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Petroleum and Its Origin

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Petroleum and Its Origin

Petroleum (derived from Latin petra - rock + Latin oleum – oil) is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid found in rock formations in the Earth consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, plus other organic compounds.Thus, it is a long complex chain of hydrocarbons which carries a mixture of around 500 chemical compounds.Petroleum is often called as oil. Oil can be as thick as tar or can be as thin as water.

HISTORY:-

Petroleum, in some form or other, is not a substance new in the world's history. The earliest known oil wells were drilled in China in 347 BC or earlier. They had depths of up to about 800 feet (240 m) and were drilled using bits attached to bamboo poles.The oil was burned to evaporate brine and produce salt. In the 9th century, oil fields were exploited in the area around modern Baku, Azerbaijan, to produce naphtha. The modern history of petroleum began in 1846 with the discovery of the process of refining kerosene from coal by Nova Scotian Abraham Pineo Gesner. In 1854, Benjamin Silliman, a science professor at Yale University in New Haven, was the first to fractionate petroleum by distillation. These discoveries rapidly spread around the world, and Meerzoeff built the first Russian refinery in the mature oil fields at Baku in 1861. At that time Baku produced about 90% of the world's oil.

The first commercial oil well drilled in Romania in 1857 at Bend, North of Bucharest. The first oil well in North America was in Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada in 1858, dug by James Miller Williams. The petroleum industry grew through the 1800s, driven by the demand for kerosene and oil lamps. It became a major national concern in the early part of the 20th century; the introduction of the internal combustion engine provided a demand that has largely sustained the industry to this day. Even until the mid-1950s, coal was still the world's foremost fuel, but oil quickly took over. Following the 1973 energy crisis and the 1979 energy crisis, there was significant media coverage of oil supply levels. This brought to light the concern that oil is a limited resource that will eventually run out, at least as an economically viable energy source. Petroleum's worth as a portable, dense energy source powering the vast majority of vehicles and as the base of many industrial chemicals makes it one of the world's most important commodities
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