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PETROLEUM (Lat. Petra, rock, and oleu...

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 321 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PETROLEUM (Lat. Petra, rock, and oleuin, oil), a term which, in its widest sense, embraces the whole of the hydrocarbons, gaseous, liquid and solid, occurring in nature (see BITUMEN). Here the application of the term is limited to the liquid which is so important an article of commerce, though references will also be made to natural gas which accompanies petroleum. Descriptions of the solid forms will be found in the articles on asphalt or asphaltum, albertite, elaterite, gilsonite, hatchettite and ozokerite. Particulars of the shales which yield oil on destructive distillation are given in the article on paraffin. Ancient History.—Petroleum was collected for use in the most remote ages of which we have any records. Herodotus de-scribes the oil pits near Ardericca (near Babylon), and the pitch spring of Zacynthus (Zante), whilst Strabo, Dioscorides and Pliny mention the use of the oil of Agrigentum, in Sicily, for illumination, and Plutarch refers to the petroleum found near Ecbatana (Kerkuk). The ancient records of China and Japan are said to contain many allusions to the use of natural gas for lighting and heating. Petroleum (" burning water ") was known in Japan in the 7th century, whilst in Europe the gas springs of the north of Italy led to the adoption in 1226 by the municipality of Salsomaggiore of a salamander surrounded by flames as its emblem. Marco Polo refers to the oil springs of Baku towards the end of the 13th century; the medicinal proper-ties of the oil of Tegernsee in Bavaria gave it the name of " St Quirinus's Oil " in 1436; the oil of Pechelbronn, Elsass, was discovered in 1498, and the " earthbalsam " of Galicia was known in 15o6. The earliest mention of American petroleum occurs in Sir Walter Raleigh's account of the Trinidad pitch-lake in 1595; whilst thirty-seven years later, the account of a visit of a Franciscan, Joseph de la Roche d'Allion, to the oil springs of New York was published in Sagard's Histoire du Canada. In the 17th century, Thomas Shirley brought the natural gas of Wigan, in Shropshire, to the notice of the Royal Society. In 1724 Hermann Boernaave referred to the oleum terrae of Burma, and "Barbados tar" was then well known as a medicinal agent. A Russian traveller, Peter Kalm, in his work on America, published in 1748, showed on a map the oil springs of Pennsylvania, and about the same time Raicevich referred to the " liquid bitumen " of Rumania. Modern Development and Industrial Progress.—The first commercial exploitation of importance appears to have been the distillation of the oil at Alfreton in Derbyshire by James Young, who patented his process for the manufacture of paraffin in 185o. In 1853 and 1854 patents for the preparation of this substance from petroleum were obtained by Warren de la Rue, and the process was applied to the " Rangoon oil " brought to Great Britain from Yenangyaung in Upper Burma. The active growth of the petroleum industry of the United States began in 1859, though in the early part of the century the petroleum of Lake Seneca, N.Y., was used as an embrocation under the name of " Seneca oil," and the "American Medicinal Oil" of Kentucky was largely sold after its discovery in 1829. The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was formed in 1854, but its operations were unsuccessful, and in 1858 certain of the members founded the Seneca Oil Company, under whose direction E. L. Drake started a well on Oil Creek, Pennsylvania. After drilling had been carried to a depth of 69 feet, on the 28th of August 1859, the tools suddenly dropped into a crevice, and on the following day the well was found to have " struck oil." This well yielded 25 barrels a day for some time, but at the end of the year the output was at the rate of 15 barrels. The production of crude petroleum in the United States was officially reported to have been 2000 barrels in 1859, 4,215,000 barrels in 1869, 19,014,146 barrels in 1879, 35,163,513 barrels in 1889, 57,084,428 barrels in 1899, and 126,493,936 barrels in 1906. From Oil Creek, development spread first over the eastern United States and then became general, subsequently embracing Canada (1862), recently discovered fields being those of Illinois, Alberta and California (44,854,737 barrels in 1908). For about to years Pennsylvania was the one great oil producer of the world, but since 187o the industry has spread all over the globe. From the time of the completion on the Baku field of the first flowing well (which was unmanageable and resulted in the loss of the greater part of the oil), Russia has ranked second in the list of producing countries, whilst Galicia and Rumania became prominent in 1878 and r88o respectively. Sumatra, Java and Borneo, where active development began in 1883, 1886 and 1896, bid fair to rank before long among the chief sources of the oil supplies of the world. Similarly, Burma, where the Burmah Oil Company have, since 189o, rapidly extended their operations, is rising to a position of importance. Oil fields are being continually opened up in other parts of the world, and whilst America still maintains her position as the deposited on compression. largest petroleum producer, the world's supplies are now being derived from a steadily increasing number of centres. Physical and Chemical Properties.