Taxonomy term

oil

Cretaceous volcanic ash seeded U.S. oilfields

Petroleum and natural gas stores are often found amid rocks — particularly ashbeds — deposited during the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs roamed Earth and abundant volcanic arcs lined the edges of the continents.

10 Jul 2018

Above oil seeps, photosynthetic life flourishes

The direct effects of oil and gas releases in the ocean are typically negative — as in the case of 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil well disaster, which devastated marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. But scientists have now found that when natural oil and gas seeps upwell toward the ocean’s surface, they can also carry nutrients such as nitrates and nitrites from the seafloor that feed communities of phytoplankton, which flourish as a result.

30 May 2016

Oil-encased water droplets are mini-ecosystems for microbes

Dark, sludgy oil may not seem like an environment suited to life. But microbes, known to make meals of such organic stews by breaking down large hydrocarbons to extract food and energy, have been found before in petroleum reservoirs. Now, in a new study, researchers report finding diverse communities of microorganisms living inside tiny water droplets in Pitch Lake, the world’s largest natural asphalt seep located on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. The discovery may have implications for industry, scientists say, as well as for our understanding of extreme life.

30 Dec 2014

NOAA quantifies oil danger from shipwrecks

In the 1970s, mysterious oil spills began to plague hundreds of kilometers of California’s Central Coast. The spills usually occurred in winter, during large storms, and — with the exception of a few tarball events, like one that afflicted Point Reyes National Seashore in the winter of 1997-98 — little oil was seen on the beaches or in the water.
 

03 Nov 2013

Down to Earth With: Bruce Benson

In a remarkable career spanning nearly 50 years, Bruce Benson has held just two jobs. In 1965, a year after earning his bachelor’s degree in geology, he founded the Benson Mineral Group, an oil and gas exploration and production company that he has owned and chaired ever since. From this foundation, Benson’s business interests have spread into salvaging, banking, mortgage servicing, cable television, geothermal power, real estate and even pizza.

19 Sep 2012

How oil and water helped the U.S. win World War II

World War II U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley is often cited as the originator of the famous military quote: “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.” Irrespective of its origins, the adage holds true for most extended conflicts — and World War II is no exception. Managing logistics for the production, movement and consumption of energy was one of the critical determinants of success during the war.

15 Feb 2011

The Changing Face of Sudan

To say that things are changing in Sudan would be an understatement. With a referendum on secession set for Jan. 9, and expected to pass, and many issues to be negotiated between now and July 9 when the country’s peace agreement ends, a lot will change over the coming months. And everything hinges on Sudan’s most valuable product: oil.

08 Jan 2011

OPEC and Oil: The next 50 years

Last September, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) celebrated its 50th anniversary. Over the past five decades, OPEC has earned a reputation for being a powerful cartel that controls the world’s oil production and prices — but there are limits to OPEC’s influence and wealth. In fact, many OPEC countries face grave problems, which, to some extent, are the result of their oil-based economies.

03 Jan 2011

Water Wise: An oil plume at depth, and NOAA vs. the White House

There is definitely a deep plume of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and it was definitely produced by BP’s damaged Macondo well, according to a report published today in Science. Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts reported unequivocal evidence of a plume at a depth of about 1,100 meters that was at least 35 kilometers long, as of the end of June. The plume, they said, was traveling to the southwest, largely driven by the topography of the seafloor.

20 Aug 2010

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