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Ehanced Oil Recovery (Essay Sample)



Enhanced Oil Recovery
 TOC \o "1-3" \h \z \u  HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515273" I. Executive Summary  PAGEREF _Toc424515273 \h 2
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515274" II. Introduction  PAGEREF _Toc424515274 \h 2
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515275" III. Assessment of Criteria  PAGEREF _Toc424515275 \h 4
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515276" IV. Analysis of Proposed Solutions  PAGEREF _Toc424515276 \h 5
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515277" i. Tar Sands Oil as an alternative for Conventional Oil  PAGEREF _Toc424515277 \h 5
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515278" ii. Renewable Energy  PAGEREF _Toc424515278 \h 8
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515279" iii. Nuclear Power  PAGEREF _Toc424515279 \h 10
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515280" iv. Enhanced Oil Recovery  PAGEREF _Toc424515280 \h 11
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515281" v. Recommendations  PAGEREF _Toc424515281 \h 13
 HYPERLINK \l "_Toc424515282" vi. Appendix  PAGEREF _Toc424515282 \h 16

Executive Summary
Past and recent studies done indicate that global oil production is bound to end in the next ten to twenty years. The International Energy Agency confirms these claims and there are efforts by this and other similar authorities to come up with solutions to the above-mentioned problem. The depletion of current oil reserves has been indicated by the fact that most of the major oil reserves in the world have already been exhausted past their peak production levels. There are several ways of understanding this situation and choosing the way forward for not only the major economies but the entire globe. One of the serious implications of this issue is that the price of oil will get higher in the near future and there are needs to rethink how oil is used in the world. Among the possible solutions for this problem is use of enhanced oil recovery, extraction of tar oil from the coal reserves in places like Canada, accelerating the mobilization of other renewable sources of energy and using nuclear energy.
Crude oil has been serving as a very important source of energy and has been the backbone of many economic development ventures throughout the world. All aspects of the society from agriculture and production of food to politics and commerce depend heavily on the availability of oil and the reachability of the oil reserves now and in the future. Due to the expansion of industries and other sectors that depend on oil, there have been increasing oil demands that surpass the availability of the important resource. Increasing oil demands can be satisfied through various ways and all of these boils down to the fact that there is need for more energy. However, research done in the past and presently both indicate that oil reserves are fast depleting all over the world. More recent research by the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates that the oil reserves will reach peak levels of oil production much sooner than it had been predicted before. The IEA has raised alarm over the fact that the world will be facing a disastrous energy crunch in the near future and there is need for everyone to look into all the possible ways this can be contained early enough.

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1 : Types of Oil production currently (IEA)
The rate at which the major oil reserves currently are depleting is twice the rate that was predicted in 2012. The IEA suggests that the earlier the world starts looking for solutions and alternatives to the oil problem, the better is. It is so because of the fact that all sectors of life currently depend on the availability of oil to be able to move forward. This is how the demands for more oil are increasing vis-a-vis the oil that is available. The solutions to this problem include using enhanced oil recovery methods. The other solution to this problem that has been suggested by some energy specialists is the extraction of tar oil from coal reserves though the environmental and climate change concerns of this option have led to it being put on hold.
Other solutions are the acceleration of the use of renewable sources of energy like solar energy and encouraging the use of nuclear energy. Enhanced oil recovery is a method that involves the use of advanced technologies to increase the amount of oil that is acquired from oil reserves. In the wake of the problem of reducing oil reserves, the use of enhanced oil recovery methods should be used as other alternative energy sources are being sought.
Assessment of Criteria
In choosing the best solution that will be used in offering a solution to the problem of reduced oil levels in the world, I will look at the cost of using any of the methods and their impacts on the environment. Another important factor to consider in choosing the best solution to the problem is looking at the amount of time that it will take in being able to get energy from the solution being considered. In assessing these solutions, the attempts that have been done before to find a solution to this problem will be explored to help come up with the judgment of the solution. One of the most important criteria that all of the suggested solutions should meet is not causing much harm to the environment and contributing to further climate change and because of this, the solutions that have the least effects on the environment are the most likely to be selected.
Analysis of Proposed Solutions
Tar Sands Oil as an alternative for Conventional Oil. Tar sands are found in large deposits in Canada and it is not used like the conventional crude oil because of the fact that unlike the conventional oil that is extracted from oil reservoirs and processed from crude to more refined oil, tar, otherwise referred to as bitumen is way thicker. This thickness means that it cannot go down pipe drains like the conventional oil. That is why, as a solution to the problem of increased oil demands in the near future, tar soils would require to be processed even more before it is ready for use by the industries that used to use the conventional oil. It means that the cost of using it is way up compared to the costs of using conventional oil. Currently, there are two widely known methods that are used in extracting bitumen from the ground; however, it is important to note for the purpose of this research and solution finding process that both of the two processes are very expensive and they involve complex processes that make the use of bitumen a very complex process. The first method is known as open-pit mining and it involves the clearing of land and taking the tar soil deposits to a location where they will be processed to make the oil that will be made available for use. At the processing plant, different chemicals and water are used to extract from the tar soil deposits.

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2: Percentage of Tar Soils in world Oil deposits. Most of the tar soil deposits are still unused
The process ends when all oil has been extracted from the collected soil deposits and the residue oil is then deposited back at the mines. The process of extracting soil from the soils uses a method that uses hot water to separate the soil to sand, water and the bitumen. The second method of extracting bitumen from the tar soil deposits is called steam extraction. This method involves injecting steam into sand deposits that are deep in the earth close to 225 feet under the surface and it heats the sand to make the oil flow more easily to a second oil pipe that will be used to deliver the soil to the surface where the operations are being done from. It is established that 80% of the tar soil deposits in Canada are deep in the ground and this is the method that is used in extracting the bitumen. In analyzing this option as a solution to the problem of reduced oil availability and reducing oil reserves in the world now, this option can be said to be very expensive because of the use of complex processes in the extraction process. Due to the complexity in the processes, the use of tar soil oil deposits can also be seen to be a very time consuming process and it will not offer the best solution to the problem at hand. This is also due to the fact the problem at hand requires a solution that will take the least amount of time to execute so that the major operations in the world that depend on oil do not come to a stop.
Environmentally, the extraction of oil from tar soil deposits produces close to thrice the amount of carbon that is produced during the extraction of conventional oil from crude oil reservoirs. As such, this is not a clean energy source and it will lead to even more damage to the environment compared to the damage to the environment as a result of the use of conventional oil. Apart from these, there is also the other disadvantage of this method that is the destruction of the ecosystem where the soils are found and also the extensive waste of water that is heated and used in the process to separate the sand from the soil. The ration of amount of water needed to extract oil from soil deposits is 3:1. This goes against the concerns of the industry stakeholders who want to cause as least harm as possible to the environment and to waste important resources like water. Another concern for the stakeholders would be the time-consumption factor that would mean the process gets to produce oil only occasionally. It would slow down the operations in vital industries that rely on oil too much.
Renewable Energy. This option as a solution would involve the extraction of energy from sources that are self-replenishing from nature, for example sunlight, geothermal heat, tides, rain and wind. However, despite the fact that these sources of energy are widely known, there is need for sensitizing societies on the use of renewable energy sources as a solution to the problem of increasing oil...
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