—Although our information respecting the chemical composition of petroleum has been almost entirely gained since the middle of the 18th century, a considerable amount of empirical knowledge of the substance was possessed by chemists at an earlier date, and there was much speculation as to its origin. In his Sylva sylvarum (1627), Francis Bacon states that " the original concretion of bitumen is a mixture of a fiery and watery substance," and observes that flame " attracts " the naphtha of Babylon " afar off." P. J. Macquer (1764), T. O. Bergman (1784) Charles Hatchett (1798) and others also expressed views with regard to the constitution and origin of bitumens. Of these early writers, Hatchett is the most explicit, the various bituminous substances being by him classified and defined. Jacob Joseph Winterl, in 1788, appears to have been the first to examine petroleum chemically, but the earliest systematic investigation was that carried out by Professor B. Silliman, Jun., in 1855, who then reported upon the results which he had obtained with the " rock oil or petroleum " of Venango county, Pennsylvania. This report has become a classic in the literature of petroleum. The physical properties of petroleum vary greatly. The colour ranges from pale yellow through red and brown to black or greenish, while by reflected light it is, in the majority of cases, of a green hue. The specific gravity of crude petroleum appears to range from •771 to 1•o6, and the flash point from below o° to 370°F. Viscosity increases with density, but oils of the same density often vary greatly; the coefficient of expansion, on the other hand, varies inversely with the density, but bears no simple relation to the change of fluidity of the oil under the influence of heat, this being most marked in oils of paraffin base. The calorific power of Baku oil appears to be highest, while this oil is poorest in solid hydrocarbons, of which the American petroleums contain moderate quantities, and the Upper Burma oils the largest amount. The boiling point, being determined by the character of the constituents of the oil, necessarily varies greatly in different oils, as do the amounts of distillate obtained from them at specified temperatures. 317 Even prior to the discovery of petroleum in commercial quantities, a number of chemists had made determinations of the chemical composition of several different varieties, and these investigations, supplemented by those of a later date, show that petroleum consists of about 84% by weight of carbon with 12% of hydrogen, and varying proportions of sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen. The principal elements are found in various combinations, the hydrocarbons of the Pennsylvania oils being mainly paraffins (q.v.), while those of Caucasian petroleum belong for the most part to the naphthenes, isomeric with the olefines (q.v.). Paraffins are found in all crude oils, and olefines in varying proportions in the majority, while acetylene has been found in Baku oil; members of the benzene group and its derivatives, notably benzene and toluene, occur in all petroleums. Naphthenes are the chief components of some oils, as already indicated, and occur in varying quantities in many others. Certain crude oils have also been found to contain camphenes, naphthalene and other aromatic hydrocarbons. It is found that transparent oils under the influence of light absorb oxygen, becoming deeper in colour and opalescent, while strong acidity and a penetrating odour are developed, these changes being due to the formation of various acid and phenylated compounds, which are also occasionally found in fresh oils. The residues from petroleum distillation have been shown to contain very dense solids and liquids of high specific gravity, having a large proportion of carbon and possessed of remarkable fluorescent properties. Natural gas is found to consist mainly of the lower paraffins, with varying quantities of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, in some cases also sulphuretted hydrogen and possibly ammonia. This mixture dissolves in petroleum, escaping when the oil is stored, and conversely it invariably carries a certain amount of water and oil, which is Occurrence.—Bitumen is, in its various forms, one of the most widely-distributed of substances, occurring in strata of every geological age, from the lowest Archean rocks to those now in process of deposition, and in greater or less quantity throughout both hemispheres, from Spitzbergen to New Zealand, and from California to Japan. The occurrence of commercially valuable petroleum is, however, comparatively limited, hitherto exploited deposits being confined to rocks younger than the Cambrian and older than the Quaternary, while the majority of developed oil-fields have been discovered north of the equator. The main requisites for a productive oil or gas field are a porous reservoir and an impervious cover. Thus, while the mineral may be formed in a stratum other than that in which it is found, though in many cases it is indigenous to it, for the formation of a natural reservoir of the fluid (whether liquid or gas) it is necessary that there should be a suitable porous rock to contain it. Such a rock is typically exemplified by a coarse-grained sandstone or con-glomerate, while a limestone may be naturally porous, or, like the Trenton limestone of Ohio and Indiana, rendered so by its conversion into dolomite and the consequent production of cavities due to shrinkage—a change occurring only in the purer limestones. Similarly it is necessary, in view of the hydrostatical relations of water and mineral oils, and the volatile character of the latter, that the porous stratum should be protected from water and air by an overlying shale or other impervious deposit. Water, often saline or sulphurous, is also found in these porous rocks and re-places the oil as the latter is withdrawn. In addition to these two necessary factors, structural conditions play an important part in determining the accumulation of oil and gas. The main supplies have been obtained from strata unbroken and comparatively undisturbed, but the occurrence of anticlinal or terrace structure, however slightly marked or limited in extent, exerts a powerful influence on the creation of reservoirs of petroleum. These tectonic arches often extend for long distances with great regularity, but are frequently crossed by subsidiary anticlines, which themselves play a not unimportant part in the aggregation of the oil. Owing to difference of density the oil and water in the anticlines separate into two layers, the upper consisting of oil which fills the anticlines, while the water remains in the synclines. Any gas which may be present rises to the summits of the anticlines. When the slow folding of the strata is accompanied by a gradual local descent, a modified or " arrested " anticlinal structure, known as a " terrace " is produced, the up-heaving action at that part being sufficient only to arrest the descent which would otherwise occur. The terraces may thus be regarded as flat and extended anticlines. They need not be horizontal, and sometimes have a dip of a few feet per mile, as in the case of the Ohio and Indiana oil fields, where the amount varies from one to ten feet. These slight differences in level, however, are found to have a most powerful