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Oil refining and Processing

CBE 432b

Oil History and Origin

Jan. 2010

The University of Western Ontario Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering

Crude Oil History
Crude Oil History
q For the first time, it was used around 4000
q caulking for ships
q adhesive to secure weapon handles
q Egyptian used it for embalming and to held
framed pyramids together
q The Roman orator Cicero carried a crude-oil
q Senecas and Iroquois used it for body
painting and fireworks.
q In 18th century, people who dug wells to find
water became disappointed when they struck
Crude Oil History
q Kerosene lamp, invented in 1854, created
the first large scale demand for petroleum.
The first successful well was drilled by Col.
Edwin Drake in 1859.
q In early 20th century (1920s), the real value
of crude oil was recognized as an energy
q Due to the increasing demand for energy
and other by products from crude oil, it is
considered as an strategic industry
influencing many political decisions all over
the world
Crude Oil History
Crude Oil History
Spindletop, Texas 1901
The first major oil discovery

q The Cerro Azul #4

flowed 850, 000
barrels of oil between
February 15-19
before it was capped
and controlled.

q The well produced

over 57 million
barrels in its lifetime.
Crude Oil History

Cerro Azul, Veracruz State, Mexico, 1916

qThe “Lucas Gusher”
produced over 100, 000
barrels of oil per day into the
air before the well could be
capped and controlled

qThis was the first realization

that a significant supply of
the well-known fuel could be

qIt was also the first time

that fortunes were made in
the oil fields.
Origin of crude oil
q Crude oil moves through the pores of the source rock
upon formation and its properties may change with time.
q There are many theories about the origin of crude oil,
however it is generally accepted that:

Crude oil, or petroleum, is derived from the remains of

prehistoric plants and animals matter.

Fish Fossil Plant fossil

The Formation of Oil
Millions of years ago, rains washed
prehistoric plant and animal
remains into the seas along with
sand and silt, and layer upon layer
piled up on the sea bottom. These
layers were compressed under the
weight of these sediments, and the
increasing pressure and
temperature changed the mud,
sand and silt into rock and the
organic matter into petroleum. This
rock is known as source rock.
The Formation of Oil
The Formation of Oil
Since oil and gas are less dense
compared to water, they float on top of
water. Oil and gas that formed in the
source rock deep within the earth
floated up through tiny pore spaces in
the rock.

Some seeped out at the surface of the earth.

Some was trapped by dense, non-porous rock,
called shale. These underground traps of oil and
gas are called reservoirs. Reservoirs contain
porous rocks, which allow fluids to flow through
the pore spaces.
The Formation of Oil
Trap Must Be Available Before/During
Processes: Generation Migration and

Elements: Source Reservoir

Rock and Seal
The Formation of Oil

Reservoir: Oil is stored in “reservoir rock”

Oil fills the pore-space between grains

The Formation of Oil

Reservoir Rock

Porosity = 26%, permeability = 2434 md

Reservoir Rock
Oil Migration

qIf migrating oil encountered oil & gas seeps

a reservoir rock it
preferentially flowed through
this conduit

qIf it led straight to the

surface, the petroleum
escaped ir
er vo
o ck
R trapped
qIf the reservoir was folded oil & gas
or faulted, the oil may have
been trapped.
Oil Reservoir

Anticlines are folds in the earth

Cap rock

Oil Reservoir
Oil and gas “migrates” from source rock,
through reservoir rock to trap
Oil Reservoir
Petroleum system, A Dynamic Entity
Early Generation Spill Point
Spill Point

Seal Rock
Reservoir Rock (Mudstone)
Migration from (Sandstone)
Gas beginning
Late Generation to displace oil

Displaced oil
Gas displaces
all oil
Oil and Gas Reservoirs

Huston Geological society, Academic Liaison committee

Oil and Gas Reservoirs
Prudhoe Bay Oil Field (1968) Largest field in
North America, Over 8 Billion barrels recoverable

Huston Geological society, Academic Liaison committee

Oil and Gas Reservoirs
Largest North American field before Prudhoe Bay
More than 5 billion barrels recoverable, East Texas Oil
Field (1930)

Huston Geological society, Academic Liaison committee

Oil and Gas Reservoirs
Reservoir rock sampling
When oil wells are drilled, sometimes a coring
tool is used to obtain samples of the reservoir
rock for study. Geologists study these core
samples to learn about the reservoir and help
decide how to produce the oil and gas
Reservoir rock sampling
Reservoir rock sampling
Oil Seepage

Typical large-scale onshore oil

seep, Qaiyarah, Iraq
Oil Seepage

Gas (and oil-coated) bubble plume in water

column (right), Surfacing oil pancakes (gas
bubbles burst and lost to atmosphere)
Gas Seepage

Titas seepage, BGFCL estimates, Bangladesh