Petroleum, along with oil and coal, is classified as a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are
formed when sea plants and animals die, and the remains become buried under
several thousand feet of silt, sand or mud. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form
and therefore petroleum is also considered to be a non-renewable energy source.
Petroleum is formed by hydrocarbons (a hydrocarbon is a compound made up
of carbon and hydrogen) with the addition of certain other substances, primarily
sulfur. Petroleum in its natural form when first collected is usually named crude oil,
and can be clear, green or black and may be either thin like gasoline or thick like tar.
Originally the primary use of petroleum was as a lighting fuel, once it had been
distilled and turned into kerosene. When Edison opened the world’s first electricity
generating plant in 1882 the demand for kerosene began to drop.
World War I was the real catalyst for petroleum production, with more petroleum
being produced throughout the war than had ever been produced previously. In
modern times petroleum is viewed as a valuable commodity, traded around the world in the same way as gold and diamonds.
Most people tend to believe that petroleum is mostly
used to power internal combustion engines in the
form of gasoline or
petrol. Although our
automobiles and other
forms of transport do
consume the highest
quantity of petroleum it
is used for a vast array of
In its thickest form, the
almost black petroleum
is named bitumen, this
is used for paving road,
forming the blacktop, it is
also excellent water repellent and is used in roofing.
Petroleum is also a major part of the chemical makeup of
many plastics and synthetics. Possibly the most startling usage of petroleum for many people is its appearance
in foodstuffs such as beer and in medications such as
The world has a limited supply of petroleum, and current
estimations tell us that within the next few decades
mankind will have completely depleted this valuable
natural resource. Although measures have been taken
to ensure that there are cheap, renewable fuel options in
place for the eventuality it is still obvious that mankind
faces a serious problem when petroleum supplies finally
Top uses of Petrol
• BUNKER FUEL Bunker fuel, which is also known as
heavy oil, is used to power ships. It typically contains
a high number of pollutants and contaminants. Use
is increasing with the shipping associated with global
• DETERGENT All soap less detergents used to wash
clothes and dishes are derived from the petrochemical
• PLASTICS All plastic, unless it is “bioplastic”, is made
from petrochemicals. Every product made from or
containing plastic is a product that exists only through
the distillation of petroleum.
• JET FUEL The standard type of jet fuel, Jet A, is a
petroleum product with a number of additives to
prevent sparking, gumming, corrosion, and icing.
• DIESEL FUEL Diesel, unless it is “biodiesel”, is made from
refining crude oil. It is generally used in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles requiring a great deal of power
and torque, like garbage trucks, road equipment,
buses, and trains.
• HEATING OIL - Heating oil is a petroleum product
used to fuel furnaces or boilers. In the U.S., most
heating oil is consumed in the northeast.
• SYNTHETIC RUBBER- Synthetic rubber is used for
car tires and rubber soles on shoes. The demand for
synthetic rubber is four times greater than that for
• SYNTHETIC FIBERS- Polyester, nylon, and acrylic
are all derived from petrochemicals. They are used
for curtains, carpets, rope and even our everyday
• FERTILIZERS & PESTICIDES- All major commercial
fertilizers are ammonia based, made from natural
gas, and most commercial pesticides come from oil.
• PAINT -Plastic and oil based paints, as well as paint
additives, are manufactured from petrochemicals.
• GASOLINE- Gasoline is the most commonly used product by Americans for their day to day transportation needs.
45% of all oil used in the U.S. goes to gasoline, which means we consume in excess of 180 million gallons of
gasoline a day.
• PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM – Petrochemical ethylene is what is used in photographic film.
• FOOD ADDITIVES – The shelf life of canned foods can be increased by food additives, derived from petrochemicals.
• MAKE UP – Make-up’s that contain oils, perfumes, waxes and color, are derived from petrochemicals.
• MEDICINE – Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), the active ingredient in many pain reliever medicines, is manufactured from
• CANDLES – Wax is a raw petroleum product.
The less Sulphur, the better, 0.05% is the
super quality for vehicles, etc., while
other qualities are for generators, power