effect in the direction already mentioned. It is evident that accurate knowledge of the character and structure of the rock-formations in petroliferous territories is of the greatest importance in enabling the expert to select favourable sites for drilling operations; hence on well-conducted petroleum-properties it is now customary to note the character and thickness of the strata perforated by the drill, so that a complete section may be prepared from the recorded data. In some cases the depths are stated with reference to sea-level, instead of being taken from the surface, thus greatly facilitating the utilization of the records. Oil and gas are often met with in drilled wells under great pressure, which is highest as a rule in the deepest wells. The closed pressure in the Trenton limestone in Ohio and Indiana is about 200–300lb. per sq. in., although a much higher pressure has been registered in many wells. The gas wells of Pennsylvania indicate about double the pressure of those drilled in the Trenton limestone, 600–800 lb. not being unusual, and even moo lb having been recorded. The extremely high pressure under which oil is met with in wells drilled in some parts of the Russian oil fields is a matter of common knowledge, and a fountain or spouting well resulting therefrom is one of the " sights" of the country. A famous fountain in the Groznyi oil field in the northern Caucasus, which began to flow in August 1895, was estimated to have thrown up during the first three days 1,200,000 poods (over 4,500,000 gallons, or about 18,500 tons) of oil a day. It flowed continuously, though in gradually diminishing quantity, for fifteen months; afterwards the flow became intermittent. In April 1897 there was still an occasional outburst of oil and gas. Three theories have been propounded to account for this pressure:- 1. That it results from the weight of the overlying strata. 2. That it is due to water-pressure, as in artesian wells (" hydro-static " or " artesian " theory). 3. That it is caused by the compressed condition of the gradually accumulating gas. Of these the first has been proved untenable, and while in some instances (e.g. certain wells in Ohio), the second has held good, the third appears to be the most widely applicable. The conditions of formation and accumulation of petroleum point to the fact that the principal oil fields of the world are merely reservoirs, which will become exhausted in the course of years, as in the case of the decreasing yield of certain of the American fields. But new deposits are continually being exploited, and there may be others as yet unknown, which would entirely alter any view that might be expressed at the present time in regard to the probable duration of the world's supply of oil and gas. As already stated, every one of the great geological systems appears to have produced some form of bitumen, and in the following table an attempt has been made to classify on this basis the various localities in which petroleum or natural gas has been found in large or small quantities: Recent.—Lancashire (Down Holland Moss), Holland, Sweden, Sardinia, Kaluga (Russia), Red Sea, Mediterranean. Pleistocene.—Schleswig-Holstein, Minnesota, Illinois, Louisiana. Pliocene.—Spain, Italy, Albania, Croatia, Hungary, Hesse, Hanover, Transcaspia, Algeria, Florida, Alabama, California, Mexico, Peru, Victoria, New Zealand. Miocene.—France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Rumania, Turkey-in-Europe, Styria, Slavonia, Hungary, Transylvania, Galicia, Lower Austria, Wurttemberg, Brandenberg, West Prussia, Crimea, Kuban, Terek, Kutais, Tiflis, Elizabetpol, Siberia, Transcaspia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Assam, Burma, Anam, Japan, Philippine Islands, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Algeria, Egypt, British Columbia, Alaska, Washington, California, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Barbados, Trinidad, Venezuela, Peru, South Australia, Victoria, New Zealand. Oligocene.—France, Spain, Greece, Rumania, Hungary, Transylvania, Galicia, Bavaria, Elsass, Rhenish Bavaria, Hesse, Saxony, Crimea, Daghestan, Tiflis, Baku, Alaska, California, Florida. Eocene.—Devonshire (retinasphalt), France, Spain, Italy, Asia Minor, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rumania, Dalmatia, Istria, Hungary, Transylvania, Galicia, Moravia, Bavaria, Elsass, Kutais, Armenia, Persia, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Punjab, Assam, Sumatra, Algeria, Egypt, Maryland, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Louisiana, Texas, Cuba, Colombia, Brazil. Cretaceous.—Holland, France; Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Greece, Hungary, Silesia, Moravia, Westphalia, Brunswick, Hanover, Schleswig-Holstein, (German) Silesia, Poland, Kutais, Uralsk, Turkestan, Armenia, Syria, Arabia, Persia, Tunis, Egypt, West Africa, British Columbia, Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca, Manitoba, New Jersey, South Dakota, - Washington, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, Hayti, Trinidad, Colombia, Argentina [?], New Zealand. Neocomian.—Sussex, France, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Transylvania, Bukowina, Galicia, Hesse, Baden, Hanover, Bruns-wick, California, Texas, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina. Jurassic.—Yorkshire, Somerset, Buckingham, France, Switzer-land, Spain, Italy, Lower Austria, Baden, Elsass, Hesse, Hanover, Brunswick, Sizran, Tiflis, Siberia, Persia, Madagascar, Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, Argentina. Triassic.—Yorkshire, Staffordshire, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Montenegro, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Baden, Elsass, Lothringen, Rhenish Bavaria, Rhenish Prussia, Hanover, Brunswick, Sweden, Spitzbergen, Punjab, China, Transvaal, Cape Colony, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Wyoming, Argentina, New South Wales, Queensland. Permian.—Yorkshire, Denbigh, Moravia, Bohemia, Baden, Saxony, Vologda, Afa, Kazan, Simbirsk, Samara, Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas (Permo-Carboniferous). Carboniferous.—Scotland, North of England, and Midlands, Wales, France, Belgium, Carniola, Moravia, Elsass, Saxony, Perm, Sizran, China, Cape Colony, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Kansas, Arkansas Colorado, Oklahoma, Tasmania, Victoria (Permo-Carboniferous), West Australia (Permo-Carboniferous). Devonian.