Energy Density of Petroleum

The Physics Factbook
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
An educational, Fair Use website

topic index | author index | special index

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Brown, Lemay, Bursten. Chemistry: The Central Science. 5th ed. "Approximate elemental composition (%)
Crude oil (Texas) = C(85) H(12) O(0)
Fuel value -- 45 MJ/kg"
45 MJ/kg
Energy Conversion. Tad W. Patzek. University of California, Berkeley. "Crude Oil 45-46 MJ/kg" 45–46 MJ/kg
Oil. Statoil. 21 January 2002. "Crude oil has a high energy content, typically around 42 megajoules per kilogram." 42 MJ/kg

Do the words petroleum or crude oil ever cross your mind? No, who cares right? WRONG! Oil is a very important part of today's world. It is usually found in large quantities below the surface of the earth and is used as a fuel and raw material in the chemical industry. Modern societies and a structural way of life is highly dependent on this product. In addition, petroleum is used in the manufacture of medicines, fertilizers, plastic ware, building materials, paints, cloth, and to generate electricity. We generally use it as a gasoline and fuel for various modes of transportation.

Over the years, the availability of petroleum has declined, which in turn has caused an increase in cost. Studies have shown that due to this declining availability petroleum will no longer be a common material.

Petroleum consists of a few organic compounds which include hydrogen, carbon, sulfur, and oxygen. Most oil wells in the US are drilled by the rotary method. In rotary drilling, the drill string, which is a series of pipes, is supported by what is known as a derrick. The string is than rotated on the derrick floor. The drill but, which is at the end of the string is three cone shaped, and has hardened teeth. Drill cutters are lifted to the surface by a circulating fluid system driven by a pump.

In the US oil is measured in barrels. One barrel is equal to about 42 gallons. Petroleum or crude oil has a high energy density, which is approximately 45 MJ/kg. So, the answer to the question in the beginning better be yes, because without petroleum life as we know it would be boring, if not impossible.

Karol Shepelsky -- 2002

Related pages in The Physics Factbook:


Another quality webpage by

Glenn Elert
eglobe logo home | contact

bent | chaos | eworld | facts | physics