Pros and Cons of Petroleum


Petroleum has become an important part of modern life. Aside from powering cars, planes, and other vehicles, it’s used in manufacturing many products like pharmaceuticals and plastics. In fact, according to experts, around 90 million barrels of petroleum is consumed around the world each day.

Many people consider petroleum as one of the keys to the modernization of society, but it also has numerous opponents who point out that it greatly contributes to the destruction of the planet. To learn more about these arguments, here are some of the pros and cons of petroleum.

List of Pros of Petroleum

1. It can be easily obtained, stored, and transported.
Since petroleum has been used for decades, scientists and engineers have created an almost-perfect process of extracting it. As a result, obtaining it requires less time and effort than it used to, and it can be extracted even when its source is underwater or located in areas with a harsh climate. Because it’s in liquid form, petroleum can be easily transported through pipes, trucks, and ships and safely stored in large, specially built tanks.

2. It’s relatively cheap.
Petroleum costs can still go up, as many people know, but the fact that it can be easily obtained, transported, and stored makes it less expensive than other sources of energy. This can be a positive thing, considering that petroleum is involved in the production of many consumer goods and can directly affect the prices of numerous products.

3. It’s a powerful energy source.
Petroleum is a high-density substance; burning up one kilogram of it, for example, can produce up to 10,000kcal or 40MJ. This makes it a great choice for industries that use fuels extensively.

List of Cons of Petroleum

1. It can harm the environment.
Petroleum can damage nature in many ways. The process of obtaining it from underwater sources, for example, can disrupt and even harm the marine environment that surrounds the oil well. It’s extracted as an emulsion of oil and water, and harmful chemicals are used to separate these two substances. Burning petroleum can also produce greenhouses gasses (which, as everyone knows, is one of the main causes of global warming), and improper handling of this fuel can lead to oil spills, which can severely damage aquatic life.

2. It’s a finite source.
The earth’s petroleum resources won’t last forever. In fact, according to studies, almost half of the world’s oil reserves have already been used, leaving people with just one trillion barrels. It might sound a lot but, considering that societies are becoming more and more dependent on petroleum, this supply can easily run out in decades.

3. It can become expensive later on.
Petroleum may be more cost-effective than other energy sources now, but this may no longer be the case later on when supplies of it run out. When this happens, its price will surely shoot up, making it more costly to extract, refine, and distribute and causing people to spend more to keep their vehicles and machines running.

Petroleum: Is It Good or Bad?

Petroleum has made great contributions to modernization, but it can’t be denied that it also has disadvantages. Because of these, it’s important to find a balance between its pros and cons to enjoy its benefits while limiting its drawbacks.