Consequences Of Hydrocarbon Consumption And Consumer Habits

<p style="text-align: justify;">It would not be an exaggeration to say that today only lazy people do not talk about climate change and the impact of hydrocarbons on these changes. Briefly, I would like to define some aspects of this topic.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">About 15 years ago, my colleagues and I were returning from a gas field to an office in the Arctic region of Russia. During our trip, we saw many vehicles carrying various items, such as oil and gas equipment, pipes, materials, etc. The outside temperature was -30 degrees Celsius. All the movements around us seemed like an endless anthill.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">I asked my companions what the result of all these actions is mentioned above. Silence hung. After a few minutes, we concluded that all the above activities mostly ended up in the garbage or the chimney. Comparing all human efforts to extract hydrocarbons with consumption habits takes little evidence to understand that people consume irrationally.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">After several public actions held by environmental activists worldwide, many politicians began to ride the topic of climate change.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">But who are the politicians?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">These are people who protect the public interests of their constituents. Of course, each of the politicians has the opportunity to express themselves to a wide audience. In addition, every politician has a basic reason for maintaining their position for a long time to achieve public and private interests. This is why they only speak words that people would like to hear.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Unfortunately, there are only facts in their speeches about climate change, but I have never heard anything about the causes, consumer habits, and consequences because politicians avoid criticizing their voters.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">What are hydrocarbons?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">This is a huge amount of chemical compounds that provide enormous opportunities for their use, from energy and plastic production to producing fertilizers and medicines. On the one hand, there is yet to be an idea of how to immediately abandon hydrocarbons in the energy and transport industries. We only hear long-term plans with vague decisions about a carbon-free transition.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On the other hand, we can see the consequences of hydrocarbons in the form of scattered used plastic packaging and heat generation, but the question is: who is using the goods wrapped in plastic and heating their homes with hydrocarbons?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Or who is throwing used plastic past the trash can?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Or why is recycling, at most 10% of the volume of plastic, primarily used?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">We can see this "Mr/Mrs/Miss Who" in the mirror.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In conclusion, hydrocarbons are only tools and commodities in our hands, and consumer behavior is the leading cause of environmental pollution. People need to change their consumer behavior and be more responsible in the consumption of hydrocarbons and stop attacking their production because hydrocarbons are more useful than dangerous.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Arkadiy Kuznetsov</a></em></span><br />&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Arkadiy Kuznetsov</span></h3><h3 style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</h3><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What factors influence which energy sources people use?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">First, people need the energy to protect themselves and provide everything necessary for life, such as heating or cooling their homes, cooking, lighting their premises, etc. People around the world are dependent on energy supplies. By providing all their natural, safe living conditions, human society uses all local fuels, from forest and coal to renewable energy sources, but different territories have different resources.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For example, there is much wood in the African or Amazonian rainforests, the Siberian taiga. On the other hand, humanity has found many opportunities on many rivers to construct hydroelectric power plants.&nbsp;<br />I could go on with this list of examples, but each possibility is localized in some place and can be a local energy source.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Secondly, vast areas of our planet are available for agricultural and industrial activities, but many need more energy resources, making them dependent on energy imports from other territories.&nbsp;<br />For example, Europe and Asia's agriculture completely depends on irrigation, agricultural machinery, etc. All these farms operate on electricity and motor fuel.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Third, modern vehicles, from cars to ships and planes, use standardized fuels that are not widely produced. For example, German or Japanese cars in Mongolia use fuel imported from Russia or the Middle East due to the country's lack of fuel production resources.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Finally, different types of fuel have different efficiency and purpose. These important aspects are considered in all technical solutions. For example, imagining that any aircraft will use wood or coal as fuel is impossible.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Summing up all the above, the most important factors influencing the choice of energy sources are the constant human need for protection and activity, the lack of local energy resources, and the dependence on technical means of highly efficient fuel.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are the consequences of hydrocarbon contaminants entering the environment? </span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Discussing the consequences of releasing hydrocarbon pollutants into the environment, I would like to start with a definition of hydrocarbons. I mentioned above that this is a huge array of chemical compounds that provide great opportunities.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Initially, all hydrocarbons are produced from crude, natural/associated gas, and coal. This means that all hydrocarbons are of natural origin and can be destroyed by natural forces such as biodiversity, sun, hot climate, etc. But hydrocarbon derivatives are highly organized chemical matters that cannot be destroyed by natural forces and can harm the natural environment for a long time.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For example, I have long observed how in territories with a cold climate, people eliminate the consequences of oil pollution. They need to clean every square centimeter due to the lack of natural forces in cold climates to naturally break down hydrocarbons.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On the other hand, I have seen the same situations in tropical climates, where nothing was done to minimize environmental damage, but the forces of nature destroyed all hydrocarbons quickly.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Let's return to hydrocarbon derivatives, such as fuel for engines and furnaces, and these are products of a complex oil and gas refining process. Each of them has huge energy potential. When using them, we also get unburned residues in the form of ash and carbon dioxide, which do not decompose under the influence of the forces of nature and fill our entire environment, causing damage to us. They also saturate and poison the soil and water for a long time. We get some health problems like lung disease and cancer.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In conclusion, the consequences of hydrocarbon pollutants entering the environment are very strong but manageable with reduced carbon dioxide and ash emissions. This is possible by reducing emissions in cold climates and responsible consumption.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What are the latest trends in hydrocarbon technology?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Hydrocarbon production is divided into three parts:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Upstream (exploration and production)</li><li>Midstream (transportation of raw materials)</li><li>Downstream (refining and trading)</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Upstream's latest trends are reducing carbon emissions in production and using environmentally friendly materials and technologies.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Midstream's latest trends are to improve sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint.&nbsp;<br />Downstream's latest trends are improving refinery efficiency and increasing the production of non-fuel derivatives.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What can replace hydrocarbons?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">I think people can't replace hydrocarbons, and they shouldn't. Hydrocarbons will soon replace metals. Currently, we can see many successful examples of the use of hydrocarbons in various fields, such as the aircraft industry.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">For example, approximately 50% of the A380 and B787 aircraft's body parts are carbon.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Many small and medium-sized vessels are made from hydrocarbons, etc. Why?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Since burning hydrocarbons takes a lot of energy to melt and remelt metal, metals are much heavier than carbon, and carbon is harder than metal. People should use hydrocarbons more as a material and less as a fuel.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Arkadiy Kuznetsov

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