Meaning of Petroleum

The word ‘Petroleum’ comes from the Greeks. ‘Petro’ means rock and ‘Oleum’ means oil.
Definition: Petroleum is a substance occurring naturally in the earth in solid, liquid, or gaseous
state and composed mainly of mixtures of chemical compounds of carbon and hydrogen, with or
without non-metallic elements such as sulfur, oxygen and nitrogen.

Petroleum is the end product of the partial decay of living organisms which once inhabited the
world’s oceans. As they died, they sank to the bottom of the oceans where they were preserved.
It exists in the form of crude oil, natural gas or solid material.

Petroleum is therefore, a blanket term that covers all the naturally occurring hydrocarbons such
as gas, crude oil and other solid substances. Petroleum has a lot of energy. For example, Light
Crude Oil (LCO) in electric power generation, fuel for cars, etc. We can turn it into different
fuels—like gasoline, kerosene, and heating oil.
Plastics, fertilizers, etc are made from petroleum, too.

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