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What’s Made from a Barrel of Oil?

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Infographic: What's Made from a Barrel of Oil?

What Products Are Made from a Barrel of Oil?

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From the gasoline in our cars to the plastic in countless everyday items, crude oil is an essential raw material that shows up everywhere in our lives.

With around 18 million barrels of crude oil consumed every day just in America, this commodity powers transport, utilities, and is a vital ingredient in many of the things we use on a daily basis.

This graphic visualizes how much crude oil is refined into various finished products, using a barrel of oil to represent the proportional breakdown.

Barrel of Oil to Functional Fuel and More

Crude oil is primarily refined into various types of fuels to power transport and vital utilities. More than 85% of crude oil is refined into fuels like gasoline, diesel, and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) like propane and butane.

Along with being fuels for transportation, heating, and cooking, HGLs are used as feedstock for the production of chemicals, plastics, and synthetic rubber, and as additives for motor gasoline production.

Refined Crude Oil Product Share of Crude Oil Refined
Gasoline 42.7%
Diesel 27.4%
Jet fuel 5.8%
Heavy fuel 5.0%
Asphalt 4.0%
Light fuel 3.0%
Hydrocarbon gas liquids 2.0%
Other 10.1%

Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Crude oil not only powers our vehicles, but it also helps pave the roads we drive on. About 4% of refined crude oil becomes asphalt, which is used to make concrete and different kinds of sealing and insulation products.

Although transportation and utility fuels dominate a large proportion of refined products, essential everyday materials like wax and plastic are also dependent on crude oil. With about 10% of refined products used to make plastics, cosmetics, and textiles, a barrel of crude oil can produce a variety of unexpected everyday products.

Personal care products like cosmetics and shampoo are made using petroleum products, as are medical supplies like IV bags and pharmaceuticals. Modern life would look very different without crude oil.

The Process of Refining Crude Oil

You might have noticed that while a barrel of oil contains 42 gallons, it ends up producing 45 gallons of refined products. This is because the majority of refined products have a lower density than crude oil, resulting in an increase in volume that is called processing gain.

Along with this, there are other inputs aside from crude oil that are used in the refining process. While crude oil is the primary input, fuel ethanol, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and other blending liquids are also used.

U.S. Refiner and Blender Inputs Share of Total
Crude oil 85.4%
Fuel ethanol 4.8%
Blending components 3.5%
Hydrocarbon gas liquids 3.0%
Other liquids 3.3%

Source: EIA

The process of refining a 30,000-barrel batch of crude oil typically takes between 12-24 hours, with refineries operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Although the proportions of individual refined products can vary depending on market demand and other factors, the majority of crude oil will continue to become fuel for the world’s transport and utilities.

The Difficulty of Cutting Down on Crude Oil

From the burning of heavy fuels that tarnish icebergs found in Arctic waters to the mounds of plastic made with petrochemicals that end up in our rivers, each barrel of oil and its refined products impact our environment in many different ways.

But even as the world works to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels in order to reach climate goals, a world without crude oil seems unfathomable.

Skyrocketing sales of EVs still haven’t managed to curb petroleum consumption in places like Norway, California, and China, and the steady reopening of travel and the economy will only result in increased petroleum consumption.

Completely replacing the multi-faceted “black gold” that’s in a barrel of oil isn’t possible right now, but as electrification continues and we find alternatives to petrochemical materials, humanity might at least manage to reduce its dependence on burning fossil fuels.

The post What’s Made from a Barrel of Oil? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.


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The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade

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Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade

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How is the Job Market Shifting Over the Next Decade?

The employment landscape is constantly shifting. While agricultural jobs played a big role in the 19th century, a large portion of U.S. jobs today are in administration, sales, or transportation. So how can job seekers identify the fastest growing jobs of the future?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there will be 11.9 million new jobs created from 2020 to 2030, an overall growth rate of 7.7%. However, some jobs have a growth rate that far exceeds this level. In this graphic, we use BLS data to show the fastest growing jobs—and fastest declining jobs—and how much they each pay.

The Top 20 Fastest Growing Jobs

We used the dataset that excludes occupations with above average cyclical recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, jobs such as motion picture projectionists, ticket takers, and restaurant cooks were removed. Once these exclusions were made, the resulting list reflects long-term structural growth.

