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Название: Fossil hydrocarbons: chemistry and technology
Автор: Berkowitz N.
The decade of 1973-1983, in which most of the Western world moved from
economic turmoil and panic created by an oil crisis to blissfully "putting it all
behind us", illustrates how easily we persuade ourselves to forget what should
have taught us a profound lesson~and how cavalierly we face the need to
secure long-term supplies of liquid fuels.
The oil crisis abated not because of how we responded to it, but because
the major Middle East oil producers raised output in expectation of recouping
revenues that had fallen victim to the Iraq-Iran war. This generated an oil
glut that halved crude oil prices and allowed us to return to the status quo
ante. Laissez-faire economic policies once again allowed profligate use and/or
export of diminishing indigenous reserves of gas and conventional oil. Alternative
sources~the heavy fossil hydrocarbons that could help us to attain reasonable
energy self-sufficiency~were once again consigned to the dim recesses
of our collective minds. Research and development, which outlined and sometimes
defined the new technologies through which self-sufficiency could be
achieved, was abruptly discontinued. And development of future crude oil
supplies once again became centered on distant sources over which we have
little, if any, control. All this occurred, despite the demonstration by major
commercial ventures (in particular, South Africa's coal-based SASOL complexes
and production of "synthetic" light crudes from Alberta's oil sands) of what
is technically possible and could be competitively accomplished.