—Scotland, Devonshire, Spain, Hanover, Archangel, Vitebsk, Athabasca, Mackenzie, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky. Silurian.—Shropshire, Wales, Bohemia, Sweden, Esthonia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New York, Pennsylvania [?], Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New Caledonia. Cambrian.—Shropshire, New York. Archean.—France, Norway, Sweden, Ontario. In this list, while certain occurrences in rocks of undetermined age in little-known regions have been omitted, many of those included are of merely academic interest, and a still larger number indicate fields supplying at present only local needs. All have been arranged in geographical order without reference to productive capacity or importance. It should be pointed out that the deposits which have been hitherto of chief commercial importance occur in the old rocks (Carboniferous to Silurian) on the one hand, and in the comparatively new Tertiary formations on the other, the intermediate periods yielding but little or at any rate far less abundantly. Origin.—The question of the origin of petroleum (and natural gas), though for the first half of the 19th century of little more than academic interest, has engaged the attention of naturalists and others for over a hundred years. As early as 1804, Humboldt expressed the opinion that petroleum was produced by distillation from deep-seated strata, and Karl Reichenbach in 1834, suggested that it was derived from the action of heat on the turpentine of pine-trees, whilst Brunet, in 1838, adumbrated a similar theory of origin on the ground of certain laboratory experiments. The theories propounded may be divided into two groups, namely, those ascribing to petroleum an inorganic origin, and those which regard it as the result of the decomposition of organic matter. M. P. E. Berthelot was the first to suggest, in 1866, after con-ducting a series of experiments, that mineral oil was produced by purely chemical action, similar to that employed in the manufacture of acetylene. Other theories of a like nature were brought forward by various chemists, Mendeleeff, for example, ascribing the formation of petroleum to the action of water at high tempera-, tures on iron carbide in the interior of the earth. On the other hand, an overwhelming and increasing majority of those who have studied the natural conditions under which petroleum occurs are of opinion that it is of organic origin. The earlier sup-porters of the organic theory held that it was a product of the natural distillation of coal or carbonaceous matter; but though in a few instances volcanic intrusions appear to have converted coal or allied substances into oil, it seems that terrestrial vegetation does not generally give rise to petroleum. Among those who have considered that it is derived from the decomposition of both animal and vegetable marine organisms may be mentioned J. P. Lesley, E. Orton and S. F. Peckham, but others have held that it is of exclusively animal origin, a view supported by such occurrences as those in the orthoceratities of the Trenton limestone, and by the experiments of C. Engler, who obtained a liquid like crude petroleum by the distillation of menhaden (fish) oil. Similarly there is a difference of opinion as to the conditions under which the organisms have been mineralized, some holding that the process has taken place at a high temperature and under great pressure; but the lack of practical evidence in nature in support of these views has led many to conclude that petroleum, like coal, has been formed at moderate temperatures, and under pressures varying with the depth of the containing rocks. This view is supported by the fact that petroleum is found on the Sardinian and Swedish coasts as a product of the decomposition of seaweed, heated only by the sun, and under atmospheric pressure. Consideration of the evidence leads us to the conclusion that, at least in commercially valuable deposits, mineral oil has generally been formed by the decomposition of marine organisms, in some cases animal, in others vegetable, in others both, under practically normal conditions of temperature and pressure. Extraction (Technically termed Production.)—The earliest system adopted for the collection of petroleum appears to have consisted in Early skimming the oil from the surface of the water upon Methods. which it had accumulated, and Professor Lesley states that at Paint Creek, in Johnson county, Kentucky, a Mr George and others were in the habit of collecting oil from the sands, " by making shallow canals too or 200 ft. long, with an up-right board and a reservoir at one end, from which they obtained as much as 200 barrels per year by stirring the sands with a pole." It is said that at Echigo in Japan, old wells, supposed to have been dug several hundred years ago, are existent, and that a Japanese history—called Kokushiriyaku, states that " burning water was obtained in Echigo about A.D. 615. The petroleum industry in the United States may be considered to date from the year 1859, when the first well avowedly drilled The United for the production of oil was completed by E. L. Drake. The United he present method of drilling has been evolved from states. the artesian well system previously adopted for obtaining brine and water. The drilling of petroleum wells is carried on by individuals or companies, either on lands owned by them, or on properties whose owners grant leases, usually on condition that a certain number of wells shall be sunk within a stated period, and that a portion of the oil obtained (usually from one-tenth to one-fourth) shall be appropriated as royalty to the lessor. Such leases are often transferred at a larger royalty, especially after the territory has been proved productive. The " wild-cat " wells, sunk by speculators on untested territory or on lands which had not previously proved productive, played an important part in the earlier mapping out of the petroleum fields. To discourage the sinking of wells on land immediately adjoining productive territory, it has been usual to drill along the borders of the land as far as practicable, in order to first obtain the oil which might otherwise be raised by others; and on account of the small area often con-trolled by the operator, the number of wells drilled has frequently been far in excess of the number which