Here are the fastest growing jobs from 2020 to 2030, along with the number of jobs that will be created and the median pay for the position.

Occupation Percent employment change, 2020–2030P Numeric employment change, 2020-2030P Median annual wage, 2020
Wind turbine service technicians 68.2% 4,700 $56,230
Nurse practitioners 52.2% 114,900 $111,680
Solar photovoltaic installers 52.1% 6,100 $46,470
Statisticians 35.4% 14,900 $92,270
Physical therapist assistants 35.4% 33,200 $59,770
Information security analysts 33.3% 47,100 $103,590
Home health and personal care aides 32.6% 1,129,900 $27,080
Medical and health services managers 32.5% 139,600 $104,280
Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other 31.4% 19,800 $98,230
Physician assistants 31.0% 40,100 $115,390
Epidemiologists 29.6% 2,300 $74,560
Logisticians 29.5% 56,400 $76,270
Speech-language pathologists 28.7% 45,400 $80,480
Animal trainers 28.5% 17,200 $31,520
Computer numerically controlled tool programmers 27.4% 7,400 $57,740
Genetic counselors 26.2% 600 $85,700
Crematory operators and personal care and service workers, all other 24.8% 19,900 $28,420
Operations research analysts 24.6% 25,600 $86,200
Actuaries 24.5% 6,800 $111,030
Health specialties teachers, post-secondary 24.3% 58,900 $99,090

Wind turbine service technicians have the fastest growth rate, with solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installers taking the third slot. The rapid growth is driven by demand for renewable energy. However, because these are relatively small occupations, the two roles will account for about 11,000 new jobs collectively.

Nine of the top 20 fastest growing jobs are in healthcare or related fields, as the baby boomer population ages and chronic conditions are on the rise. Home health and personal care aides, who assist with routine healthcare tasks such as bathing and feeding, will account for over one million new jobs in the next decade. This will be almost 10% of all new jobs created between 2020 and 2030. Unfortunately, these workers are the lowest paid on the list.

Computer and math-related jobs are also expected to see high growth. The BLS expects strong demand for IT security and software development, partly because of the increase in people that are working from home.

The Top 20 Fastest Declining Jobs

Structural changes in the economy will cause some jobs to decline quite quickly. Here are the top 20 jobs where employment is expected to decline the fastest over the next decade.

Occupation Percent employment change, 2020–2030P Numeric employment change, 2020-2030P Median annual wage, 2020
Word processors and typists -36.0% -16,300 $41,050
Parking enforcement workers -35.0% -2,800 $42,070
Nuclear power reactor operators -32.9% -1,800 $104,040
Cutters and trimmers, hand -29.7% -2,400 $31,630
Telephone operators -25.4% -1,200 $37,710
Watch and clock repairers -24.9% -700 $45,290
Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers -24.1% -13,000 $29,730
Switchboard operators, including answering service -22.7% -13,600 $31,430
Data entry keyers -22.5% -35,600 $34,440
Shoe machine operators and tenders -21.6% -1,100 $30,630
Legal secretaries and administrative assistants -21.0% -33,600 $48,980
Floral designers -20.1% -8,500 $29,140
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants -18.7% -100,600 $63,110
Manufactured building and mobile home installers -18.4% -600 $35,120
Telemarketers -18.3% -21,900 $27,920
Order clerks -18.2% -24,400 $35,590
Timing device assemblers and adjusters -17.8% -200 $36,170
Print binding and finishing workers -17.5% -7,300 $34,260
Prepress technicians and workers -17.1% -4,800 $41,410
Tellers -16.9% -73,100 $32,620

Eight of the top 20 declining jobs are in office and administrative support. This could be cause for concern, given this category currently makes up almost 13% of employment in the U.S.—the largest of any major category. Jobs involved in the production of goods and services, as well as sales jobs, are also seeing declines.

In all cases, automation is likely the biggest culprit. For example, software that automatically converts audio to text will reduce the need for typists.

While the fastest declining jobs typically fall within the lower salary range, there is one outlier. Nuclear power reactor operators, who earn a salary of over $100,000, will see employment decline at a steep rate of -33%. No new nuclear plants have opened since the 1990s, and nuclear power faces steep competition from renewable energy sources.

