For today’s post, let’s take a step back from octg tubular products and octg pipe pricing and ponder what actually flows through those pipes.
Everyone knows that oil comes out of the ground, that it’s the world’s fuel of choice and that it’s so valuable that it can cause conflict. But what exactly is it and where does it come from?
Interestingly, the tale of oil doesn’t begin beneath the ground, but rather in the oceans millions of years ago. Much like today, tiny animals and plants called plankton swam or floated in the ocean currents, and when they died, they floated down into the depths to their final resting places on the seafloor.
Soon sediment layers piled up on their decaying remains, and because there was no oxygen in these layers, microorganisms broke down these dead organisms into carbon-rich compounds that formed new organic layers.
Over time, even more sediment accumulated, and over thousand, maybe millions of years, tremendous pressure and heat transformed the organic matter in the layers below into a dark, waxy substance called kerogen.
The kerogen molecules eventually cracked into smaller molecules consisting of mostly carbon or hydrogen atoms, and depending on how liquid or gaseous the kerogen mixture was, it become either natural gas or oil.
That’s how scientists think oil forms. It’s a process that takes lots of time, and it’s probably a process that’s occurring right now at the bottom of the ocean.
However, it is interesting to note that for a long time scientists thought that oil didn’t originate in the ocean, but rather in carbon deposits deep within the Earth. It was thought that this ‘abiogenic’ oil would then seep to the surface through cracks in the mantle. However, advances in a number of scientific fields have cast doubt on this theory that was popular in the 19th century.