We use it every day to fill the tank of our cars, to run our factories, to build everyday objects such as plastic bags, but where does the oil come from? Surely you already know that it is a material found in the earth and, therefore, you have to use specific machinery that can penetrate the interior and extract the hidden oil. But its origin is a mystery and, although there are experts who point to a theory, there are also detractors who do not share this opinion. In this article we are going to discover the origin of oil so that you can understand where we obtain this main source of energy in the modern world.
The main theory of the origin of oil
We begin by talking about the most widespread explanation of where oil comes from. It is the main theory and it focuses on the organic explanation, that is, it is believed that the oil appeared due to the decomposition of algae accumulated in lagoons and rivers as well as animal remains.
It is believed that these organic remains were covered with different layers of sediment and that, after having experienced different conditions of pressure and temperature, they were transformed into carbon and hydrogen compounds, that is, into hydrocarbons. If we add to this some of the materials that we find on earth, such as sulphur, oxygen, nitrogen and various metals, we obtain crude oil.
The origin of this theory is that the main oil beds are found in sedimentary soils and, in addition, many of the elements that make up oil are also part of living organisms.
Detractors of this theory
But, as we have already anticipated, there are people who do not accept this theory about the origin of oil. The reason is that, if this were true, on our planet there would be large oil fields scattered throughout the world and the truth is that there are only 33 that are of great magnitude and, of these, only 25 are in the Middle East and they offer us 60% of the reserves for our planet.
The controversy is served because, if the oil comes from animal remains and algae, shouldn”t there be all over the world? The truth is that only 1% of the earth”s crust has this natural resource and, for this reason, the organic origin of oil can be rejected.
So where does the oil come from? In 1986, the scientist Thomas Gold, published that its origin may be due to the impact of meteorites on Earth that occurred millions of years ago when our planet was forming. This would explain the accumulation of methane (natural gas) that is also in oil fields.
This hypothesis stems from the fact that chemicals such as kerogen, which is believed to be the precursor to oil, have been found in some meteorites. In addition, due to space exploration carried out thanks to NASA, it has been detected that on other planets their atmosphere is high in methane, therefore, this theory of Gold is gaining more followers every day.
What is oil
These theories about the origin of oil are based, essentially, on the composition of this material and, for this reason, it is important that we know what oil is. As we have already pointed out, it is a mixture of hydrocarbons but its composition is very different depending on the reservoir that it comes from. However, the most common is that it contains about 84% carbon and 12% hydrogen.
Depending on the age and the particular characteristics of each site, the composition will be higher or lower. It is known that the older they are, the greater amount of gaseous and solid hydrocarbons they have; when more recent, they usually have more liquids in their composition.
The oil wells are in charge of extracting crude oil from the subsoil but this does NOT serve as a source of energy. Oil must be separated into its main constituents to be able to take advantage of it as fuel and, this is how we obtain gasoline, diesel, gas plane, etc.
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