As part of assessing the best energy sources for the future, we are looking at the pros and cons of these different energy sources.
This is our guide on the Pros & Cons Of Oil Energy.
Summary – Oil Energy Pros & Cons
- Affordable and cheap
- Technology is well developed
- Infrastructure is already in place
- Widely accessible worldwide
- A high density form of energy
- A consistent form of energy
- Provides a lot of employment
- Is important for many economies
- Is a commodity
- Oil technology is used to create other products and services we relyon
- Emits greenhouse gases
- Causes air pollution
- Is finite and not renewable
- Mining and drilling for oil can have significant negative environmental impact
- The combustion and refining processes can have human health hazards
- Oil industry overall can be dangerous for workers
- Is the source of power and wealth battles and inequalities in some countries
- Pricing can rise and fall
Oil energy is really well established in many countries and has provided much of the growth of developed countries
However, oil is a fossil fuel that emits greenhouse gas, and the extraction of and use of oil for energy is damaging to the environment, animals and humans
Oil is cleaner than coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but is dirtier than natural gas, which means that along with coal, oil will have a short life in the future of mankind
Although it will still be used into the foreseeable future, it seems like it’s in our best interests to transition away from oil energy in the long term to renewable green energy such as solar, wind and water. Natural gas may be a bridge energy source we use in this transition, as it’s cleaner burning, along with nuclear power.
*Note – the above pros and cons are broad generalisations. Obviously there are different variables to each specific energy project that impact the final pros and cons (like new technology that reduces emissions for coal power plants just as one of many examples). Each energy project and situation (in different countries and cities) should be analysed individually. Having said that, some broad principles and patterns about the pros and cons of different energy sources tend to stay consistent too.
What Is Oil Energy
There are many utilities to oil energy , particularly when it is in liquid form.
It can be utilized as fuel for common vehicles and in generating electricity.
The process of producing electricity can be done by burning oil in order to run turbines through steam. Oil can also be used for vehicles in the form of diesel and petrol.
Oil is formed when pressure and heat compress remains of prehistoric animals, aquatic life, and plants millions of years ago. Oil is drilled then pumped from underground pockets or oil wells. This will then be distilled, a process that separates crude oil byproducts.
After the extraction of oil from the earth, it will be taken into refineries through various oil tankers. Oil can be processed into several products, such as ethane, diesel, fuel oil, kerosene, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas and petrol, among others. Other types of oil can be used as lubricants such as motor oils and grease. Moreover, liquid fuels can be utilized as aviation gasoline, antiknock additives and turbine fuels. Petrol is also useful as it increases engine efficiency.
The term “petroleum” is used to cover both the unprocessed crude oil and the products obtained from refining crude oil.
Oil Energy Pros
- Oil Is Affordable/Cheap – because oil technology is so well developed.
- Oil Technology Is Well Developed – because oil has been used for so many years, and the technology has been researched and improved.
- Oil Infrastructure Is Already In Place – because oil has been used for so long, we have already built
- Oil Is Widely Accessible – infrastructure and transport methods make it easy to provide oil for people in most locations.
- Oil Energy Is High Density Energy – a small amount of oil can product a large amount of energy.
- Oil Energy Is Consistent – when it is used for energy, the performance is consistent. This is unlike for example solar or wind which can have an intermittent load.
- Oil Energy Provides Jobs – In 2017, the US Energy and Employment report found that traditional energy and energy-efficiency sectors in the United States provide about 6.4 million jobs. That was an increase of almost 5% from the year before, netting a total of 300,000 new jobs. About 14% of the total job creation that occurred in the US from 2016-2017 occurred in oil energy.
- Oil Energy Keeps Economies Growing – oil energy helps to create plastics. It helps farmers run their equipment to plant and harvest crops. Up to 10% of crude oil is refined into raw materials that are used for the chemical industry. Dues, shampoos, and even shaving cream is produced through oil energy. Even bandages are created through oil energy. By making it available and affordable, we can keep economies growing because millions of jobs are indirectly linked to this industry.
- Oil Is A Commodity – can become an investment vehicle. Retirement programs, private investors, and other savings resources can invest into oil energy and build wealth for others.
- Oil Technology Is Used To Create Renewable Energy Products & Equipment – such as solar and wind equipment. And, most renewable energy products created by oil energy become carbon-neutral in 5 years or less.
– vittana.org, greengarageblog.org
Oil Energy Cons
- Emits Greenhouse Gases – the combustion of oil energy emits greenhouse gases, which goes against the objective to stop the effects of climate change ASAP.
- Pollutes In Other Ways Too – oil spills are an issue which create wide ranging effects on the environment.
- Is Not Renewable – there are finite supplies of oil, compared to sun and wind energy which are renewable.
- Can Damage Human Health – the combustion and refining processes of oil can produce harmful effects to human health. In particular carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide can be released, both of which have an ill-effect on human health. In a high enough dose, these two substances can even be life-threatening.
- Is The Source Of Power & Wealth Battles & Inequalities – Nations that are fueled by the profits of oil resources have banked trillions of dollars in wealth over the years. That wealth creates socioeconomic groups and divides. This struggle can promote violence, fuel terrorism, and has historically put nations at the brink of war.
- Oil Drilling Is Damaging – drilling can have a negative impact on land, the environment and surrounding wildlife and ecosystems.
- Oil Industry Can Be Dangerous For Workers – Although the number of oil energy jobs has risen, these jobs aren’t necessarily safe employment opportunities. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that oil and gas industry workers make up about 1% of the total workers in the United States. About 3% of on-the-job fatalities occurred within the oil and gas industry. In 2014, 4,679 people were killed while working in the US and 142 of them were working in oil energy. That means a worker here is 3 times more likely to die on the job than in other employment fields.
- Pricing Can Be Variable – Pricing has been variable, because of artificial limitations on supply and demand.
– vittana.org, greengarageblog.org