In our current state, oil and natural gas are two resources most of us couldn’t live without. When we get up in the morning to take a shower, most of us get hot water through hot water heaters powered by natural gas. On a cold winter morning, it’s natural gas that keeps most of our furnaces working and heats up the frying pan for breakfast. Driving to work requires fuel for our cars. Gas or petrol is a derivative of petroleum or crude oil. These are only a few of the most common uses of natural gas and oil that we use on a daily basis. Less close to home are things like farms, which use diesel-powered machinery to help plant and harvest the foods we eat. Oil powered trucks, planes, and trains that transport our food and other necessary items so that we can survive. In fact, about 90% of the world’s vehicles are powered by oil. With so much riding on these resources, it’s a little surprising how little most of us know about how we get these resources.
Crude oil and natural gas are part of our earth’s natural resources. They are our most important fossil fuels. To put it simply, they are created as products of the heating and pressurization of organic materials throughout time. These fossil fuels are located deep in the earth’s crust. Once oil is located in the earth, the area must be surveyed to determine the boundaries of the oil. In many places law requires environmental studies to be conducted to determine if extracting the oil will damage the surrounding environment. Other legal procedures must be followed carefully as well. Once everything is settled, the land is cleared and leveled. Once that is finished the land is prepared for hydraulic fracturing or drilling. Hydraulic drilling has been the preferred method of extracting oil and natural gas since the mid 1900s.