There are many substances and elements found in nature, many of which are used by humans for multiple purposes.
Some of them are used as food, others as raw material for making products or even as fuel. And among the fuels, one of the most valued to the point of being also called “black gold” is petroleum.
This product and its value is in fact an aspect to be taken into account and capable of greatly affecting the world economy, even causing conflicts of war. And it is not only its value as fuel, but in our daily life we use it constantly oil products. This is why throughout this article we will cite a few examples of this type of product.
What is petroleum?
Petroleum is an oily liquid substance, a hydrocarbon compound with a color between black and yellowish (depending on its composition) which is extracted from the subsoil and is produced.
It is one of the most coveted substances as it is one of the main sources of energy used by humans, being the main source of fossil fuels and having supplanted coal for centuries.
Its composition includes cyclic hydrocarbons, alkenes and in smaller quantities compounds based on sulfur and nitrogen.While it varies depending on the mixture of hydrocarbons and its different proportions.
Its main origin is the transformation of organic matter (remains of algae, plankton and the remains of living beings) over millions of years, after being deposited by geographic features and sedimentation. After being extracted, the oil goes through a distillation process in which the different components are separated, with which different products (from fuels to drugs) can be produced either directly or through multiple chemical interactions.
Below we will see a number of petroleum products, which we use most frequently. In some cases their connection is obvious and well known, while in others the fact that they are derived from petroleum can be surprising.
1. Gasoline and other fuels
Gasoline is probably the clearest and best known derivative of petroleum., Being the main fuel used by public and private motorized transport modes.
Besides gasoline, diesel, diesel or kerosene, there are other fuels of great importance and usefulness in various means of transport.
2. Butane gas
Although it may not seem like it, butane gas that we use in kitchens or even in different industries is one of the petroleum products because it is a liquefied gas resulting from the distillation of petroleum.
The asphalt that covers our roads is also a semi-solid product from the region. More precisely, is the residue of petroleum distillation.
In addition to the road, it is also used for waterproofing and for making tiles.
One of the most widely used materials today, plastic is generally (but not always) the only product derived from petroleum.
This includes many products: bags, packaging, dishes, kitchen items and even some furniture, technological gadgets, The latex in condoms and virtually the vast majority of elements in our environment contain some kind of plastic component, therefore oil-based.
It may seem strange that the oil can become a substance that helps in the growth of plants, but the truth is that after various chemical processes, it can be transformed into a source of ammonia similar to manure.
6.Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides
Agriculture has benefited from petroleum both through the production of fertilizers and pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Although they can be harmful, they have been used to eliminate different types of dangerous insect pests, invasion of weeds and crop pests or infections like those of both. And all of them can also be made from oil.
7. Synthetic fabric
Some products used in the production of textiles are also petroleum products. This is the case of polyester or nylon.
The detergents we use to wash clothes are also petroleum products, although they have a very different function from the materials we’ve seen so far.
9. Paints and solvents
Although not in all cases, paints, dyes and solvents of all kinds have often been produced from petroleum-based materials.
10. Soaps, perfumes, dyes and cosmetics
It may sound surprising, but some cosmetics, soaps and perfumes usually contain components derived from petroleum, such as petroleum or some of the volatile substances used in perfumes.
11. Food products
Some of the additives used in preserving or processing foods also come from the processing of petroleum. Flavor modifiers or enhancers, sweeteners or colorants are a few examples. Many food supplements or vitamins also contain components derived from petroleum.
12. Medicines and health products
Other petroleum products are some health products or even some drugs. Examples are prostheses, test strips or glycerin used, for example, in suppositories.. Also other products such as latex condoms.
- Andrady, AL; Neal, MA (2009). Applications and social benefits of plastics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences. 364 (1526): 1977-1984.
- McKain, DL; Bernard, LA (1994). Where it all began: the story of the people and places where the oil industry began: West Virginia and Southeast Ohio. Parkersburg, WV: DL McKain.