Environmental Impacts in Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum-derived contaminants constitute one of the most prevalent   sources of environmental degradation in the industrialized world. In large concentrations, the hydrocarbon molecules that make up crude oil and petroleum products are highly toxic to many organisms, including humans. Petroleum also contains trace amounts of sulphur and nitrogen compounds, which are dangerous by themselves and can react with the environment to produce secondary poisonous chemicals. The dominance of petroleum products in the United States and the world economy creates the conditions for distributing large amounts of these toxins into populated areas and ecosystems around the globe. The environmental impact of petroleum is often negative because it is toxic to almost all forms of life and its extraction fuels climate change. Petroleum, commonly referred to as oil, is closely linked to virtually all aspects of present society, especially for transportation and heating for both homes and for commercial and industrial activities.

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