Crude Oil: Energy Source Fact File!

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Here’s the need-to-know stuff about the energy source, crude oil!


Crude oil is a dark liquid. It is found in reservoirs deep under the ground.

How was it formed?

Millions of years ago the world’s oceans were filled with plants and plankton. When these died they fell to the bottom of the seas. Over millions of years, these remains were buried under layers of sand and mud. Heat and pressure turned the remains into oil and natural gas.

Where do you find crude oil?

Oil reserves can be found all over the world, including the North Sea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United States, Iran, Iraq and China.

How is it made into electricity?

The oil is burned to heat water and produce steam. This steam propels the blades of a turbine. This isattached to a generator, which produces electricity.

What are the advantages of using crude oil?

  • Oil can easily be transported by a network of pipelines.
  • Oil-fired power stations can, in theory, be built anywhere.

What are the disadvantages of using crude oil?

  • Oil is a non-renewable source of energy. This means that one day we could run out of crude oil.
  • Burning oil produces carbon dioxide gas. This is a greenhouse gas that contributes towards global warming.
  • Burning oil can pollute the air.
  • Much of our oil has to be imported and it is becoming more and more expensive as reserves reduce and imports increase.
  • Producing electricity from crude oil is expensive compared to other fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

The Atlantic made this about Crude Oil:

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