410-257-2515  info@sjjohnson.com

How Big Is The Crude Oil Supply

How Big Is The Crude Oil Supply provided by a Southern MD Fuel Oil Company

fuel oil articleThe crude oil supply is the total amount of crude oil in the earth that is accessible to oil producing companies.  The term can also refer to the amount of oil made available for sale by oil producing countries.  Crude oil is buried deep beneath miles of rock and is very difficult to obtain.  The decayed remains of ancient silt, microscopic sea life, and sometimes plants became trapped in these rock formations.  Tectonic plate activity forced these huge masses of decaying organic matter deep into the earth.  The organic matter has cooked under tremendous heat and pressure to produce crude oil.

When it comes to determining how much crude oil is hidden deep within the earth, that number is not known.  Several estimates have been made of the amount of crude oil in deposits that are already known.  One estimate is about 1.2 trillion barrels, although higher numbers have been offered.  Although those amounts of crude oil are estimated to be in the ground, only about one-third of that is readily available.  That is because of difficulties in reaching and pumping all oil in a given deposit.  Consumption of the crude oil supplies has been estimated at 31 billion barrels per year.  Different sources may provide different estimates of the world’s crude oil supplies.

Oil must be located and drilled before it can be counted among the world’s oil supply.  Sophisticated locating and mapping techniques are used to estimate where oil might be hiding in deep rock formations.  These techniques include magnetic, gravimetric, and seismic tests.  Once an expected supply of crude oil has been located, workers must drill through several miles of solid rock to reach it.  If the drilling is successful, the well is capped so that the crude oil does not gush out uncontrollably.  These drilled crude oil supplies are then pumped out for transportation and refining.

Refining is the process of turning crude oil supplies into usable products.  Crude oil contains many different grades or fractions of petroleum products.  Crude oil is distilled with heat and the various fractions are captured and condensed as they boil out of the crude.  Some of the fractions include gasoline, diesel and heating oil.  That means that only part of the world’s crude oil supplies is made into gasoline.

Interestingly, crude oil continues to be made deep within the earth.  However, the rate of oil pumping greatly exceeds the estimated rate of new oil creation.  The world’s crude oil supply is essentially a limited resource that needs to be managed responsibly.