Non Renewable Resources Essay

2302 Words Apr 6th, 2011 10 Pages

A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, re-grown, regenerated, or reused on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate. These resources often exist in a fixed amount, or are consumed much faster than nature can recreate them. Fossil fuel (such as coal, petroleum and natural gas) and nuclear power are examples. In contrast, resources such as timber (when harvested sustainably) or metals (which can be recycled) are considered renewable resources

Fossil fuel

A temporary oil drilling rig in Western Australia
Further information: Oil depletion
Natural resources such as coal, petroleum, oil and natural gas take thousands of years to form naturally and
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Oil recovery can involve more than one stage. The primary stage involves pumping oil from reservoirs under the normal reservoir pressure. About 25 percent of the oil in a reservoir can be removed during this stage. The secondary recovery stage involves injecting hot water into the reservoir around the well. This water forces the remaining oil toward the area of the well from which it can be recovered. Sometimes a tertiary method of recovery is used in order to remove as much oil as possible. This involves pumping steam, carbon dioxide gas or nitrogen gas into the reservoir to force the remaining oil toward the well. Tertiary recovery is very expensive and can cost up to half of the value of oil removed. Carbon dioxide used in this method remains sequestered in the deep reservoir, thus mitigating its potential greenhouse effect on the atmosphere. The refining process required to convert crude oil into useable hydrocarbon compounds involves boiling the crude and separating the gases in a process known as fractional distillation. Besides its use as a source of energy, oil also provides base material for plastics, provides asphalt for roads and is a source of industrial chemicals.

Over 50 percent of the world's oil is found in the Middle East; sizeable additional reserves occur in North America. Most known oil reserves are already being exploited, and oil is being used at a

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