might reasonably be sunk. Experience has proved that in some of the oil fields of the United States one well to five acres is as close as they should be drilled. After the selection of the site, the first operation consists in the erection of the rig. The chief portion of this rig is the derrick, OII which consists of four strong uprights or legs held in Derrick position by ties and braces, and resting on strong wooden sills, which are preferred, as a foundation, to masonry. For drilling the deeper wells, the derrick, on account of the length of the " string " of drilling tools, is usually at least 70 ft. high, about 20 ft. wide at the base, and 4 ft. wide at the summit. The whole derrick is set up by keys, no mortices or tenons being used, and thus the complete rig may be readily taken down and set up on a new site. The samson-post, which supports the walking beam, and the jack-posts, are dove-tailed and keyed into the sills. The samson-post is placed flush with one side of the main sill, the band-wheel jack-post being flush with the other side, so that the walking-beam, which imparts motion to the string of tools, works parallel with the main sill. The boiler generally used is of the locomotive type and is usually stationary, though sometimes a portable form is preferred. It is either set in the first instance at some distance from the engine and well, or is subsequently removed sufficiently far away before the drill enters the oil-bearing formation, and until the oil and gas are under control, in order to minimize the risk of fire. A large boiler frequently supplies the engines of several wells. The engine, which is provided with reversing gear, is of 12 or 15 horse-power and motion is communicated through a belt to the band-wheel, which operates the walking-beam by means of a crank. The throttle-valve is opened or closed by turning a grooved vertical pulley by means of an endless cord, called the telegraph, passing round another pulley fixed upon the " headache-post," and is thus under the control of the driller working in the derrick. The headache-post is a vertical wooden beam placed on the main sill directly below the walking-beam, to receive the weight of the latter in case of breakage of connexions. The position of the reversing link is altered by means of a cord, passing over two pulleys, fixed respectively in the engine-house and on the derrick. At one end of the hand-wheel shaft is the bull-rope pulley, and upon the other end is a crank having six holes to receive a movable wrist-pin, the length of stroke of the walking-beam being thus adjusted. The revolution of the bull-wheels is checked by the use of a powerful, hand-brake. The band-wheel communicates motion to the walking-beam, while drilling is in progress, through the crank and a connecting-rod known as the pitman; to the bull-wheels, while the tools are being raised, by the bull-rope; and to the sand-pump reel, by a friction pulley, while the sand-pump is being used. It is therefore necessary that the machinery should be so arranged that the connexions may he rapidly made and broken. The sand-pump reel is set in motion by pressing a lever, the reel being then brought into contact with the face of the hand-wheel. The sand-pump descends by gravitation, and its fall is checked by pressing hark the lever, so as to throw the reel against a post which serves as a brake. The drilling tools are suspended by an untarred manila rope, 2 in. in diameter, passing from the bull-wheel shaft over a grooved wheel known as the crown-pulley, at the summit of the derrick. The string of drilling tools consists of two Drilling parts separated by an appliance known as the jars. Tools. This piece of apparatus was introduced by William Morris in 1831, and consists of a long double link with closely-fitting jaws which, however, slide freely up and down. It may be compared to a couple of elongated and flattened links of chain. The links are about 3o in. long and are interposed between the heavy iron auger-stem carrying the bit and the upper rod, known as the sinker-bar. Their principal use is to give a sharp jar to the drill on the up-stroke so that the bit is dislodged if it has become jammed in the rock. In addition to the appliances mentioned the tools comprise reamers to enlarge the bore of the well, the winged-substitute which is fitted above the bit to prevent it from glancing off, and above the round reamer to keep it in elace, a temper-screw with clamps and wrenches. Sand-pumps and bailers are also required to remove detritus, water and oil from the bore-hole. The action of the jars and temper-screw has been described by John F. Carll as follows: " Suppose the tools to have been just run to the bottom of the well, the jars closed and the cable slack. The men now take hold of the bull-wheels and draw up the slack until the sinker-bar rises, the ' play ' of the jars allowing it to come up 13 in. without disturbing the auger-stem. When the jars come together they slack back about 4 in., and the cable is in position to be clamped in the temper-screw. If now the vertical movement of the walking-beam be 24 in., when it starts on the up-stroke the sinker-bar rises 4 in., and the cross-heads come together with a smart blow, then the auger-stem is picked up and lifted 20 in. On the down-stroke, the auger-stem falls 20 in., while the sinker-bar goes down 24 in. to telescope the jars for the next blow coming up. A skilful driller never allows his jars to strike on the down-stroke, they are only used to jar down when the tools stick on some obstruction in the well before reaching the bottom, and in fishing operations. An unskilful workman sometimes ' loses the jar ' and works for hours without accomplishing anything. The tools may be standing at the bottom while he is playing with the slack of the cable or they may be swinging all the time several feet from the bottom. As the jar works off, or grows more feeble, by reason of the downward advance of the drill, it is ' tempered ' to the proper strength by letting down the temper-screw to give the jars more play. The temper-screw forms the connecting link between the walking-beam and cable, and it is ' let out ' gradually to regulate the play of the jars as fast as the drill penetrates. When its whole length is run down, the rope clamps play very near the well-mouth. The tools are then withdrawn, the well is sand-pumped, and preparations are made for the next ' run.' " The ordinary sand-pump or bailer, consists of a plain cylinder of light galvanized iron with a bail at the top and a stem-valve at the bottom. It is usually about 6 ft. in length but is sometimes as much as 15 or 20 ft., and as its valve-stem projects downwards beyond the bottom, it empties itself when rested upon the bottom of the waste-trough. The operation of drilling is frequently interrupted by the occurrence of an accident, which necessitates the use of fishing tools. If the fishing operation is unsuccessful the well has to be abandoned, often after months of labour, unless it is found possible to drill past the tools which have been lost. In readiness for a fracture of the drilling tools or of the cable, special appliances known as fishing tools are provided. These are so numerous and varied in form that a description would be impossible within the scope of this article. The fishing tools are generally attached to the cable, and are used with portions of the ordinary string of tools, but some arc fitted to pump-rods or tubing, and others to special rods. The drilling of a well is commonly carried out under contract, the producer erecting the derrick and providing the engine and boiler while the drilling contractor finds the tools, and is Drilling the responsible for accidents or failure to complete the Will well. The drilling " crew " consists of two drillers and two tool-dressers, working in pairs in two " tours " (noon to midnight and midnight to noon). The earlier wells in Pennsylvania consisted of three sections, the first formed of surface clays and gravels, the second of stratified rocks containing water, and the third of stratified rocks, including the oil-sands, usually free from water. The conductor, which was a wooden casing of somewhat greater internal diameter than the maximum bore of the well, passed through the first of these divisions, and casing was used in the second to prevent percolation of water into the oil-bearing portion. In later wells the conductor has been replaced with an 8-in. wrought-iron drive-pipe, terminating in a steel shoe, which is driven to the bed-rock, and a 7$-in. hole is drilled below it to the base of the lowest water-bearing stratum. The bore is then reduced to 5f-in., and a bevelled shoulder being made in the rock, a 5f-in. cjtsing, having a collar to fit water-tight on the bevel shoulder, is inserted. The well is then completed with a S%- in. hit. As the water is shut off before the portion of the well below the water-bearing strata is bored the remainder of the drilling is conducted with only sufficient water in the well to admit of sand-pumping. The drill is thus allowed to fall freely, instead of being partly upheld by the buoyancy of the water, as in earlier wells. Wells in Pennsylvania now range in depth from 300 ft. to 3700 ft. Four strings of iron casing are usually employed, having the following diameters: 10 in., 8; in., 61 in. and 5 in., the lengths of tube forming the casing being screwed together. Contractors will often undertake to drill wells of moderate depth at 90 cents to $t per foot, but the cost of a deep well may amount to as much as $7000. The rotary system of drilling which is in general use in the oil-fields of the coastal plain of Texas is a modification of that invented Rotary by Fauvelle in 1845, and used in the early years of the system. industry in some of the oil-producing countries of Europe. It is one of the most rapid and economical which can be employed in soft formations, but where hard rock is encountered it is almost useless. The principle of this system consists essentially in the use of rotating hollow drilling rods or casing, to which is attached the drilling-bit and through which a continuous stream of water, under a pressure of 40 to 100 lb. per sq. in., is forced. The yield of petroleum wells varies within very wide limits, and the relative importance of the different producing districts is also Yield of constantly changing. I. C. White, state geologist of Wells. West Virginia, estimates that in fairly good producing sand a cubic foot of rock contains from 6 to 12 pints of oil. He assumes that in what is considered a good producing district the amount of petroleum which can be obtained from a cubic foot of rock would not be more than a gallon, and that the average thickness of the oil-bearing rock would not exceed 5 ft. Taking these figures as a basis, the total yield of oil from an acre of petroliferous territory would be a little over 5000 barrels of 42 U.S. gallons. A flow of oil may often be induced in a well which would otherwise require to be pumped, by preventing the escape of gas which issues with the oil, and causing its pressure to raise the oil. The device employed for this purpose is known as the water-packer, and consists in its simplest form of an india-rubber ring, which is applied between the tubing and the well-casing, so that upon compression it makes a tight joint. The gas thus confined in the oil-chamber forces the oil up the tubing. For pumping a well a valved working-barrel with valved sucker is attached to the lower end of the tubing, a perforated "anchor " being placed below. The sucker carries a series of three or four leather cups, which are pressed against the inner surface of the working barrel by the weight of the column of oil. The sucker is connected by a string of sucker-rods with the walking-beam. There is usually fixed above the sucker a short iron valve-rod, with a device known as a rivet-catcher to prevent damage to the pump by the dropping of rivets from the pump-rods. On the completion of drilling, or when the production is found to decrease, it is usual to torpedo the well to increase the flow. Torpedoing The explosive employed is generally nitroglycerin, Wells. and the amount used has been increased from the original 4 to 6 quarts to 6o, 80, too and even 200 quarts. It is placed in tin canisters of about 31 to 5 in. in diameter and about to ft. in length. The canisters have conical bottoms and fit one in the other. They are consecutively filled with nitro-glycerin, and are lowered to the bottom of the well, one after the other, by a cord wound upon a reel, until the required number have been inserted. Formerly the upper end of the highest canister was fitted with a " firing-head," consisting of a circular plate of iron, slightly smaller than the bore of the well, and having attached to its underside