Petroleum (L. petroleum, from Greek: petra (rock) + Latin: oleum (oil)) or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. This latter stage comes after the studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterization (mainly in terms of porosity and permeable structures). It is refined and separated, most easily by boiling point, into a large number of consumer products, from petrol and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals. Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials.
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