Is petroleum the best source of fuel for our day to day activities? Here are several pros and cons of petroleum that will help us have a clear picture of this product.
20 Important Pros And Cons of Petroleum
Petroleum is the most common as well as widely used fossil fuel around the world. As an energy resource, the product is obtained from the ground as a mixture of liquid, solid, and gaseous hydrocarbons. Besides the popularity, I bet it is quite crucial to also take note of the various pros and cons of petroleum.
As the environmental campaigns continue to create awareness, there have been great debates regarding the environmental benefits of petroleum versus environmental effects of petroleum.
Petroleum indeed has its advantages and downsides; therefore, it is important to weigh both sides of the product.
Here is a list of various pros and cons of petroleum that aim at informing us how petroleum affects our environment.
Advantages of Petroleum
Here are some of the major pros of petroleum oil.
An Authoritative Energy Source That Can Be Used By Any Vehicle
One of the main benefits that have propelled the popularity of petroleum is that it is sturdy and can power up any vehicle. Whether diesel or gasoline engines, they all run by oil.
Cars that use petroleum as a source of energy can travel faster and cover longer distances. The use of petroleum is quite advantageous as it meets our needs to quickly get things done and move from one place to another.
Stable And Reliable Energy Resource
The petroleum industry is a field that has been in existence since the 40th Century BC and has been evolving as time goes on. Nevertheless, one thing that remains constant is its usefulness and reliability compared to alternative sources of energy, such as solar and wind.
With petroleum, achievable outcomes are easily predicted, which can be quite hard with solar and wind. Additionally, given that oil engines are a mature technology, they are rendered to be highly reliable.
Petroleum is a Vital Element In Industrialization
As we noted earlier that petroleum is an authoritative energy source, it is also important to note that it is also an essential commodity in a wide array of industries. It is a critical and dominant player that enhances the growth of various industries.
The high heat value and its ability to power massive engines have made industries heavily rely on petroleum.
Petroleum is Easily Extracted And At A Low Cost
With the evolution around the petroleum industry, the current technologies used to extract oil below the earth’s surface are quite advanced. The machinery used as well as techniques are sophisticated and developed, which makes the extraction process easy. The geological conditions and terrain are not a hindrance since some oil wells are drilled in the ocean.
Petroleum refinery technology has also made some huge steps thus making the refinery process quite easy. The adoption of the mechanization process has dramatically reduced the physical as well as technical tasks, thus minimizing the extraction costs.
Cheaper extraction and production costs result in more affordable petroleum products than most energy sources.
Extraction of Petroleum is Safe
The extraction of oil beneath the ground is a mining activity, just like any other. Mining has been known to be quite a risky activity with people having to go tens of meters below the surface.
However, that is not the case with petroleum since the process is mechanized and no one needs to go underground.
Transportation of Petroleum is Easy
Petroleum, as a raw product, is transported in liquid form to the refinery factories. This fact makes it easy to transport from one point to another.
Petroleum can be transported using pipes and vehicles. Besides, petroleum can also be carried through ships hence enabling transportation of this energy source around the world.
Storage And Transportation Does Not Lead to Energy Loss
Unlike most energy resources that lose their potential energy levels with time, petroleum does not. During the shipment of some energy resources, they lose nearly half of their potential levels. At times, the energy resources can be I remote regions which might not be suitable to set up factories.
Petroleum is quite the opposite as it can be transported miles away from the extraction location to the refinery factories without any alterations. Therefore, it is easy to set up refinery factories around populated centers for consumption rather than at the extraction sites. The product is thus accessible in remote locations at minimal costs.
Petroleum Possesses Multiple Usages
Petroleum is one energy resource that offers numerous usage opportunities. It is an energy resource that can be refined to provide various forms of energy sources. When we refine the crude oil, it provides more useful products such as gasoline, asphalt base, diesel fuel, and kerosene, among many.
Due to the diverse uses of petroleum, it creates a possibility that nearly everyone uses this product at one point or another in a day. Gasoline is the most common form in which petroleum, and that we use every day.
This energy source is used to power up our transportation machines, and heating and lighting our homes, among many others.
Act As A Strong Economic Background In Some Countries
It is undeniable that petroleum generates quite a handsome revenue. Some states which are known to have oil wells have indicated some substantial economic growth. In other states, petroleum extraction is the main economic activity that the country depends on, for instance, Kuwait.
A country like Kuwait, petroleum accounts for about half of its GDP as well as 95% of the government income and export revenues. In these regions, the improvement of the living standards, as well as infrastructures, hugely depend on how the petroleum industry fairs in the global market.