a vertical rod or pin carrying a percussion cap. The cap rested on the bottom of a small iron cylinder containing nitroglycerin. To explode the charge an iron weight, known as a go-devil, was dropped into the well, and striking the disk exploded the cap and fired the torpedo. Now, however, a miniature torpedo known as a go-devil squib, holding about a quart of nitro-glycerin, and having a firing-head similar to that already described, is almost invariably employed. The disk is dispensed with, and the percussion cap is exploded by the impact of a leaden weight running on a cord. The squib is lowered after the torpedo, and, when exploded by the descent of the weight, fires the charge. It must be borne in mind that although the explosion may increase the production for a time, it is by no means certain that the actual output of a well is increased in all such cases, though from some wells there would be no production without the use of the torpedo. The petroleum industry in Canada is mainly concentrated in the district of Petrolea, Ontario. On account of the small Drillingln depth of the wells, and the tenacious nature of the Canada. principal strata bored through, the Canadian method of drilling differs from the Pennsylvanian or American system in the following particulars: 1. The use of slender wooden boring-rods instead of a cable. 2. The employment of a simple auger instead of a spudding-bit. 3. The adoption of a diffeient arrangement for transmitting motion. 4. The use of a lighter set of drilling tools. Although petroleum wells in Russia have not the depth of manyof those in the United States, the disturbed character of the strata, with consequent liability to caving, and the occurrence of hard concretions, render drilling a lengthy and expensive Drilling in operation. It is usual to begin by making an excava- Russia. tion 8 ft. in diameter and 24 ft. in depth, and lining the sides of this with wood or brick. The initial diameter of the well drilled from the bottom of this pit is in some instances as much as 36 in., bore-holes of the larger size being preferred, as they are less liable to become choked, and admit of the use of larger bailers for raising the oil. The drilling of wells of large size requires the use of heavy tools and of very strong appliances generally. The system usually adopted is a modification of the Canadian system already described, the boring rods being, however, of iron instead of wood, but the cable system has also to some extent been used. For the ordinary 2-in. plain-laid manila cable a wire rope has in some cases been successfully substituted. Rivetted iron casing, made of 136 -in. plate, is employed, and is constantly lowered so as to follow the drill closely, in order to prevent caving. Within recent years, owing to the initiative of Colonel English, a method of raising oil by the agency of compressed air has been introduced into the Baku oil-fields. In Galicia the Canadian system is nearly exclusively adopted. In some instances under-reaming is found necessary. This consists in the use of an expanding reamer by means of which Drilling is the well may be drilled to a diameter admitting of the Galicia. casing descending freely, which obviously could not be accomplished with an ordinary bit introduced through the casing. Of late years the under-reamer has been largely superseded by the eccentric bit. The Davis calyx drill has also been employed for petroleum drilling. This apparatus may be described as a steel-pointed core-drill. The bit or cutter consists of a cylindrical The calyx metallic shell, the lower end of which is made, by a Drill. process of gulleting, into a series of sharp teeth, which are set in and out alternately. The outward set of teeth drill the hole large enough to permit the drilling apparatus to descend freely, and the teeth set inwardly pare down the core to such a diameter as will admit of the body of the cutter passing over it without seizing. The calyx is a long tube, or a series of connected tubes, situated above the core barrel, to which it is equal in diameter. In conclusion it may be stated that the two systems of drilling for petroleum with which by far the largest amount of work has been, and is being done, are the American or rope comparison system, and the Canadian or rod system. The former of systems. is not only employed in the United States, but is in use in Upper Burma, Java, Rumania and elsewhere. The latter was introduced by Canadians into Galicia and, with certain modifications, has hitherto been found to be the best for that country. A form of the rod system is used in the Russian oil-fields, but owing to the large diameter of the wells the appliances differ from those employed elsewhere. The wells from which the supplies of natural gas are obtained in the United States are drilled and cased in the same manner as the oil wells. Transport and Storage.—In the early days of the petroleum industry the oil was transported in the most primitive manner. Thus, in Upper Burma, it was conveyed in earthenware vessels from the wells to the river bank, where it was poured into the holds of boats. It is interesting to find that a rude pipe-line formerly existed in this field for conveying the crude oil from the wells to the river; this was made of bamboos, but it is said that the loss by leakage was so great as to lead to its immediate abandonment on completion. In Russia, until 1875, the crude oil was carried in barrels on Persian carts known as " arbas." These have two wheels of 81 to 9 ft. in diameter, the body carrying one barrel, while another is slung beneath the axle. In America, crude petroleum was at first transported in iron-hooped barrels, holding from 40 to 42 American gallons, which were carried by teamsters to Oil Creek and the Allegheny River, where they were loaded on boats, these being floated down stream whenever sufficient water was present—a method leading to much loss by collision and grounding. Bulk barges were soon introduced on the larger rivers, but the use of these was partially rendered unnecessary by the introduction of railways, when the oil was at first transported in barrels on freight cars, but later in tank-cars. These at first consisted of an ordinary truck on which were placed two wooden tub-like tanks, each holding about 2000 gallons; they were replaced in 1871 by the modern type of tank-car, constructed with a horizontal cylindrical tank of boiler