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THE LIBRARY

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The PETROLEUM YEAR
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EVERYONE connected with or interested in Oil will remember
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OIL POWER



PI TMAN'S COMMON COMMODITIES
AND INDUSTRIES



OIL POWER



BY



SYDNEY H. NORTH

Assoc. INST. P.T.

EDITOR " OIL ENGINEERING AND FINANCE,"
" PETROLEUM YEAR BOOK," ETC.




LONDON

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r?



PREFACE

THE great expansion which has occurred in the adoption
of oil for power production during the last few years
appears to call for a work of small but comprehensive
dimensions, which, while covering the scope of the
subject in a general manner, does not aim at entering
into great detail on its many and complicated aspects.
It is believed, however, that the engineer, the ship-
owner, and the industrial user of oil for power production,
as well as for heating purposes, will find this modest
work of considerable utility. The economic advantages
of oil as compared with coal have been fairly widely
traversed under the respective adaptations, and these
will be an admirable guide to those who are doubtful
on this point.

I have aimed at providing a concise treatise suitable
both for the uninitiated and the experienced user, and
have selected those data and descriptions which appear
to me to fulfil this idea.

S. H. N.



CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE

PREFACE . . . . . V

I. INTRODUCTION 1

II. THE HOME PRODUCTION OF FUEL OILS . 11

III. DIRECT OIL FIRING . . . . .19

IV. OIL FUEL ON SHIPS .' . . . 42
V. OIL FUEL ON RAILWAYS .... 53

VI. THE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE . 61

VII. THE MOTOR SHIP 81

VIII. OILS FOR POWER PURPOSES ... 88

IX. OIL FOR POWER AND HEATING IN INDUSTRY 95

X. OIL STORAGE ...... 98

XI. DISTRIBUTION OF OIL .... 106

APPENDIX . - 114

INDEX 120



ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

THE "BRITISH MARINER" . . ' . Frontispiece

THE HOLDEN OIL FUEL BURNER . . . .21

THE KERMODE STEAM JET BURNER . . . .23

THE KERMODE PRESSURE JET BURNER . . .25

THE KORTING BURNER ...... 27

THE ORDE BURNER. ...... 28

THE RUSDEN AND EELES BURNER . , .. .29

THE THOMPSON ATOMIZER . . . . .30

THE THORN YCROFT OIL-FUEL SPRAYER ... .31

THE WALLSEND BURNER ...... 33

THE WHITE LOW-PRESSURE BURNER . . . .35

THE J. SAMUEL WHITE BURNER . . . .37

BATTERY OF OIL-FIRED WATER-TUBE BOILERS . . 39

STOKEHOLD OF THE " EMPRESS OF BRITAIN " UNDER

COAL ........ 44

STOKEHOLD OF THE " EMPRESS OF BRITAIN " UNDER

OIL . . . . . . .45

R.M.S. " MAJESTIC " . . . . . . 49

3,000 B.H.P. BURMEISTER AND WAIN MARINE ENGINE. 63
THE CAMELLAIRD-FULLAGAR ENGINE. . . .69

1,250 B.H.P. VICKERS HEAVY OIL ENGINE . . .71

THE M.S. " YNGAREN " . . . . . .85

OIL STORAGE DEPOT OF BRITISH PETROLEUM CO.,

AVONMOUTH . . . . . . .101

UNLOADING TANK STEAMER . 109



OIL POWER

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

SINCE the outbreak of the Great War the provision of
cheap fuel supplies has been the chief problem of this
country, and economic conditions have arisen which
appear to have made the probability of a return to
these somewhat remote. These conditions have, how-
ever, been responsible for the great extension which has
occurred in the adoption of oil for power production and
have brought the price of coal and oil into close approxi-
mation. Indeed, if all the economic advantages attain-
able by the use of oil be taken into consideration, the
price of the latter is lower than that of coal when used
in the internal combustion engine. This state of affairs
has been an unprecedented opportunity for oil, and the
great restriction in the supplies of coal compelled fuel
users to resort to that description of fuel of which large
and comparatively cheap supplies are available. The
relative position of these two forms of fuel at that time
was such that it constituted a serious problem for this
country.

The superiority of oil over coal in many directions has
been confirmed over and over again, and it may be
asserted without fear of contradiction that oil must be
counted as one of the chief factors in the success of our
arms on land as well as on sea in the recent European
conflict. Viewing the future in its broad aspects,



2 OIL POWER

another assertion may be presented, with equal
assurance, namely, that oil will play a very prominent
part in the ultimate result of the commercial and
industrial struggle which is now only in its initial
stages.

