Crude oil makes up a very important part of the world’s economy. It is a valuable natural resource with many different uses. Many of these are crucial to support our highly industrialized and mobile cities, towns, populations. Natural resources such as crude oil, coal, and minerals under the surface of the Earth are located in different places around the world. A number of countries are fortunate to have huge reserves of these important products.
Crude Oil Formation
Crude oil is a fossil fuel formed many millions of years ago. It was formed by the fossilization of small plants and animal species trapped under many layers of mud and sand. The intense pressure, heat, and long time frame resulted in the formation of this precious liquid. Variations in the amount of heat and pressure applied to these organic remains also led to the formation of natural gas.
Once the crude oil liquid formed, it made its way through pores in the ground to form pockets under the rock and clay. Crude oil extraction is a major industry today, and the oil must be brought up, often by drilling into the rock.
Crude Oil Uses
Crude oil or petroleum has many uses that power the world’s extensive energy and manufacturing demands. Once the crude oil is extracted, it undergoes various intense purification and separation processes. Firstly, sand and mud must be removed to produce the oil. Next, the crude oil, which is a mixture of different substances, must be separated into its different components using fractional distillation. In this method, the temperature of the mixture is gradually increased. The components of crude oil have different boiling points, and as the temperature reaches the boiling point of each, this substance is removed in its gaseous form. This takes place in a refinery.
Some of the products produced from crude oil include gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil, diesel, paraffin, asphalt, tar, and lubricating oil. Most of these products are used as fuel for powering combustion engines and for heating purposes. Other uses of crude oil products and byproducts include road tar surfacing, soap, perfumes, and even insecticides. There are an estimated 6,000 items made from byproducts of crude oil.
The Top 10 Countries with Huge Crude Oil Reserves
Because crude oil reserves formed millions of years ago, the beneficiaries of them were not involved in producing them. These countries do have a tremendous responsibility and financial benefit from providing most of the world’s power and fuel needs. There are also political, conflict, and trade wars that affect a lot of these nations. Here are the top 10 countries with the world’s largest crude oil reserves:
● Venezuela has the world’s largest crude oil reserves. These are estimated at over 300 billion barrels. Venezuela exceeded Saudi Arabia’s previous top position in 2011.
● Saudi Arabia has the second largest crude oil reserves in the world. These are estimated at 269 billion barrels. This accounts for around 20 percent of the world’s traditional reserves. Exploration activities continue to discover more reserves, and this could see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia once again exceed Venezuela in the future.
● Canada comes in the third position with 171 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The Canadian province of Alberta has oil sand deposits that account for most of the countries reserves.
● Iran has an estimated 158 billion barrels of oil.
● Iraq has 143 billion barrels of oil reserves.
● Kuwait is a small country, but it has 104 billion barrels of oil reserves.
● Russia has 80 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
Those are the top seven countries. The remaining three in the top 10 are United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Nigeria, which each have 98, 48 and 37 billion barrels of oil reserves respectively.