While most people are aware that we use petroleum derived gasoline to fuel our vehicles, many do not understand the far reaching impact that petroleum has on our everyday lives. Petroleum is in fact an important facilitator of production and often a component of the end products that we use or encounter every day. But what is petroleum, and what makes it so necessary for our lifestyles? Here we examine some of the many ways petroleum is used for consumer products, some of which may surprise you.
The literal meaning of the term petroleum is “rock oil,” as it is simply oil that comes from rock deep within the earth. Petroleum forms when ancient organic matter slowly gets compressed at high heat levels within the earth, resulting in a carbon rich substance that becomes trapped in rocks. As this oil travels underground through the path of least resistance, it eventually collects between impermeable rocks, creating reservoirs. Such reservoirs are the target locations for drilling operations by oil companies such as Western Pipeline Corporation, which extract the oil and begin the process that will eventually lead to the production of numerous consumer products.
Besides gasoline, one of the major uses for petroleum is the manufacture of plastics for use in a plethora of applications. After oil is extracted from the earth and transported, generally by pipeline or tanker, to refineries, it is commonly converted into plastic pellets which are shipped to manufacturers for production of their final products. Plastic is everywhere, making up parts of vehicles, toys, homes, computers, product packaging and even clothing.
We mentioned that most vehicles rely on fuel from petroleum in order to operate, but transportation as we know it would not be possible without petroleum contributing in other ways as well. The asphalt that is used to construct the roads on which we drive is a petroleum product. Grease to lubricate automobiles engines is derived from petroleum, as is synthetic rubber that is used in our vehicles’ tires.
Petroleum is the basis countless consumer products that you may not even consider as being petroleum derived. Some notable products utilizing this valuable natural resource are solvents used in paints and ink, paraffin wax used in candles and candy, roofing materials, detergents, film, pesticides, the uses are seemingly endless. Additionally, the jobs of millions of people across the world are reliant on locating, producing and refining petroleum as well as manufacturing it into the countless petroleum derived products on the market today.
About the Author: Bob Jent is the CEO of Western Pipeline Corporation. Western Pipeline Corp specializes in identifying, acquiring and developing existing, producing reserves on behalf of its individual clients.