249

9.2 Coal 252

9.3 Oil Shale 255

9.4 Liquids from Biomass 260

9.5 Energy Independence 264

9.6 Energy Security 270

9.7 References 275

Conversion Factors 281

Glossary 283

Index 311 

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Author Information

James G. Speight is a senior fuel consultant and Visiting Professor at the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Adjunct Professor of Chemical and Fuels Engineering at the University of Utah, USA. He is recognized internationally as an expert in the characterization, properties, and processing of conventional and synthetic fuels and as a chemist with more than 35 years of experience in the process industries.  He is the author of numerous books and papers, the senior editor on one journal, and he has won numerous awards and distinctions.
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