Warning: Education Required

As the composition of employment shifts, it eliminates some jobs and creates others. For instance, while production jobs are declining, new opportunities exist for “computer numerically controlled tool programmers.” These workers develop programs to control the automated equipment that processes materials.

However, while many of the fastest growing jobs are higher paying, they typically also require advanced education.

  Top 20 Fastest Growing Jobs Top 20 Fastest Declining Jobs
# with median salary > $41,950 17 5
# with post-secondary education required  16 0

Seventeen of the top 20 fastest growing jobs have a median salary higher than $41,950, which is the median salary for all jobs in total. Most also require post-secondary schooling. These opportunities are replacing jobs that only required a high school diploma.

With tuition costs soaring relative to inflation, this could create challenges for displaced workers or young people entering the workforce.

The post The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade appeared first on Visual Capitalist.


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The History of the Abitibi Gold Belt

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The following content is sponsored by the Clarity Gold

The Abitibi: Canada’s Golden Powerhouse

At the heart of Canada lies a greenstone belt that has provided the nation with more than 90% of its gold production. With more than 100 years of gold discovery in the Abitibi region located between Québec and Ontario, this area was the kiln that helped forge the Canadian mining industry.

Ever since the discovery of gold at Lac Fortune in 1906, the Abitibi has grown to become one of the world’s most prolific gold mining regions, and has produced over 190 million ounces of gold.

This graphic sponsored by Clarity Gold maps the history of gold discovery in the Abitibi and showcases the region’s overburden thickness. With a history of prolific discovery and production, there’s still plenty to explore under the Abitibi’s areas of thick overburden.

A Timeline of Gold Discovery in the Abitibi

Canada, known more for beaver pelts and timber, did not reveal its riches immediately. There were only a handful of gold discoveries in its early history. Gold was first discovered in 1823, on the shores of Rivière Chaudière in Québec, further east of the region known as the Abitibi today.

But as settlers spread west, gold surfaced in British Columbia and the Yukon in the late 1800s, kicking off the Cariboo and Klondike gold rushes. It wasn’t until the 1900s that gold was found in the Abitibi greenstone belt, marking the beginning of the modern era for the Canadian mining industry.

First Discovery and the Porcupine Gold Rush

Gold within the Abitibi was first discovered on the shores of Lac Fortune in 1906, by Alphonse Olier and Auguste Renault. This first discovery was notable, but didn’t result in an immediate gold rush and mine development in the region.

Instead, it was a gold discovery in 1909 further west that kicked off what would be known as the Porcupine Gold Rush in Northern Ontario. The dome-shaped rock where the gold vein was discovered was developed into the Dome mine, which grew to become one of the three historic mines in the Timmins area.

Along with the establishment of the Dome mine, this gold rush also saw the development of the Hollinger and McIntyre mines which were both producing gold by 1912. These three mines have served as powerhouses of Canadian gold production for decades, delivering more than 45 million ounces of gold collectively.

Mine Gold Produced
Dome Mine 17M oz
Hollinger Mine 19.5M oz
McIntyre Mine 10.8M oz

Source: Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry

This first gold rush was just the beginning of the Abitibi region’s mining boom, with other discoveries on the Quebec side of the region also being developed around the same time.

The Mining Boom on the Cadillac Fault

As the Dome, Hollinger, and McIntyre mines were being developed and started producing gold, another key gold discovery occurred in the Malartic-Val d’Or region. This discovery by J.J. Sullivan and Hertel Authier wasn’t quite enough for mine development to begin right away, but further discoveries in the surrounding areas were highlighting the golden exploration potential of the Abitibi region.

In 1922, Edmund Horne discovered a gold deposit near Osisko Lake, not far from the first gold discovery by Lac Fortune with Tom Powel discovering a rich gold vein nearby the same year. A third gold discovery in 1923 in the Malartic area by the Gouldie brothers marked the beginning of a mining development boom all along the Cadillac fault where these discoveries were occurring.

Over the next two decades, the fault saw hundreds of mining claims every year, with the towns of Rouyn, Noranda, Cadillac, and Malartic all growing alongside mine development and production. By 1931, Rouyn and Noranda had become the second and third most cosmopolitan cities in Quebec after Montreal, with gold mines bringing waves of workers and explorers.

