Crude oil

Vector isometric low poly oil pumpjack extracting oil. Illustration includes pumpjack, oil tank and ground cross section

 

Petroleum (L. petroleum, from early 15c. “petroleum, rock oil” (mid-14c. in Anglo-French), from Medieval Latin petroleum, from Latin petra rock (see petrous) + oil (see oil (n.)).) is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface, which is commonly refined into various types of fuels.

It consists of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other organic compounds.

The name petroleum covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oil and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil.

A fossil fuel, petroleum is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, usually zooplankton and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and subjected to intense heat and pressure.

Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling (natural petroleum springs are rare).

This comes after the studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterization (mainly in terms of the porosity and permeability of geologic reservoir structures).

It is refined and separated, most easily by distillation, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline (petrol) and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals.

Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials, and it is estimated that the world consumes about 90 million barrels each day.

Concern over the depletion of the earth’s finite reserves of oil, and the effect this would have on a society dependent on it, is a concept known as peak oil.

The use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, has a negative impact on Earth’s biosphere, damaging ecosystems through events such as oil spills and releasing a range of pollutants into the air including ground-level ozone and sulfur dioxide from sulfur impurities in fossil fuels.