Bent over a Barrel

Wouldn’t it be great if we no longer needed gasoline in cars? Sure right? Well I think it would be, and most people would agree. But like every change, there is a cost. For every action there is an equal reaction. It is very important that we not only understand the eco system of a barrel of oil, but that we also work vertically and horizontally on thee oil demand reduction project otherwise there will be massive negative impact if we were to do something like, wake up one day and no longer need or use auto fuel.

You say how can that be? Or maybe you say “We wont. have a planet if we keep using auto fuel”. I am not saying we would not figure things out if we just stopped using auto fuel, but there are better ways for change than white knuckling brute forces changes.

To understand what I am talking about you need to understand how a 159 liter barrel gets refined into 170 liters of product. And what products are produced from a barrel of oil. Then we cover the people (jobs) that come from the oil industry, and the byproduct jobs that come from oil. We will then talk about a conversion, and options or model some ideas on how to positively bridge a transition away from oil.

Oil Life Cycle

Oil has a life cycle and first we will learn that cycle. We will extremely over simplify the process or cycle.

  1. A barrel of oil comes from the earth and is 159 liters
  2. Barrel delivered to refinery which separates barrel into 170 liters of products
  3. Products are delivered to manufacturing or distributors
  4. Products are either purchased or used by end users
  5. Products are buried in the earth or recycled or released in the air
  6. End of cycle

Barrel Refining

What I learned about the refining process at a high level is a 159 liter barrel is warmed up, products separate because of their weight differences, and then products are extracted and stored for deliver.

We will not cover technically the process, but understand that a barrel of oil has a for the most part locked in ratio of products (See chart).

Courtesy of a great website called go there and learn some more. make sure to donate if you find value.

Once you have viewed the chart and understand it (go to the energy education site to learn more if you need to), try and think, what if we as a planet did not ned any of the 43 percent, but desperately needed plastics and diesel fuel. Think about repercussions, what would we do with that 43% of product that no one wants or we cannot do anything with. How do we dispose of it? What you will realize that our dependency on oil products must be a balancing act both on current pricing and usage to the transition to an oil free world.

Oil Jobs

Oil jobs are not just those jobs directly related to exploring, extracting, delivering through pipe lines or trucks or trains, refining facility people or the sales people, brokers, maintenance workers. Direct oil and natural gas jobs account to close to 6% of the US jobs or pushing 3 million jobs, but also think of the gas stations, custodians and all the other support services and restaurants, hotels related services. Plus the industries built on the oil industry like fuel filters, fuel pumps, gas tanks and all other internal combustion engine business. Then step away from ICE (internal combustion engines) and look at the other products, asphalt, plastics which are in everything. Imagine if we replaced ICE with solar and batteries on every vehicle, but could not figure out how to make plastics in mass, so now we have tons of excess barrel of oil products. You get the idea, it feels like it would be impossible to do what we must do, get rid of the reliance on oil. At least without creating the biggest world economic collapse that every happened as well as completely shutdown the world as a functioning unit. We need to either completely destroy the world or completely destroy the world.

Another Way

There has to be another way right? I believe there is always another way for change that does not destroy the planet. But like all change, complexity and difficulty and effort is either front loaded or back loaded or spread out.

  1. All oil product users must supply an alternative approach by x date
  2. Must be a bridge for businesses that would be harmed by oil disappearing to transition to making money with the alternative approaches
  3. All oil companies need to diversify at least 50% of their business to non oil based revenue.

Oil Products and Replacements

Almost all products have many uses, some can be replaced out some are very complex like Coke.

Oil ProductNon Oil Product
GasolineElectric Vehicle or hydrogen ICE/Fuel Cells
DieselElectric Vehicle or hydrogen ICE/Fuel Cells
Jet FuelElectric Vehicle or hydrogen ICE/Fuel Cells
Kerosene lampsLED
Kerosene heatHydrogen gas

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