Potential developments

The cost of extracting and treating non conventional hydrocarbons is about 10-20$ per barrel more than for conventional hydrocarbons: of these costs, approximately half are for improving the quality of the hydrocarbons (upgrading). Therefore this is not an economically profitable source, and its utilization will not make the price of oil drop. However there are abundant reserves that will guarantee a constant production of hydrocarbons in the near future, together with other sources that are also not very “conventional”, such as the production of liquid hydrocarbons from coal liquefaction, from conversion of gas into liquid fuels (Gas To Liquid or GTL technology) and from the biomass, besides the possible exploitation of methane hydrates in the sediments of the ocean floors. While it is believed that the production of conventional hydrocarbons will reach its peak in the next 10 years, and will then inexorably decrease, it is estimated that the production of non conventional hydrocarbons should continue to increase for the next 50 years, and will reach 10% approximately of our energy requirements. Naturally the possibility of disposing of new unexpected reserves of fossil fuels, for a few more decades, must not lead us to forget that however it is necessary to reconvert our energy consumption and our production of energy, diversifying the sources, and favouring technologies that allow a production of energy that is as clean as possible and that respects the environment. For this reason non conventional hydrocarbons must not be considered a remedy for the oil crisis but a valid aid, and in the near future, these will become an increasingly important part of the so-called “Energy Mix” (together with clean coal, conventional oil, gas, nuclear power and alternative renewable sources): no more contrasts between the different sources of energy, but “team work” to develop technologies that are increasingly eco-compatible and sustainable.

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From the Multimedia section

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  • energy

    Classification of reservoirs

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    energy

    World oil reserves at 2018

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  • energy

    Laying of a pipeline

    Look

    energy

    Pipeline under construction

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  • energy

    Men at work

    Look

    energy

    Drilling of wells

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  • energy

    Classification of reservoirs

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  • energy

    World oil reserves at 2018

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  • energy

    Laying of a pipeline

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Facts

  • Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

  • Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

    Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

    Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

  • 2 March 2011

    Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

  • Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

  • Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...