Oil was likely first discovered in the Middle East, in what is now Iran. The Achaemenid Empire army used oil in fire weapons as they invaded castles and cities in the sixth century B.C.Know More
Oil and petroleum products have been in use for centuries, beginning in the Middle East. The Greek historian Herodotus described the presence of oil pits in Babylon, present day Iraq, in 450 B.C. Alexander the Great often used oil-fueled torches to frighten his enemies. Another Greek historian, Plutarch, described oil bubbling up from the ground in Kirkuk.
Oil was not only found in the Middle East, but in China as well. In 347 A.D., the Chinese were using bamboo to drill oil from the ground. Explorer Marco Polo described the Baku people, in present day Azerbaijan, using oil from seeps for lighting and medicine.
Oil has a long history in America; early explorers to the area observed oil slicks off the coast of California. The first oil well that produced oil on a commercial level in the United States was the Beatty Well, located in southeastern Kentucky. Before that, a well was drilled in Ohio for salt water, but the well was found to contain oil instead.Learn more about Natural Resources
Petroleum companies extract crude oil from the Earth using a perforation in the Earth's surface called an oil well. Crude oil is a liquid form of petroleum. In addition, wells provide natural gas. Refining crude oil produces gasoline, diesel fuel and other useful petroleum products.Full Answer >
According to PlasticsEurope, a multinational plastics-industry trade commission, crude oil is distilled into fractions, which are smaller groups of the components that make up oil; some of these fractions are discarded for other purposes, while the ones that are used to make plastics are then further processed. The main fraction of oil that is used for plastic production is known as naphtha.Full Answer >
The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides current spot prices for oil on its website, as of 2015. The prices are provided in weekly releases that show the daily values from the previous week, according to EIA. Other media outlets, such as Bloomberg and CNN Money, also report daily values.Full Answer >
While oil and petroleum often appear interchangeable, their meanings differ slightly. Petroleum means a broad category of products including crude oil and other by-products. Crude oil is a technical term, referring to a hydrocarbon blend that is a liquid both underground and at the surface, according to the EIA.Full Answer >