Monday, July 13, 2009

Origin & Accumulation of Oil & Gas

To understand how hydrobarbons get into buried rocks, visualize an ancient sea teeming with vast numbers of living organisms. Some are fishes and others are large swimming beasts while others are so small that you cannot see them with out a microscope. Although they are very small, they are very abundant. Millions and millions of these small organisms live and die daily. It is these tiny and plentiful organisms that scientists believe gave rise to oil and gas.

When these tiny organisms died millions of years ago, their remains settled to the bottom. Even though they were very small, thousands of years went by and enormous quantities accumulated in thick deposits on the seafloor. The organic material mixed with the mud and sand on the bottom. Ultimately, many layers of sediments built up until they became hundreds of thousands of feet thick. The tremendous weight of overlying sediments created great pressure and heat on the deep layers. The heat and pressure changed the deep layers into rock. At the same time of this happening, the heat and pressure changed the dead organic material in the layers into hydrocarbons: crude oil & natural gas.

Meanwhile, geological action created cracks, or faults in the earth's crust. Earth movement folded layers of rock upward and downward. Molten rock thrusted upward, altering the shape of the surrounding beds. Disturbances in the earth shoved great blocks of land upward, dropped them downwards and them moved them sideways. Wind and water then eroded formations, earthquaked buried them, and new sediments fell onto them. Land blocked a bay's access to open water, and the resulting inland sea evaporated. Great rivers carried tons of sediment; then dried up and became buried by other rocks. In short, geological forces slowly but constantly altered the very shape of the earth. These alterations in the layers of rock are important because under the right circumstances, they can trap and store hydrocarbons.

Even while the earth changed, the withe of overlying rocks continued to push downward, forcing hydrocarbons out of their source rocks. Seeping through the subsurface cracks and fissures, oozing through small connections between rock grains the hydrocarbons moved upward. They moved until a subsurface barrier stopped them or until they reached the earth's surface as they did at Oil Creek. Most of the hydrocarbons, however did not reach the surface. Instead, they became trapped and stored in a layer of subsurface rock. Today, the oil industry seeks petroleum that was formed and trapped millions of years ago.

Heartland Energy Colorado is one of these companies in the oil industry benefiting from the transformation. Heartland Energy Colorado is one of the top hydrocarbon based energy providers in the country taking advantage of this prehistoric transformation. They have many drilling locations throughout the country and remain one of the top producers of US oil & gas companies. For more information on Heartland Energy Colorado, see Heartland Energy Development Corporation online.

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