Oil Depletion Essay

1047 WordsFeb 6, 20115 Pages
Resource availability Main article: Oil reserves The world's oil supply is fixed because petroleum is naturally formed far too slowly to be replaced at the rate at which it is being extracted. Over many millions of years, plankton, bacteria, and other plant and animal matter become buried in sediments on the ocean floor. When conditions are right – a lack of oxygen for decomposition, and sufficient depth and temperature of burial – these organic remains are converted into petroleum compounds, while the sediment accompanying them is converted into sandstone, siltstone, and other porous sedimentary rock. When capped by impermeable rocks such as shale, salt, or igneous intrusions, they form the petroleum reservoirs which are exploited today.[1][9] [edit] Production decline models Main article: Hubbert peak theory Oil production decline occurs in a predictable manner based on geological circumstances, governmental policies, and engineering practices. The shape of the decline curve varies depending upon whether one considers a well, a field, a set of fields, or the world. [edit] Oil well production decline Theoretical oil well production curve. Oil well production curves typically end in an exponential decline.[3] At natural rates, oil well production curves appear similar to a bell curve, a phenomenon known as the Hubbert curve. The typical decline is a rapid drop in production, and eventually a leveling off to a point at which they no longer produce profitable amounts.[3] Such wells are referred to as marginal or stripper wells. The shape of production curve of an oil well can be affected by a number of factors: * Well may be restricted by choice by lack of market demand or government regulation. This flattens the peak of the curve, but will not change the well's total production significantly. * Hydraulic fracturing (fracing) or

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