plate. The means of transporting petroleum in bulk commonly used at the present day is the pipe-line system, the history of which dates from 186o. In that year S. D. Karns suggested laying a 6-in. pipe from Burning Springs to Parkersburg, West Virginia, a distance of 36 m.; but his proposal was never carried into effect. Two years later, however, L. Hutchinson of New York, laid a short line from the Tarr Farm wells to the refinery, which passed over a hill, the oil being moved on the syphon principle, and a year later constructed another three miles long to the railway. These attempts were, however, unsuccessful, on account of the excessive ieakage at the joints of the pipes. With the adoption of carefully fitted screw-joints in 1865 the pipe line gradually came into general use, until in 1891 the lines owned by the various transit companies of Pennsylvania amounted in length to 25,000 1n The pumps employed to force the oil through the pipes were at first of the single-cylinder or " donkey " type, but these were found to cause excessive wear—a defect remedied by the use of the Worthington pump now generally adopted. The engines used on the main 6-in. lines are of 600 to 800 h.p., while those on the small-diameter local lines range from 25 to 30 h.p. Tanks of various types are employed in storing the oil, those at the wells being circular and usually made of wood, with a content of 250 barrels and upwards. Large tanks of boiler-plate are used to receive the oil as it comes through the pipe-lines- Those adopted by the National Transit Company are 90 ft. in diameter and 30 ft. high, with slightly conical wooden roofs covered with sheet iron; their capacity is 35,000 barrels, and they are placed upon the carefully levelled ground without any foundation. Kerosene is transported in bulk by various means; specially constructed steel tank barges are used on the waterways of the United States, tank-cars on the railroads, and tank-wagons on the roads. The barrels employed in the transport of petroleum pro-ducts are made of well-seasoned white-oak staves bound by six or eight iron hoops. They ate coated internally with glue, and painted in the well-known colours, blue staves and white heads. The tins largely used for kerosene are made by machinery and contain 5 American gallons. They are hermetically sealed for transport. In Canada, means of transport similar to those already described are employed, but the reservoirs for storage often consist of excavations in the soft Erie clay of the oil district, the sides of which are supported by planks. The primitive methods originally in use in the Russian oil-fields have already been described; but these were long ago superseded by pipe-lines, while a great deal of oil is carried by tank steamers on the Caspian to the mouth of the Volga where it is transferred to barges and thence at Tzaritzin to railway tank-cars. The American type of storage-tank is generally employed, in conjunction with clay-lined reservoirs. Natural gas is largely used in the United States, and for some time, owing to defective methods of storage, delivery and consumption, great waste occurred. The improvements introduced in 1890 and 1891. whereby this state of affairs was put an end to, consisted in the introduction of the principle of supply by meter, and the adoption of a comprehensive system of reducing the initial Pressure of the gas, so as to diminish loss by leakage. For the latter purpose, Westinghouse gas-regulators are employed, the positions of the regulators being so chosen as to equalize the pressure throughout the service. The gas is distributed to the consumer from the wells in wrought-iron pipes, ranging in diameter from 20 in. down to 2 in. Riveted wrought-iron pipes 3 ft. in diameter are also used. The initial pressure is sometimes as high as 400 lb to the sq. in., but usually ranges from 200 to 300 lb. The most common method of distribution in cities and towns is by a series of pipes from 12 in. down to 2 in. in diameter, usually carrying a pressure of about 4 oz. to the sq. in. To these pipes the service-pipes leading into the houses of the consumers are connected. Refining of Petroleum.—The distillation of petroleum, especially of such as was intended for medicinal use, was regularly carried on in the 18th century, and earlier. V. I. Ragozin states in his work on the petroleum industry that Johann Lerche, who visited the Caspian district in 1735, found that the crude Caucasian oil required to be distilled to render it satisfactorily combustible, and that, when distilled, it yielded a bright yellow oil resembling a spirit, which readily ignited. As early as 1823 the brothers Dubinin erected a refinery in the village of Mosdok, and in 1846 applied to Prince Woronzoff for a subsidy for extending the use of petroleum-distillates in the Caucasus. In their application, which was unsuccessful, they stated that they had taught the Don Cossacks to " change black naphtha into white," and showed by a drawing, preserved in the archives of the Caucasian government, how this was achieved. They used an iron still, set in brickwork, and from a working charge of forty " buckets " of crude petroleum obtained a yield of sixteen buckets of "" white naphtha." The top of the still had a removable head, connected with a condenser consisting of a copper worm in a barrel of water. The " white naphtha ' was sold at Nijni Novgorod without further treatment. Some of the more viscous crude oils obtained in the United States are employed as lubricants under the name of " natural oils," either without any treatment or after clarification by subsidence and filtration through animal charcoal. Others are deprived of a part of their more volatile constituents by spontaneous evaporation, or by distillation, in vacuo or otherwise, at the lowest possible temperature. Such are known as " reduced oils." In most petroleum-producing countries, however, and particularly where the product is abundant, the crude oil is fractionally distilled, so as to separate.it into petroleum spirit of various grades, burning oils, gas oils, lubricating oils, and (if the crude oil yields that product) paraffin. The distillates obtained are usually purified by treatment, successively, with sulphuric acid and solution of caustic soda, followed by washing with water.
End of Article: PETROLEUM (Lat. Petra, rock, and oleuin, oil)
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