What is Crude Oil? History, How Petroleum Products are Extracted from Crude Oil, Major Oil Producing Countries

Crude Oil

Crude Oil Introduction

One of the most important fossil fuels in the world is crude oil, it is also known as black gold. Coal is very abundantly available on the planet hence it’s not as costly as oil. Petroleum is not available everywhere. Today’s article will talk about Crude oil, its extraction, and major oil-producing countries.

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Crude Oil

What is Crude Oil?

Crude oil is a combination of organic materials and hydrocarbons. It formed underneath the earth when dead organisms were under high pressure and heat for thousands of years. As the name suggests crude means raw which is not refined hence crude oil is not processed oil. Crude oil is obtained through drilling processes. Crude oil is a type of fossil fuel that is refined to give many beneficial products like diesel, petrol, heating oil, kerosene, LPG, etc. Crude oil has also an unofficial name called black gold. 

History of Black Gold

History of Crude Oil:

It’s interesting to know how Cude oil In the 20th century, made the economy largely dependent on it. Although very few countries have control over large reservoirs. Previously crude oil was used in many countries such as China, Persia, France, etc. but none marked any significant milestone.

  •  The early crude oil industry started to surge in the 18th century
  • The industrial revolution marked the actual use of Crude oil from where the world knew the actual power of Oil.
  • In 1837 oil refinery was established commercially in Baku. Since its importance grew other countries followed the suit like Poland, Romani, Canada, the U.S.A, etc.
  • In 1848, A chemist set up a small business refining crude oil.
  • In 1856, the first oil refinery was established.
  • The world’s first modern oil well was drilled in 1854.
  • Oil demand was fueled by world wars. Oil prices surged.
  • From around $0.49 per barrel to $6.59 per barrel, prices grew dramatically in Pennsylvania. It was producing half of the world’s oil.
  • The United States was one of the major oil producers in the late nineteenth century.
  • The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of countries that are major oil exporters. It was created in 1960 to assist in the supply of oil to countries in need.
  • The advent of new technologies reduced OPEC’s role and influence significantly.
  • Petroleum is a portable, dense energy source that drives the vast majority of vehicles and is the base for many industrial chemicals, making it one of the world’s most valuable commodities. The top three oil producers currently are Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States.
Crude Oil Industry
Image Source- Adobe Stock

How Petroleum Products are Extracted from Crude Oil

Extracting petroleum products from crude oil is a technical and lengthy process, here we are sharing the complete extraction process.

Image Source- Dreamstime
  • First use oil exploration takes place after drilling, extraction, and recovery.
  • Crude oil recovered can’t be directly used it needs to be changed or converted to usable forms.
  • Heating crude oil till it boils is the first step in refining it.
  • In a distillation process, the boiling liquid is separated into liquids and gases. Petrol, paraffin, diesel fuel, etc. are made from these liquids.
  •  As the gases ascend the column, they cool until they condense (turn back into liquid again). After cleaning and further processing, the separated liquids and gases are used to manufacture a variety of products.
  • After that liquids can be further changed to other useful forms by some processes. More the liquid is heavier less is its demand.
  • Outgoing finished products are temporarily held in massive tanks on a refinery’s tank farm. Final products are transported from storage tanks to desired locations through automobiles.
Oil Refinery

Refining crude oil to various products:

  • Crude oil is a mixture of various substances. But in order to use them, we need to refine crude oil.
  • Refining is done in oil refineries.
  • The first stage is through distillation crude oil is separated into various forms. In the distillation chamber, heavier stays at the bottom and lighter rises up.
  • The second stage is conversion which means heavier forms are converted into lighter liquids or gasses. This step involves chemical processing.
  • In the third and last stage, there is still some work to be done because there are impurities left. So step is called treating to obtain products in pure forms in order to use them.
Oil extraction

Major obtained products after refining:

Petroleum products are by-products of the refinement of crude oil. Different petroleum products can be produced which depends on the crude oil refinery. The majority of oil products such as various types of fuel oil are utilized as energy carriers. Fuels when refined can be combined to transform into something more useful forms. For example, gasoline, jet, and diesel oil can be combined to form more useful forms. Products obtained after refining can be utilized to make plastics and other valuable items.

Petroleum Products


  • Gasoline is mostly obtained in quantity from crude oil after refining. It constitutes 46% of the total obtained products.
  • Also known as petrol and is highly flammable.
  • It is a commonly used primary fuel in IC engines.
  • It’s also used for dry cleaning.

Diesel and other fuels:

  • Diesel oil constitutes 20% and other fuels constitute 6 % of the total obtained products.
  • Diesel oil is flammable and is mostly used in heavy automobiles.
  • Diesel oil is less explosive in nature and hence it’s preferably used in tanks and trucks.
  • Moreover, diesel is used to run big electric generators as well.


  • Also known as paraffin oil derived from petroleum constitutes 8% of the total.
  • It is pale yellow and flammable in nature.
  • Mainly used for household purposes such as the burning of lamps, stoves, furnaces, etc.

Paraffin Wax:

  • Paraffin wax is a solid also derived from crude oil during refining processes.
  • Paraffin wax is famous in the candle industry.
  • Other common uses are lubrication, ointments, ink, and electrical insulation.


  • Asphalt constitutes 3% of the total products obtained.
  • It is liquid or semi-solid in nature.
  • The primary use of asphalt is in the building of roads.
  • Also used in waterproofing the rooftop ceilings.


  • Lubricants constitute 1% of the total.
  • Lubricants are usually used to reduce friction between things.
  • Lubricants may be such as motor oils, or greases.
  • Also used to reduce corrosion of machines.


  • Liquified Petroleum Gas is highly flammable in nature.
  • LPG in the household is used mainly for heating purposes. Besides, it is also used in industries.

Other obtained products might be in less quantity may include:

  • Petroleum Coke.
  • Sulfur.
  • Naphtha.
  • Tar.
  • Jet fuel.
Major Oil Producer countries in 2021
Major Oil-producing Countries.

In 2021, total world oil production averaged 77,043,680 barrels per day of which 71 % came from the top 10 countries. This is a list of countries by oil output for the calendar year 2021, drawn from the US EIAD:

  • United States
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia (OPEC)
  • Canada
  • Iraq (OPEC)
  • China
  • Iran (OPEC)
  • UAE (OPEC)
  • Brazil
  • Kuwait (OPEC)
  • Norway
  • Kazakhstan
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria (OPEC)
  • Qatar

The top three producers are producing 11million barrels per day since 2014. Monthly U.S. Oil production reached more than 12 million in 2019 and 18 million barrels per day in 2021. Oil is measured in barrels, each barrel contains 42 gallons of oil, and oil is also measured in metric tonnes.


According to the reports of the United States, EIA for 2017 world is using 98.8 million barrels of oil per day. As a result, the increase in vehicles is primarily responsible for the increase in oil consumption in the twenty-first century. Production of oil will lead to different scenarios such as more exploration of oil reservoirs will eventually lead to higher prices of oil. People are coming forward with questions regarding petroleum’s long-term viability, costs, and production of oil and how will it impact our future.

  • To visit the official website of the Indian Ministry of Power- Click Here
  • To visit the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy- Click Here

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