There is a lot more to learn about oil beyond the simple fact that it's used to create the domestic heating oil many of us all over the UK use every day. Fancy learning about oil, and what makes it so fascinating? Well, look no further! Whoever thought the words' oil' and 'interesting' couldn't sit happily in the same sentence, should take a glance at these fascinating facts all about oil.
Crude oil originates 300 million years ago from fossilized organic material such as animals and plants. Consisting of mostly algae and zooplankton, these organisms were the dominant forms of life on earth at that time. These organisms absorbed carbon molecules in their bodies, which, after they die and are buried under rock and mud for centuries, become kerogen. The process of catagenesis turns kerogen into hydrocarbons, which then form crude oil.
Oil usage isn't just something modern societies have pioneered; in fact, oil has been used for over 5,000 years. Oil was seeping through to the surface of the earth, providing sufficient resources for their purposes. It is thought that the ancient Sumerians (roughly 4,000 BC) and Babylonians (roughly 1894 BC) were thought to have used crude oil. Later, the ancient Greeks and Roman's used petroleum as a lubricant for sealing.
Once removed from the ground, the oil is sent to oil refineries, which convert crude oil into various fuels, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene, jet fuel, petrol, diesel, and more. You can learn more about oil, and the types we provide at Rix via our service pages.
Oil is used to create a whole host of products, including plastic bottles, pens, fertilizers and clothes. When learning about oil, you realise that it is a substance that is in most products. Largely, the quantities of what oil is used to create are dictated by market demand. Therefore, it varies from year to year, or even month to month, as oil refineries create different types of oil to satisfy consumer wants.
The world's largest oil fields are located in the Middle East, with the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia claiming the title for the world's biggest oil field, producing 5 billion barrels of oil a day. It is around 3,306 sq. miles big – that's larger than the size of Greater London! And an oil fact that’s even harder to believe is that the entire oil field accounts for around a third of the oil production in Saudi Arabia.
Oil tankers can be as hefty as 650,000 tons, which is the size of super tankers. Their most common length is about 330 meters long, with the biggest ever built measuring 458m.
Alongside coal and natural gas supply, oil makes up 88% of the world's energy demands. However, a recent study claims that oil usage dropped by 8% in 2021 due to the pandemic. The transport sector was the worst industry affected, as it is responsible for 60% of total oil demand.
Oil can be found in underground areas of porous rocks, with oil contained inside these rocks. It may look different to how you expect it to – it's a smelly, yellow/black liquid!
Alongside olive oil, sunflower oil and vegetable oil, there are more unusual varieties of plant oil, such as the pequi oil, used for cooking, which comes from the seeds of the Canarium Ovatum plant in Brazil.
Oil transforms to liquid at room temperature. This is because oils contain more carbon-to-carbon bonds than fats. The low melting point is because of the high unsaturation of oil. The carbon-to-carbon double bonds distort the molecules' shape, so they cannot pack closely together (in the form of a solid), hence melting into a liquid.
Time for one of our more fun oil facts! Oil has a variety of nicknames, including 'Texas Tea', 'Black Gold', 'rock oil, 'petroleum', 'crude', and many more.
The USA consumes the most oil in the world by far, consuming over 19,000,000 barrels daily. The UK sits at 15th place, consuming approximately 1,500,000 barrels daily. At this level of consumption, experts guess that oil levels may be completely depleted in 47 years.
We hope that you have enjoyed learning all about oil and reading through our oil facts. At Rix, we’re looking to the future and want to provide you with fossil-free options wherever possible, for an introduction to HVO and renewable oil alternatives please contact our team on 0800 542 4207.