In looking for oil, the first thing the prospector must do is to find the right kind of rock. The type of rock sort is the sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are formed by pressing together of bits and pieces of other minerals. Oil is rarely formed in igneous or metamorphic rocks.
The geologist is the first on the site because of his expertise in the area of the earth’s original structure and history. He first looks for sedimentary rocks on the surface. By close examination of the rock he can estimate where the rock came from. According to thickness and age, oil maybe present. At times oil may seep to the surface which may mean that there is a reservoir or the underground oil has already escaped.
A geologist may use a magnetometer in an aircraft for rocks that cannot be seen on surface. This piece of equipment measures the magnetism of underground rocks. He can then get a clear picture of the types of rocks that are buried.
Finally he checks the rocks on a large scale. The rocks must be folded in a way where as the trapped oil cannot escape. When all of the checking has been done the geologist will suggest where oil may be found. The final proof is in the drilling.
After the geologist, the oil explorer must then look beneath the earth. He sets off small explosions which sends out vibrations. These explosives are placed in small holes. Another method that is used is a special truck that thumps the ground sending out seismic waves. At sea, dynamite is launched from a ship. The vibrations are picked up by the explorers’ seismic equipment.
Sometimes a stratigraphic hole is dug in areas where little is known of the geology. “Stratigraphic is the science of geological history and tells us in what order rocks were made.”
OIL SUPPLY AND DEMAND (see Appendix 3 and 5)
World War II brought about an enormous demand for fuel. Coal and oil rose in price. By 1943 gas had become less expensive than either fuel in the markets.
Andrew R. Flower’s report on World Oil Production suggest that, oil production inevitable will level off and fall. As a result, oil will fail to meet the increasing demand before the year 2000. Therefore alternative fuels will have to bridge the gap for the demand for energy. Some suggestions are the reliance on nuclear energy and eventually on renewable energy sources.
Two scenarios which will determine the energy supply and demand are the economic growth rate and the price of energy. Another point worthy of consideration is how long will the supply of oil satisfy the demands.
“The major factors that will determine potential oil supply are the amount of proven reserves (oil recovered from known reserves at current prices and with current technology) and the rate at which those reserves can be exploited.”
The production rate depends upon the following three things: 1) the size of the fields, 2) its geology and 3) its installed facility. In any on year if ten percent of the recoverable reserves are superseded, the amount of oil will be reduced according to the amount that can ultimately be recovered. This may vary from field to field, nevertheless a reserve-to proportion (R.I.P.) ration 10 to 1 is the minimum ratio feasible for the world’s oil reserves. The maximum estimate rate of production for worldwide proven reserves are RIP ratio 15 to 1.
The requirements necessary in order to project a basic oil-supply curve is a yearly for the remaining proven reserves. “That is the gross additions to reserves and then subtracting the amount of oil that has been withdrawn from reserves.”3
The largest oil producing states are: Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, California, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Of the nations one hundred largest fields there are thirty-five fields in Texas and twenty-seven fields in Louisiana. Prudhoe Bay fields on Alaska’s North Slope is the largest field which has a reserve of 9.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 26 trillion cubic feet of natural gases as of December 31, 1974
In 1983 the demand for oil fell in the world excluding the USSR, Eastern Europe and China. It is estimated to have been 44.7 million barrels a day. Comparing that to the demands in 1982, the demand fell 0.8 million barrels a day.
There is great competition going on between gas, coal and oil. Coal and oil suffer as a result of the competition from gas, nuclear and hydro in a depressed power generator sector. “National programs to reduce dependency on oil continued to affect demand. In most countries, petrochemicals feedstocks (mainly naphtha) were buoyant; demand for transport fuels was also resilient.”
In 1983 in Western Europe the demand for oil declined by 3 percent, in Japan 0.7 percent and in the United States 1.6 percent. To offset the demand for oil and gas the demand for coal increased (1 percent), nuclear (6 percent) and hydro (6 percent).