Friday, February 12, 2016

How two inventions made Middle East rich

Some of the biggest requirements for human beings are transport, electricity and plastics. In ancient times horses did the job of transportation also electricity and plastics did not exist. However with horses the speed of transportation was slow. Humanity needed a faster means of transport.

The field of transportation changed with the invention of the external combustion engine or the Steam Engine by James Watt. The steam engine not only brought railways to the world but it also drove the machinery during the industrial revolution.

However the steam engine was not very efficient. It had an efficiency of around 10%, which meant a large amount of coal was required to generate very little electricity. The external combustion engine working on steam were very heavy.

The existence of petroleum was known for a long time. However during the industrial revolution the process of distillation of petroleum into different constituent compounds was developed.

In the 1860s for the first the internal combustion engine came into existence. The internal combustion engine ran on diesel or petrol(for US readers gasoline). It was far more efficient as compared to the steam engines and it was much lighter as well.

The internal combustion engine became the engine that drove automobiles on road. The horse carraiges were now replaced by cars, buses and motorcycle. Also generators running on internal combustion engines were used to provide electricity at various places.

Plastics and other synthetic materials made from petroleum were discovered and its uses increased. Plastics provided an economical replacement to goods made from metals and wood.

The demand of petroleum increased due to the increase in use of internal combustion engine and plastics . More and more oil wells were dug up across the globe but the demand kept increasing.

The middle east comprising of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran etc are countries located in a part of the world that is all desert. Hardly any vegetation grew here. But once upon a time, a few million years ago these area were under sea. Hence for a long period of time fossils of aquatic animals were under the land under high pressure which lead to the formation of massive amounts of petroleum.

As oil was discovered in this areas. Countries around the world made a beeline to buy oil from this nations. Since petroleum in this countries were in plenty they simply sold the oil and became rich. This is the secret behind the wealth of Arab nations.

It is not a wealth that they have generated by their hard work, but it is due to the hard work of the researchers who invented the internal combustion engine, plastics and other synthetic products - that can be made economically from petroleum.

The various buildings you see in Jeddah, Dubai or Doha are made by European or US companies. Most of the infrastructure is built by companies from US and Europe. The Shaikhs only gave their approvals to the designs and plans. Without oil this nations don't have any value at all.

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