Basic materials and processes in the formation of natural oil and gas

B.G. Deshpande


Oil is a natural substance occurring in almost every part of the world. It is usually dark brown, almost honey colour, lighter than water, sensitive to temperature. On heating it yields a number of constituents belonging to the CnH2n+2 series of the saturated hydrocarbon. Sometimes it contains other elements like N, Co2, S, helium etc. But for such small amounts of associates, it is found in nature in almost a pure form, unlike minerals which are invariably associated with country rock or the gangue material. Hydrocarbon gas, of which methane is the first member of the series, is found almost invariably associated with oil. When oil is confined in depth under pressure the gas is dissolved in oil, in much the same way as CO2 is dissolved in soda water. On release of the pressure, or increase of temperature, the gas is released. On distillation, oil yields a wide range of products of strategic and commercial importance. It provides fuel, clothing, medicines, fertilisers and promises to solve the problem of food in part. Even the latest accomplishment of man of space travel and landing on the moon, would not have been possible without the products of oil. The genesis of oil, especially the exact stages in which it is generated in nature, is still shrouded in mystery, though we know far more about it now than in the past. Even though the process cannot be simulated in a laboratory, considerable indirect evidences lead us to a sound generalisation


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