Leaps in Gold Exploration Technology

Over the following decades, technological advances in transportation and deposit detection have allowed gold discovery and development to flourish in the Abitibi region. Aerial detection methods helped identify new deposits, and the development of Canada’s sprawling railway systems allowed for easier access and transportation of materials and people.

These advances resulted in the discovery of the Detour Lake deposit along with discoveries that would go on to become the Ansil, Doyon, and Louvicourt mines. Today, historic mines born from decade-old discoveries like Detour Lake and the Malartic mine are still producing gold.

Across the many different mining camps, the Abitibi region has produced more than 190 million ounces of gold and counting today.

Mining Camp Gold Produced
Timmins 76.6M oz
Kirkland Lake 46.8M oz
Doyon-Bousquet-LaRonde 25M oz
Rouyn-Noranda 19.5M oz
Val D’Or 18.4M oz
Malartic 10.5M oz
Holloway-McDermott 3.8M oz
Chibougamau 3.2M oz
Detour Lake 3M oz
Casa Berardi 3M oz
Beattie and Donchester 1.5M oz

Sources: MNDM Statistics, Kirkland Lake Gold, CBay Minerals, Agnico Eagle, Hecla Mining Company, Midland Exploration

The Abitibi’s Golden Geology and Undiscovered Future

The Abitibi’s storied history of gold discovery and production stems from its 2.6 billion year old greenstone belt, the defining geological factor of the region. Greenstone belts are ancient terrain formed by volcanic flows alongside sedimentary rocks that often contain orebodies of gold, copper, silver, lead, and zinc.

Formed over millions of years, greenstone belts begin with the rising of lava and magma through crustal faults that fill a variety of basins across the region. Over extended time, erosion and plate tectonics resulted in high amounts of pressure and heat compressing layers of greenstone rock and gold-bearing volcanic flows to form orebodies of gold and other minerals.

Covering the greenstone belt and its golden deposits is a layer of overburden, topsoil that can range from 1-20 meters of depth. Many of the early discoveries were located near to the surface, leaving further gold potential at depth to future generations.

While many of the areas with thin overburden have been heavily explored and developed, explorers in the region like Clarity Gold are working to discover the gold deposits that lie further underneath thick layers of overburden.

The post The History of the Abitibi Gold Belt appeared first on Visual Capitalist.


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All World Languages in One Visualization

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This infographic was originally published in scmp.com


Infographic: A World of Languages

All World Languages, By Native Speakers

View a high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

Languages provide a window into culture and history. They’re also a unique way to map the world – not through landmasses or geopolitical borders, but through mother tongues.

The Tower of Babel

Today’s infographic from Alberto Lucas Lopez condenses the 7,102 known living languages today into a stunning visualization, with individual colors representing each world region.

Only 23 languages are spoken by at least 50 million native speakers. What’s more, over half the planet speaks at least one of these 23 languages.

Chinese dominates as a macrolanguage, but it’s important to note that it consists of numerous languages. Mandarin, Yue (including Cantonese), Min, Wu, and Hakka cover over 200 individual dialects, which vary further by geographic location.

Country Native Chinese speakers (millions)
🇨🇳 China 1,152.0
🇹🇼 Taiwan 21.8
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR 6.5
🇲🇾 Malaysia 5.1
🇸🇬 Singapore 1.8
🇹🇭 Thailand 1.2
🇻🇳 Vietnam 0.9
🇵🇭 Philippines 0.7
🇲🇲 Myanmar 0.5
🇲🇴 Macau SAR 0.5
Other 6.0
Total 1,197 million

Chinese is one of the most challenging languages for English speakers to pick up, in part due its completely unfamiliar scripts. You’d have to know at least 3,000 characters to be able to read a newspaper, a far cry from memorizing the A-Z alphabet.

Spanglish Takes Over

After Chinese, the languages of Spanish and English sit in second and third place in terms of global popularity. The rapid proliferation of these languages can be traced back to the history of Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, and British colonies around the world.

Animation: Map of Colonization (1492 – 2008):
Colonization Map

Today, Spanish has 399 million native speakers, but these are mostly concentrated in Latin America. English has 335 million native speakers under its belt, with a widespread reach all over the globe.

