Petroleomics and Structure–Function Relations of Crude Oils and Asphaltenes
Petroleum science and technology are advancing at a rapid pace due to a myriad of considerations. The efficient generation and utilization of energy are increasingly being recognized as a societal necessity from economic and environmental vantages. Increasing concerns regarding physical limits of total hydrocarbon resources are colliding with rapidly expanding economies in heavily populated regions of the world, that require plentiful, affordable transportation fuels to realize expectations of impatient populaces. Geopolitical instabilities are magnified by disparate distributions of hydrocarbons attracting attention of powerful hydrocarbon consuming nations commensurate with the perceived value of these resources. Exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in many cases is the best hope for lifting nations out of grinding poverty. However, in large measure, the “easy” hydrocarbon resources have already been drained, increasing the technical demand for exploitation of the remainder. Heavy oils and bitumens that were bypassed in favor of their lighter bedfellows constitute an increasing fraction of remaining hydrocarbon resources. Deepwater production of hydrocarbon resources involves tremendous costs, thereby mandating efficiencies that can be achieved only with proper understanding of petroleum chemistry. Exploitation of marginal reserves in mature markets rich in infrastructure, such as the North Sea, hinges on accurate prediction of production. The insightful characterization of reservoir architecture and of reservoir dynamics, very challenging tasks, rests in large part on the detailed understanding of the contained fluids.
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