Related Terms
Literally 'rock oil,' it is a general term for crude oil and natural gas. Primary source of automotive fuels and lubricant oils, petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and paraffins in some areas, and aromatics and cyclo-paraffins in other areas. Thought to have been formed from decomposition of animal and vegetable life under heat and pressure during geologic periods, it occurs usually in deep rock strata but sometimes near to the surface. When 'cracked' and refined, it produces hundreds of petrochemicals that are converted into tens of thousands of products, with new ones appearing continually.
Crude petroleum (crude oil) contains about 80 percent carbon compounds, 11 percent hydrogen, and 1 to 2 percent of nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. In most oil fields, oil and natural gas occur together, gas being the top layer on crude oil under which may lie water. One barrel of petroleum equals 5604 cubic-feet of natural gas, 1.45 barrels of liquefied natural gas (LNG), or about one barrel of gas oil. Called also crude oil or mineral oil.

Use 'petroleum' in a Sentence

The petroleum was spilling into the ocean at an alarming rate and there were many countries that were trying everything they could to stop the spill from damaging anymore of their coastlines.
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If you are driving your car the main fuel that you will use is petroleum. It is what gives your car the power to operate.
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The new technology allowed for petroleum to be refined more quickly and cleanly, and therefore the new method was quickly adopted by all major exporters.
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