Two Worlds, One Family

While the visualization makes all the world languages seem disparate, this linguistic family tree shows how they grew from a common root. It also explains how languages can evolve and branch out over time.

Language Tree

Created by Minna Sundberg. Full version.

This linguistic tree also includes many languages that are not on the large visualization of 23 mother tongues. Some of them might be considered endangered or at risk today, such as Catalan or Welsh. However, with globalization, a few interesting linguistic trends are arising.

1. Language revival
Certain enclaves of marginalized languages are being preserved out of pride for the traditional and cultural histories attached.

While Catalan was once banned, its rebirth is a key marker of identity in Barcelona. More than 150 universities teach Catalan worldwide. In the case of Welsh, a mammoth university project plans to make sure it does not die out. Researchers are compiling ten million Welsh words to preserve the past, present, and future of the language.

2. Language forecast
At this point in time, English is the lingua franca – adopted as a common language among speakers with different mother tongues. However, this status might soon be fuzzier as demographic trends continue.

The rise of China is an obvious one to consider. As China continues to increase its economic might and influence, its languages will proliferate as well.

At the same time, 26 African countries are projected to double their current size, many of which speak French as a first language. One study by investment bank Natixis suggests that Africa’s growth may well bring French to the forefront – making it the most-spoken language by 2050.

Could French provide a certain je ne sais quoi that no other world language can quite replace?

This post was first published in 2018. We have since updated it, adding in new content for 2021.

The post All World Languages in One Visualization appeared first on Visual Capitalist.


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Visualizing the Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season

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Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Briefing

  • Storms are categorized by their wind speed. Any storm with winds stronger than 111 miles per hour (mph) is considered a major hurricane
  • This year’s Hurricane Ida is one of the strongest hurricanes on record to hit the U.S. mainland, with winds reaching up to 150 mph

Explained: The Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season

On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida hurled into the state of Louisiana at rapid speed. With winds of 150 mph, preliminary reports believe it’s the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland.

As research shows, Hurricane Ida’s impact hit right at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Here’s a brief explainer on the basics of hurricanes, how storms are classified, and what a typical storm season looks like in the Atlantic Basin.

Let’s dive in.

Classifying a Storm

Hurricanes are intense tropical storms that are classified by their wind speed. What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone? They’re essentially the same thing, but are named differently based on their location:

  • Hurricane is used for storms that formed in the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific (impacting countries like the U.S.)
  • Typhoon is used for storms in the Northwest Pacific (impacting countries like Japan)
  • Tropical Cyclone is used for storms in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean (impacting countries like Fiji and India)

Since we’re focusing on the Atlantic, we’ll be using the term hurricane and/or storm throughout the rest of this article.

A storm needs to reach a certain wind speed before it gets classified as a hurricane. Storms with wind speeds of:

  • Tropical Storms
  • 74-110 mph winds are considered Hurricanes
  • 111 mph+ winds are considered Major Hurricanes

Breaking Down the Atlantic Hurricane Season

Generally, Hurricanes form in the warm ocean waters in the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, following westward trade winds and curving up towards the North American mainland. Hurricanes are formed when these specific elements come into play:

  • A pre-existing weather disturbance such as a tropical wave
  • Water at least 80ºF (27ºC) with a depth of at least 50 meters
  • Thunderstorm activity
  • Low wind shear (too much wind can remove the heat and moisture hurricanes use for fuel)

The Atlantic hurricane season technically lasts six months, beginning on June 1st and ending in late November. However, 85% of activity happens between August, September, and October.

Each subregion in the Atlantic has its own unique climatology, which means peak seasons can vary from place to place—for example, south Florida sees the most hurricanes in October, while the entire Atlantic Basin’s peak season is early-to-mid September.

Climate Change and Hurricanes

According to the Center of Climate Change and Energy Solutions, it’s unclear whether climate change will increase the number of hurricanes per year.

However, research indicates that warmer weather and high ocean temperatures will most likely lead to more intense storms, ultimately causing more damage and devastation.

» Want to learn more about climate change? Here’s an article on The Paris Agreement: Is The World’s Climate Action Plan on Track?

Where does this data come from?

Source:Brian McNoldy, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

The post Visualizing the Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season appeared first on Visual Capitalist.


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