By Abir Gupta

Oil benefits us and harms us in a lot of different ways. It gives us a cheap energy source that is really efficient, but at the same time, it pollutes the environment. Now when we first started using oil it was used by very few people, since then our population has grown by a lot; hence the over pollution of carbon dioxide and other pollutants making holes in the ozone layer

Oil or any other kind of fossil fuel is derived from the remains of animals and plants that lived hundreds of years ago. Oil is a very important resource for a lot of different kinds of people, communities, and nations. Oil is a very important resource because it is cheap and is really efficient. 

The Chinese have actually been using oil since 600 BC. They would use bamboo as pipes and mix it with air to make to produce a usable fuel for fires. The Babylonians (today’s Iraqi)s would use it to waterproof their boats and as mortar in building construction. The Egyptians would also use oil in the preparation of mummies, they would do this to help preserve the corpses. Then the kerosene lamp was invented in 1853, that was the first use of oil from the recent past. Then the engine was made for automobiles such as cars, trains,   etc. it made everything easier, the need for manual labour went down. 

There are several countries that are rich in the production of oil. The countries are the following: 

  1. Saudi Arabia with USD $182.5 billion: 16% of total crude oil exports
  2. Russia with USD $129 billion: 11.4% 
  3. Iraq with USD $91.7 billion: 8.1% 
  4. Canada with USD$66.9 billion: 5.9%
  5. United Arab Emirates with USD $58.4 billion: 5.2%
  6. Kuwait with USD$51.7 billion: 4.6%

For a long time, the US has always tried to be close to countries that are rich in oil. They would do this so that they would never have a problem with their imports of oil. And on top of that, the US already has a really big economy, so it’s a big deal for them. The reason why a resource like oil is so important because they have a really big economy and keeping that is something that matters to them a lot. Now the US has found another way to produce oil, they aren’t too big of an exporter but they do have their own production of oil.

There are also a lot of other countries that need oil for their country. They are the following:

China: US$239.2 billion (20.2% of total crude oil imports)

United States: $163.1 billion (13.8%)

  1. India: $114.5 billion (9.7%)
  2. Japan: $80.6 billion (6.8%)
  3. South Korea: $80.4 billion (6.8%)
  4. Netherlands: $48.8 billion (4.1%)
  5. Germany: $45.1 billion (3.8%)
  6. Spain: $34.2 billion (2.9%)
  7. Italy: $32.6 billion (2.8%)
  8. France: $28.5 billion (2.4%)
  9. Thailand: $28.4 billion (2.4%)
  10. Singapore: $28 billion (2.4%)
  11. United Kingdom: $26 billion (2.2%)
  12. Taiwan: $23.4 billion (2%)
  13. Belgium: $19.5 billion (1.7%)

Most of these countries get their oil from the other countries listed below this. Some of these countries even produce their own oil.

Well known methods

  1. Offshore drilling, which is basically digging under the sea bed
  2. Onshore drilling is digging deep under the Earth’s surface

Not as well known methods

  1. Hydraulic fracking: is pressuring a lot of water mixed with chemicals into the ground to let loose the oil inside rocks in the ground. This is also an expensive way to produce oil
  2. Another new drilling method is 3-D Seismic Imaging, where you create a 3-D image by sending a loud sound and analysing how the sound comes back up, by putting geophones above that area.

Oil and its usage affect the environment because you are literally burning, and there is no way that after burning something it is anywhere close to “good” for the environment. Global warming is basically a lot of pollution or high levels of various pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter etc. which then tears the ozone layer and causes global warming. It is important that we reduce our usage of fossil fuels because the earth is coming pretty close to its end, with the way we are treating it. The problem with fossil fuels and oil is, mainly the way it’s used. The way we burn it, it is really bad for the environment. It increases the level of carbon dioxide gases and many other pollutants in the air tearing apart the ozone layer

If we do ever run out of oil, it will affect mainly the way we produce energy and basically everything oil is used for. Another way it affect anything is the impact on people since oil would be gone we would need to start using more renewable resources but that could cost quite a lot of money because that means building more dams putting up more windmills, more solar panels, and all those other ways to produce energy. This would help the Earth and its people in every possible way in the environmental aspect because it would really reduce greenhouse gas emissions and all the pollution that the Earth is suffering through. 

As I talked about in the last paragraph there are many different alternatives for crude oil. For automobiles, the best solution would be electricity, since we would be using “renewable” ways to produce it, it would be completely clean energy. For things such as factories (this is if we don’t run out of crude oil completely), we could do both for the big part we could try to use clean energy, but for where it can’t be changed, I think we should keep using fossil fuels; as long as we keep the usage of it low. If we do this 90 or higher percentage of energy sources would be clean energy, the rest of it would be some emissions, but if we can switch completely to clean energy then great; but much could it harm the Earth if we just use just a little bit of fossil fuels but still keep the clean energy sources.

Since we have discovered this resource, over time, today we are using oil and other fossil fuels really excessively. Here are two graphs. The first one is about different countries and their use of oil, as you can see, the US has used the most amount of oil. The second one is about the use of different fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas, oil comes just before natural gas as the most heavily consumed natural gas since the mid-1800s. 

Even though the earth loves producing and using fossil fuels and oils, it’s about time we realise that we are running out of one of our most important resources, Fossil Fuels. If we really do run out fossil in the coming years, I feel it is both a good and bad thing. I think it is a good thing because if we do run out of fossil fuels it will force us to use renewable resources, and if we do start using more renewable, the Earth’s level of pollution could really go down.  


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