What it looks like to replace Russian oil and gas.
Turning away from the use of oil and gas from Russia can be accomplished. What is needed includes; finding other supply sources, building new receiving ports, retrofitting existing refineries, expanding production, marshaling major engineering capacity, major capital investment, and time. Putting in place what is needed cannot happen in a few months. It will take a year for the quick changes and a number of years for a major realignment.
Understanding the petroleum industry by reading about it with all its unique jargon: “upstream-downstream,” Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Floating Production Storage and Offloading, Crude Assay, Sweet and Sour Crude Oil, etc., quickly becomes confusing.
Images offer the possibility of getting our minds around what these words mean and how the energy industry works. So I’ve compiled a set of pictures showing what’s involved in the supply chain of oil and gas worldwide in order to understand what the challenges and costs are in creating an alternative to dependence on Russian oil and gas.
Finding the oil and gas.
Locating sources of oil and gas is an industry unto itself and requires significant investment, risk, and commitment of time.
Crude Oil Exploration
More often than not, places, where crude oil is found, are deserts and oceans. Advanced technology today helps reduce some of the risks by quantifying possible amounts of oil and gas at specific locations. The exploration process still comes down to drilling a hole in the earth, often thousands of feet, to reach a crude oil or natural gas source. The drilling rigs on land and offshore are an industry unto themselves and include names like Schlumberger, Valaris, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Nabors, China Oilfield Services Limited, and Petrofac, to name a few.
All in One Operations
Then there are “all in one” exploration drilling, processing, and shipping operations like the Tension leg platform, Floating Production Storage, and Offloading operation at Kizomba, Angola. Basically, these operations drill for crude oil, process it onsite then load it onto supertankers at the offshore location. Off the supertanker goes to deliver oil to a client.
Shipping and Storage
Crude oil must be moved from its source to refineries where it can be processed into usable products like gasoline and diesel.
Processing crude oil into petroleum products; gas and diesel.
Trains and Pipelines
Other methods used to transport crude oil and petroleum products include trains and pipelines.
Balancing energy needs for the short term and long term
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world was engaged in an existential struggle: how to deal with the accelerating negative impact of climate change. Countries are still in a struggle with each other about how best to shift from fossil fuels to clean, sustainable energy. The urgency to find alternatives to oil and gas from Russia must simultaneously be met with concrete actions by countries worldwide to respond to climate change. The world order is under threat as a result of Russia’s war, and the catastrophic effects of climate change threaten life in our home, the earth. The challenge is whether we choose law over force to respond to Russia’s invasion. We also have a challenge of consciousness. Can we acknowledge our interdependence and work for the common good?
Text and Images by Wayne Eastep
To see more images visit the energy collection at my website WayneEastep.com