The vital point on which this more extended develop-
ment is dependent is that of supply. There have been,
from time to time, assertions made casting doubts
on the continuation and expansion of petroleum pro-
duction. Many years ago, a similar attitude was
adopted towards the matter of coal supply, and one
recalls Jevons' well-known treatise on the coal question
and the gloomy predictions he uttered in regard to the
not far distant exhaustion of Great Britain's resources.
He did not, however, allow any margin for the discovery
of new seams and deposits, and precisely the same
attitude is taken up by those who prophesy that, taking
into consideration the progressive increase in consump-
tion, the crude oil supply of the world will soon give
way under the strain. All calculations, which must,
of course, be of quite an arbitrary character, do not, and
cannot, take into account the discovery and opening
up of new deposits.

An important aspect of petroleum production is that
the actual output is by no means representative of the
potential production of a large number of the wells
drilled and yielding. Especially is this the case in
Mexico, Persia and one or two of the prolific American
fields, the producing capacity of many of the wells in
these fields being so great that transport facilities are
not sufficiently extensive to handle the enormous
quantities available, and the wells have to be
capped and the oil drawn off as required. When
one considers that many wells brought in, in
Mexico and elsewhere, yield 100,000 and 200,000 barrels



INTRODUCTION 3

a day, and that the provision of storage facilities
alone for such huge quantities would involve an
extraordinarily large capital expenditure, apart from
the fact that existing transport facilities are not in any
way equal to dealing with such quantities, it will be
recognized that potential supply must be far ahead of
actual supply, and that present output does not represent
the amount of oil in sight. Moreover, there has occurred
no period in oil history in which a shortage of supply
has been known, at any rate, due to the failure of the
sources of production. Whenever a shortage on the
markets has happened, it has been attributable to
factors other than production available. The progress
of petroleum engineering has in itself conserved an
enormous amount of oil which in previous years has been
wasted, and, although wastage on the fields has been
reduced, there are still many directions in which
economies are necessary, and will, undoubtedly, be
introduced.

Let us review briefly the fundamental factors in this
question of supply. Economies to be effected subse-
quent to the raising of the oil are merely contributory ;
the most important aspect of the matter is the duration
and extension of the natural resources available. Oil
as a commercial product has been in existence for little
more than fifty years ; its recognition and application
as a power producer has a history of only half that
period. It is this latter development which has deter-
mined the great increase that has occurred in oilfield
exploitation and supplies. During the past twenty
years quite a number of new prolific sources of supply
have been added to the list, and it may be advisable to
set these out in some detail in order that a more stable
perspective may be gained of the question as a whole.
In the United States, the pioneer and premier of



OIL POWER



petroleum-producing countries, we have the following
remarkable record

PRODUCTION IN 1,000 BARRELS





1900.


1914. 1918.


1919. 1 1921.


Appalachian .


28,300


22,350


25,332


29,232 30,574


Lima-Indiana


4,758


4,830


3,220


3,444


2,411


Illinois .


12,450


11,860


13,365


12,436


10,935


Oklahoma- Kansas


56,300


120,500


148,708


11 5,987 x




Central and North
Texas


12,900


- 12,340


17,280


67,419 (


256,085


North Louisiana .


8,600 ! 9,850


13,304


13,575 '




Gulf Coast .


14,647 ! 15,340


24,207


20,568


'34,160


Rocky Mountain .


1,300


9,430


12,808


13,584


20,765


California


4,524 84,650


97,531


101,564


114,709



It is quite true that the Pennsylvania and Ohio fields
are coming near the point of exhaustion, but this fact
throws a powerful light on Nature's capability of more
than recouping her failure in some directions by a
most prodigal supply in others. Outside America,
there are the widely scattered examples of Borneo,
Mexico, Persia and Egypt. The development of the
Borneo fields is one of the romances of the petroleum
industry and Mexico follows it very closely for its
astonishingly rapid rise in so short a period. Here are
the figures





Thous.


Thous.


Thous.




Brls.


Brls.


Brls.




1900.


1920.


1921.


Borneo .....


Nil


10,490-4 11,549


Mexico .....


Nil


163,540 195,064


Persia .....


