Oil, Gas, and Coal Facts
The prospects of the global economy running out of the earth's reserves of oil & natural gas during the next 60-80 years can't be disregarded any longer. What about coal and lignite? Coal, whose reserves so far remain largely intact, can be easily transformed to the habitual crude oil, say experts in petrochemistry. Petroleum engineers also confirm that the technologies allowing for such swap between these two sources of energy, though currently not widely used, have been tested, and exist since long time ago.
It's for decades that the Middle East region, leads the worlds oil production industry. The joint oil output by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Iraq, Kuwait, Yemen, Iran, Qatar, Egypt and Syria accounts for over 30% of world oil production. Thus the Middle East nations together keep to enjoy the region's recognized and so far undisputed world oil production leader role. Most of the oil is being produced in Saudi Arabia, where the state run oil company's Aramco annual production exceeds 400 million tons, providing lots of high salary oil drilling jobs not only on oil rigs, but in the entire oil industry for the citizens of Saudi Arabia and foreigners alike. This is the place, to which not only staff from India, Pakistan, Malaysia and some of the other less rich Asian countries, but also from the USA and Canada rush for some fantastic salaries. Then comes Iran (200 million tons), followed by the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Kuwait. North America accounts almost for 1/5 of the world's crude oil production: it's the USA with its about 330 million tons of oil annual output together with Canada and Mexico. The oil industry of the CIS, with its more than 500 million tons of oil production, where Russia accounts for 4/5 of the total regional output, manages to maintain its positions. Norway and the United Kingdom stand out among the European countries; China (190 million tonnes) leads south east Asia, followed by Indonesia; in Africa - Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Algeria; South America - Venezuela. The Middle East mainly exports its oil to Europe, Japan and the United States; Latin America sells its crude oil mainly to the United States, South-East Asia supplies oil to Japan, Africa to the EU countries. Export of oil from Russia has decreased because of the stagnation in its oil drilling industry due to the limited access to some of the modern oil exploration and production technologies and shortage of the staff with experience that make them eligible to operate advanced computerized oil rigs and pilot ROV's.
Natural Gas Production
The meaning of the natural gas production in the energy balance of the world increased dramatically in the second half of the XX century (2.2 trillion m3). The biggest portion of the natural gas so far is being produced in the CIS countries (28% of the world's output), specifically its Russia and Turkmenistan that produce it; USA accounts for 20% of the world's natural gas output. Commercial quantities of the natural gas are being produced also in the UK, the Netherlands, and Norway in Europe and Canada in the Americas, as well as Indonesia and the Persian Gulf countries in Asia, not to forget Algeria in Africa. Number of jobs and opportunities for employment are proportional.
Coal industry is the oldest among the mining industries. Coal production industry is based on the world's vast coal reserves and meets almost 1/4 of the global energy demand. In 2000 there was produced 3.9 billion tons of coal. Over the past decade the geography of coal production changed drastically. The current leader in producing coal is China, which accounts for approximately 1/3 of the world's total coal production. Many of the Chinese electrical power stations use coal for heating water, needed to produce electricity. China's coal mining industry is one of the biggest employment providers in energy sector that offers a really impressive number of jobs for people of all trades. There are 5 million people, working in in the coal-mining industry of the nation.
The next world's biggest coal producer is the USA, whose share in the global coal and lignite production constitutes 25%. There are 26 US states, producing coal. The states Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Montana, Illinois, Virginia, North Dakota, Colorado, and Indiana top the list. Together with oil rig jobs, coal mining jobs in Texas lead the upstream energy workforce market in the USA.
The share of the CIS countries is 1/6, the main producers being Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. 300 million tons of coal comes from the coal mines of India, more than 200 million tons from Australia, and more than 100 million tons from South Africa. There's no extensive coal trade around the world; significant quantities of coal is being exported only by Australia, the USA, South Africa, Canada, Poland, Russia, and China, where jobseekers can find the respective number or new job openings.
THE FUTURE MAY BELONG TO COAL, NOT OIL OR GAS
Both oil and coal consist of hydrocarbons. What really makes the difference between oil and coal, is the percentage of the hydrogen that they contain. In oil there is 13-15% of hydrogen, and only 4.6% in coal. This means that if you add the missing amount of hydrogen, you'll receive oil as the final product. Here's how this can be done practically: Finely ground coal should be heated to 400-500 degrees C at a pressure of 10 MPa, and the required amount of hydrogen added. This could be classed as kind of application of the so-called frackturing, or fracking technology. While coal gets liquefied, it will turn into a substance, which is very similar to oil. This process is called hydrogenation, and it was tested both in laboratories and industrial production. The process of the chemical reaction can be expedited by adding some catalysts. In order to produce 1 ton of oil you need 5 tons of lignite or 2-3 tons of coal, it all depends on the quality of the coal. Artificial oil may expect great future, because the natural oil reserves get spent very rapidly, while coal and lignite reserves are huge, and they can be developed for many more decades.