Standard Article

Greening of Petroleum Operations

  1. M. R. Islam,
  2. A. B. Chhetri,
  3. M. M. Khan

Published Online: 13 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.greeisla.a01

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

How to Cite

Islam, M. R., Chhetri, A. B. and Khan, M. M. 2012. Greening of Petroleum Operations. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. 1–26.

Author Information

  1. Niyah Institute, Halifax, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 APR 2012


Energy policies have defined modern civilization, One side supports petroleum production and usage and the other side supports the injection of various of other energy sources. Both sides agree that there is no sustainable solution to the energy crisis. This article presents another view. There is a sustainable solution to petroleum production and operations. Sustainable technology is based on the zero-waste concept, which states any chemical or industrial process should be designed in such a way that a closed-loop system is maintained and all wastes are absorbed within assimilation capacity of the earth. Practically all aspects of petroleum operations are accompanied by undesirable discharges of liquid, solid, and gaseous wastes. Crude oil is nontoxic, but becomes so when it is processed and no longer in its natural state. This article covers drilling and exploration, enhanced oil recovery, petroleum refining, and waste management. Major steps currently used are discussed and sustainable alternatives are presented. Some examples of these alternatives are use of wood ash in place of alkalies, natural catalysts such as zeolites, silica enzymes, etc, in place of heavy metal catalysts used that are hazardous to the environment in the refining process, a no-flaring process is given that will do away with the burning off of low quality gas during refining. Bacteria can be used to break down the crude oil into its various components. This article propose a paradigm shift in energy management and shows that fossil fuels production and utilization are inherently sustainable.


  • zero-waste;
  • petroleum refining;
  • sustainable concepts;
  • waste management;
  • enhanced oil recovery