Nil


12,352-7


14,600 '


Egypt


Nil


1,042


1,181



These tables deal with only those fields which have
come into prominent production during the last twenty
1 Estimated



INTRODUCTION 5

years, and do not take into account the established
sources of supply which have, in many cases, shown
considerable expansion and are capable of being more
widely extended. In addition to these, however,
there are known deposits of unestimated yield which
have either been but slightly tapped or have, up to the
present, remained untouched. Among these are the
vast oil-bearing tracts located in the South American
Republics ; the unexploited districts of Russia and the
extension of those already opened up ; the numerous
undeveloped resources of the British Empire, of Mesopo-
tamia, of China, of Madagascar, and Algeria, and in
addition there still exist as yet untouched the bituminous
shale deposits of France, Serbia, Spain, New South Wales,
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, etc.

In the year 1910 the world's crude oil production
amounted, in round figures, to 327,500,000 barrels ;
in 1921 the output had increased to approximately
760,000,000 barrels, showing, as between these dates,
an advance of over 130 per cent. The figure for the latter
year must, of necessity, be approximate, inasmuch
as it is possible only to include Russia, Rumania and
Galicia as estimates. A table is given on page 6 of the
crude production of the world's oilfields for the years
1910 to 1921 (1 on 1,000 barrels).

It is interesting to note that of the total increase
between the years 1910 and 1917 more than two-thirds
were derived from the four new large sources of supply,
which were brought into substantial production during
the last twenty years. At the same time, the European
fields were practically eliminated from the world's
supply though their capacity of output, which was being
more thoroughly exploited before the war, remains, as
far as one knows, of the same extent. Another feature
which has an important bearing on the fuel question is



OIL POWER



1 1910.


1919.


1920.


1921.


United States .


209,557


377,719


443,402


469,639


Russia


70,336-6


46,800!


25,430


28,500


Rumania


9,724


6,440


7,435


8,347


Galicia [Poland]


12,673-7


5,800


5,606


3,665


Dutch East Indies


10,844


18,300


17,529


18,000


Mexico


3,333


92,000


183,540


195,064


India


6,138


5,712


7,500


6,864


Egypt . ...





3,340


1,042


1,181


Trinidad .


214


2,600


1,042


1,181


Peru


1,330


2,875


2,083


2,354


Persia


. .


7.000 1


12,352


14,600


Japan
Other countries .


1,923-7
1,500


3,700
2,500


2,816-7
2,140


3,568
2,600




327,474


574,786


694,854


759,030



that the character of the oil obtained from the large
areas brought into production during the last' twenty
years is such that the yield of fuel oil is higher than that
of the older fields. This is true more especially of the
Calif ornian and Mexican petroleums, which, being heavy
oils and yielding a small proportion of the lighter products
are very suitable for use in oil fuel apparatus and
engines of the Diesel type and those designed especially
to consume the heavier oils. The table appended
indicates the petroleums providing the largest quantities
of fuel oil per cent together with the totals available
from the fields referred to





Quantities avail
Percent ;able from total
in volume, ioutput of 1921.
Mill. brls.


California (average)
Mexico .....
Texas (including Gulf Coast) .
D.E. Indies
Oklahoma- Kansas ....


65 74-6
70 136-5
57 58-7
40 7
50 75



1 Estimated



INTRODUCTION 7

Thus from these fields alone the supply of fuel oil
amounts to a total of 250,000,000 barrels or, approx-
imately, 34,444,000 tons, a provision which is being
extensively increased every year. These figures can
only be estimates, though they give some idea of the
available supply, while another 50,000,000 barrels, or
about 7,000,000 tons, may be relied on from the fields
not included in the above table. The oils from the
fields detailed above are also those possessing the highest
calorific value among the world's petroleums, a feature
shown in the following table



California . . . 10,400

Mexico . . . 10,500

Texas .... 10,700

Borneo . . . ! 10,460

Oklahoma . . . 10,800



Calories.



B.T.U.



18,800
18,900
19,242
18,831
19,400



Apart from the advantages of oil over coal in
numerous directions, its calorific value is considerably
higher. For instance, the best South Wales steam coal
yields only 15,000 B.T.U's. per lb., Yorkshire coal
14,500, while other English coal of high grade yields
only from 11,000 to 14,000 B.T.U's.

