PETROLEUM CONSERVATION : A CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY.
The use of available energy, is what has set man at the top of the animal world. First, he used wood to light fires to keep beasts away. As his society became more complex, he found new sources of energy and new uses for it. He used coal extensively. Then in the thirteenth century the fuel of his dream was discovered. Petroleum was discovered in present day Iran. Since its discovery, petroleum has become the most ubiquitous fuel. It will not be wrong to say that today the earth 'runs' on petroleum. Like Hercules of yore, it carries the world on its back. .
Yet the lifeblood of modern economy, is drying up. By 2,200 a.d all the recoverable petroleum will be used up. Two hundred years might seem like a long time, but its economic consequences are already being felt. Countries that have a large store of this valuable resource, guard it like Cerebrus. It has been known since 1973, when petroleum was used for the first time as a political weapon, that petroleum is a weapon more potent than nuclear weapons. Since 1973 there has been an exponential increase in petroleum price in the global market. Unfortunately, India is largely dependent on imported petroleum to meet her needs. This is a huge burden on Indian economy. Indian economy cannot survive this stress for long. In this context the need for petroleum conservation should be evident to all.
Today India, and to take the wider view, the world faces a challenge. A challenge greater than any other challenges it has faced since civilisation began. Since the industrial revolution, the world has undergone an endemic "petroleumisation". The industry uses petroleum derivatives as its primary fuel. To understand the magnitude of the problem, one simple fact is sufficient. More than ninety-eight percent of the transportation sector, use petroleum as its basic fuel. Today we are faced with challenge, on one hand to reduce petroleum consumption, and on the other hand to slowly replace petroleum with a nonpolluting and renewable source of energy.