Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Working in Edmonton and all points west this week --The stuff that Sheiks are made of

Good morning folks and folkettes,

I will be working in Edmonton today and tomorrow and then on to Calgary for Thursday and then a quick dash out to Kelowna to see my grandson and his mommy and daddy :)


I don't know how many of you, like me, were cc'd on the threads about oil production, peak oil and how the oil in the ground came to be, but what the hell.. I have a few minutes to kill on this flight, let's take a plunge shall we?

Oil, black gold, Texas tea, Alberta Spit, it's the stuff that can cause the President of arguably the heaviest armed country on the planet to fall on bended knee in front of a white linen wearing dude that for not the reserves of oil under the sand would be a goat herder.   Not that goat herder is not an honourable profession, it just rarely invokes a genuflect.

Crude oil is effectively just a mixture of long chain carbon - hydrogen molecules.  Element numbers 1 and 6 (easy when you keep a Periodic Table in your wallet, or in this case it was me and in my wallet) as well as molecular compounds containing Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfer; just for fun deposits often also contain Iron, Nickel, Copper and Vanadium.

The long chains consist of bonded Carbon atoms with Hydrogen atoms hanging off the Carbon atoms through an electron bond.  What crude oil is not.   It is not Fairy Dust, or a prize left at the end of a rainbow by a Lucky Leprechaun.

A short segue, I have a friend that is a Creationist, he says that God (the large G god as apposed to the lessor small g gods) made the oil and put it in the ground for us to find later and pollute the atmosphere.  What he cannot explain to me is why God put all of the American's oil under the Saudi's sand..  but that is the mystery of God's works.

And we're back..  

Now then, if we wanted to make some crude oil for ourselves.. we would need an abundant supply of carbon rich gooey material, we could start with that bubbly stuff that emanates from the neighbor's 2 year old boy's nose, but we need more!   

Vegatable matter!  grass clippings, plankton, crustacean carcasses, trilobites, zooloplankton, algae, sewage, we can use it all.   Oh and some pressure or heat.  You see they are really interchangeable, but if we have both we can really speed up this process.

Take all of this Carbon and Hydrogen rich material and squeeze it together and wait.....

Eventually the mixture will transform into a dark, waxy substance called Kerogen.  If our temperature / pressure is too low, we'll have Kerogen forever, if our temperature / pressure is too high, we'll break our molecules down too far and make natural gas.  A great place to do this job is under the ocean under layers of silt and sediment and anywhere between 3 weeks and a few hundred thousand years and Shazaam..  The stuff that Sheiks are made of.

Have a good day, burn up some ancient algae.

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