The crude petroleums obtained from the various
fields differ considerably in character. These may be
divided into two main categories those having a paraffin
base and those having an asphalt base. The former
are the more valuable crude oils, possessing a larger
proportion of light products ; the latter yielding smaller
quantities of these and a large quantity of heavy oils.
The crude oils, from which a high precentage of light
products are obtainable, are worked for securing these,
their market value being greater and more profitable
to the producer. These paraffin crude oils found



8 OIL POWER

chiefly in the Appalachian and Mid- West fields of America,
in Rumania, Galacia, Russia, and one or two other
sources, are so rich in the more valuable products that
the residue suitable for fuel oil is not sufficiently plentiful
to be regarded in the refinery. It is, therefore, to
the younger fields that we must turn for supplementing
our supplies of fuel oils suitable for burning under boilers
and for the Diesel type of engine. Outside America,
which provides nearly 70 per cent of the crude oil of
the world to-day, there are few prolific deposits the
crude oil of which is capable of yielding large quantities
of the lighter products. I am not speaking of the
percentage yield of the oil itself, but of aggregate
quantities. The deposits of Pennsylvania, Ohio and
West Virginia, the richest oils of America, are all indicat-
ing the approach of exhaustion. The output of Pennsyl-
vania in 1919 was little more than one fourth of the
figure representing production in 1882 ; Ohio shows a
decline to one third of its output of 1896 ; West Virginia,
a decline to approximately half of its output in 1900,
while in each field the decline is marked by a consistent
downward gradient. On the other hand, the fields which
register an upward movement such as California, Texas,
Oklahoma, Kansas, yield crude oils from which a com-
paratively small proportion of lighter products are
obtainable. The crudes of Mexico and Persia, the two
younger and most prolific fields, fall under a similar cate-
gory ; they are essentially fuel oil petroleums. When,
therefore, we hear alarmist reports of the possible
shortage of supply, it is apparent that no discrimination
has been exercised in studying the question, for a
comprehensive survey of the position, of the unexplored
and unexploited lands, of the possible extension of
developed areas as well as of the potentialities of fields
now producing, leads one to the belief that the oil



INTRODUCTION 9

deposits of the world have not as yet reached anything
like their capacity of output. If these critics asserted
that the deposits of crude, from which a large per-
centage of the lighter products were obtainable, were
showing signs of exhaustion, they would have a certain
amount of evidence on their side ; but to bulk the whole
oil resources of the world together, irrespective of
description, not only is erroneous but displays an entire
ignorance of the subject. For after all it is the deposits
of crude oil which are the essential factor, and these are
still in their infancy from the production point of view.
An illuminating fact on this aspect of the matter is
that of the oil lands of Mexico, which cover an area of
230,000 square miles, only 800 square miles having been
exploited at the present time. Similar conditions
prevail in other fields, though not in many cases to the
same degree, but it may be asserted that there exists
as good ground for a belief in the unreliability of coal
supplies as for the uncertainty of oil supplies. It may
also be contended that the wastage accompanying the
working and distribution, apart from the actual burning
under boilers, of the former is equally as great as the
latter. Furthermore, the methods of winning, raising
and transport of petroleum appear to offer greater
possibilities of economy than those associated with coal,
and many improvements have been introduced during
the last ten or fifteen years which have undoubtedly
conserved the oil resources of the world to a considerable
extent. This movement is still in progress and methods
will continue to improve, eliminating still further the
wastage attending the production, transport and
storage of oil.

A highly important experiment has been carried out
in the oil fields of Pechelbronn, which may open up great
possibilities in the direction of increasing the supplies



10 OIL POWER

of the world's oil resources. The process consists of
driving galleries into an oil bed, which has been exhausted
by borings. The originator of this, M. Paul de Cham-
brier, contends that the quantity of oil remaining in the
bed after exhaustion by boring is still so large that it
is a waste of this material not to endeavour to extract
it by more modern means. This is probably true,
and was indeed, proved at Pechelbronn, but whether
this method can be applied in other fields has been
questioned by many high authorities. If, however,
it could be applied successfully, the value of such a
process would be inestimable.



CHAPTER II



THE HOME PRODUCTION OF FUEL OILS

A STUDY of the fuel question of this country would not
be complete did it not embrace a review of the possi-
bilities of producing petroleums within its own borders.
The conditions which now govern the supply of fuel
in the United Kingdom, and the increasing use of oil
for power purposes, bring coal and oil into vital jux-
taposition. The prices of these two fuels have, indeed,
drawn so close together, that there is only one factor
which stands out in favour of coal, and that is a geo-


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