Provision of Job Opportunities
According to some statistics collected in 2015, the total number of employments within the petroleum industry in the United States was 1.39 million individuals. In 2017, around 170,200 individuals were employed either directly or indirectly by the Norwegian Petroleum industry.
Besides, jobs within the petroleum industry have had a considerable impact on the increasing population within the Middle East.
Petroleum is a Product In Creating Renewable Energy Resources
Whenever there are discussions about the pros and cons of petroleum, we always love to crucify petroleum for its inability to be renewable. I agree that renewable resources are environmentally friendly than nonrenewable resources. But, did you know petroleum plays a huge part in the creation of some of these renewable energy sources?
Well, if you don’t believe me, allow me to shed some light. The solar panels that capture solar energy require petroleum for their manufacturing. The photovoltaic panels need over a hundred liters of petroleum to manufacture only one panel.
Petroleum is a Fuel with a High Density
Petroleum has such high density since it comprises of hydrocarbons which have an intense density level. An average of about 10,000 kilo-calories gets generated when we burn a kilogram of oil.
The positive side of this fact is that we only need very small amounts of petroleum to create such huge amounts of energy.
Petroleum Has Some Medical Aspects
Petroleum was used by the ancient Chinese as a medical solution for some skin problems. Currently, we use petroleum to manufacture petroleum jelly.
From a medical perspective, petroleum jelly possesses over twenty medicinal values. Additionally, fossil fuels, such as petroleum, have been known to produce anesthetics.
Depleted Oil Fields Have The Potential to Be Productive
Once the oil levels diminish, and the oil runs dry, we no longer see any economic value on the land. However, even after the depletion of petroleum, we can restore these lands and be reuse them for some productive activity. The restoration and renovation process can take at most a year or less.
One can use the land to conserve the environment by planting trees and some vegetation such a grass. This restoration may as well turn it into a nature park for recreational purposes. The same applies to the mining drills in the sea/ocean.
Disadvantages of Petroleum
Having discussed the advantages, let us have a look at the downsides of petroleum. I believe that a critical analysis of both the pros and cons of petroleum will help us widen our perspectives about petroleum as an energy resource.
The cons of petroleum include:
The use of petroleum as a source of energy mostly involves combustion. Burning petroleum products leads to emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, hydro-fluorocarbons, and many more.
The greenhouse gases pollute the environment as they possess the ability to absorb the infrared radiation emitted from the surface of the earth, thus contributing to global warming.
Petroleum can also pollute water bodies and significantly affect marine life. It is basic science that oil is less dense than water; hence, it floats on water.
If petroleum finds its way into water bodies, it will float on top of the water, thus forming a covering that will hinder aeration. Ways in which petroleum can spill into water bodies include faulty tankers in the ocean/sea.
Has Toxic Byproducts
When we extract petroleum as a raw matter, one ought to refine the crude oil. This is because, it typically exists as a mixture of hydrocarbons, traces of sulfuric as well as other compounds.
During the refining process, toxic gasses, such as carbon monoxide, are emitted together with some harmful materials, such as plastic.
It is a Limited Resource
Petroleum, being a fossil fuel, is a scarce resource with high global demand. As a result, petroleum prices keep hiking as some oil wells dry out. Recent statistics indicated that we have already utilized over half of the oil reserves in the world.
Although it is a reliable source of energy currently, we can’t say that it will last forever. It is a non-renewable source of energy, meaning that once petroleum is extracted and consumed as a product, it can never be reused or replaced.
A significant decrease in petroleum supply might result in some nasty scenarios, and economic fights, for instance. Therefore, we need to put alternatives into place to supplement and reduce the over-reliance on petroleum.
Used As A Tool For Political Gain
Due to human greed, what comes as a blessing turns into a curse. We all have heard cases where people and governments exploit petroleum for political gain. However, this mostly happens in countries where the Petroleum industry is the only main economic activity.
If a state over-relies on petroleum, ill-minded individuals can toss a state to and fro by controlling the petroleum industry based on selfish motives. The worst-hit region in the Middle East but the good news is that they are diversifying their economies to other domains besides petroleum.
Regular Maintenance on the Infrastructure
Well, extracting oil is indeed straightforward. However, it is essential to note that the machinery, as well as any other equipment, require regular maintenance.
Intensive monitoring of the machine is involved, and maintenance has to be performed to prevent any accidents or oil spillage. The maintenance is quite engaging and demanding too.
Conclusion On Pros And Cons of Petroleum
It is agreeable that petroleum is such an essential product in our current world that will be hard to do without. Also, from our list of pros and cons of petroleum, the advantages happen to be more than the disadvantages.
However, this should not be a reason to ignore the environmental effects of petroleum.
Do you think the advantages of using petroleum outweigh its disadvantages? Share with us in our comments.
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