Global Energy Consumption - Essay Example

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This essay presents fossil fuels which are one of the most widely used sources of energy on the planet today, and are comprised of coal, oil, and natural gas. The US is the world's second largest producer of coal, and it is the primary source of fuel for generating electricity. …
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Global Energy Consumption
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Download file to see previous pages As the report stresses coal is a mineral that is mined either in underground mines or surface mines. Exploration is a process of gathering geological information from a number of different sources including existing data, seismic instrumentation, and geographical observation. Holes are drilled into the selected areas to determine the size and quality of the coal bed. Contributing to today's modern exploration methods are "microelectronics-based technology, such as; personal computers, digital down-hole logging, remote sensing, global-positioning systems, and vastly improved communications".
This paper declares that crude oil is drilled from wells located beneath the surface of the earth by forcing it up when pressure is applied inside the well. In addition, there are oil reserves beneath the oceans and other bodies of water that are tapped by offshore oilrigs. It is transported around the world on ships known as super-tankers, where it is off loaded at refineries typically built along the coast around the world. The quantity of oil, the quality, and the size of the oil field all impact the value of the field. Oil exploration is accomplished by utilizing the geological history of an area in conjunction with radar, sonar, sounding, and data acquisition techniques that look beneath the surface and reveal what may lie below. Eventually, test wells are drilled to determine the depth of the oil, the quantity, and obtain more precise information on the layout of the field. ...
Natural gas is a natural byproduct of fossil fuels and is found associated with oil fields and coal beds. A major problem with natural gas is transportation, which must be done primarily by pipeline. This limits it to inland applications, as trans-oceanic pipelines are impractical.
Coal shale is a relatively new source of oil and extraction technologies are still being developed and improved. The process depends on the oil that is embedded in the rock and the sand where oil has accumulated. It is estimated that there is enough oil in the US oil shale reserves to meet our present oil demands for the next 200 years (The Benefits of Oil Shale Production, 2007). However, the process of grinding the shale rock and heating it to separate the material is an expensive process. In addition, moving the oil from the fields to the refineries within the US must be done by truck, and could also become expensive. At today's oil prices, it may be impractical, though with escalating demand and diminishing supplies its economic outlook may improve in the future (The Benefits of Oil Shale Production). In addition, it would free the US from the political concerns encountered when acquiring crude oil.
There has recently been some debate within the Senate that would favor offshore oil drilling off the coast of the US. Advocates contend it is a necessary step to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. However, critics maintain that the amount is so limited and the production so far in the future that it will only have a marginal effect on supply or price (Jervis, Welch, & Wolf, 2008). In addition, environmentalists have objected to the lifting of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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