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English, informative essay

English, informative essay - Daniel Duque The Eminence of...

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Daniel Duque 1 The Eminence of Oil Long before oil’s rise to prominence in energy production, its entry into daily use was brought by peoples need for a cheaper and more flexible source of illumination. Petroleum derivatives have been exploited since the beginning of human civilization, particularly in ancient Mesopotamia and elsewhere in the Middle East, where a primitive oil industry supplied asphalt for building roads, mastic for waterproofing ships, architecture, hydraulics, and essential components for many medicines and treatments. Oil production slowed down and reemerged in the mid 1850’s, when parallel experiments by chemists were undertaken in Europe and the United States to refine oil (Maugeri 24). The famous Canadian scientist, Abraham Gesner, was responsible for the discovery of modern oil distillation. He patented a new oil product, kerosene, to be used for “illumination or other purposes,” in the United States in 1854 (Maugeri 66). Since it was cheaper, safer, and better than whale oil, which was quickly running out as a result of intensive over fishing, it was quickly adopted by western civilization (Maugeri 72). However, because modern society runs on oil, misconceptions and fallacies have been accepted as truth on oil depletion. In the twentieth century there have been at least three major cycles of oil catastrophe: the fist one started during World War I and ended with the tremendous oil glut of 1930, the second one erupted in the U.S. during World War II, and was a few years later denied by the growing petroleum overproduction up to the end of the 1960’s; the final cycle came with the beginning of the 1970’s, terminating in the two oil shocks, and was dramatically reverted by the oil countershock in 1986 (Maugeri 15). However past experience has failed to warn against such fears of apparent scarcity. The Medias
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Daniel Duque 2 amplification of any voice predicting the earth’s oil supply has swept away any reasoned opposition. Today, petroleum doomsday visions have been made much more suitable and credible for the general public through the use statistical and probability models. However, there has been no accepted method to asses or calculate the extent of future oil reservoirs. Searching for the ultimate figure about earths oil reserve is like searching for the holy grail, a never ending rush with several people claiming to have discovered what in fact remains a mystery (Burnham 25). The most famous of all doomsayers came about in 1956. Marion King Hubbert, who observed the production curve over time of a known oil province from the start up of the oil fields discovered in the area. He concluded that production grows over time until it peaks when half of the existing recourses have been extracted, mid point depletion. At this stage production tends to decline at the same rate at which it grew. Hubbert
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