Crude Oil

  • O. V. Roussak
  • H. D. Gesser


Oil is a major liquid fuel, and it is also the basis of most other liquid fuels. It is formed by refining petroleum or crude oil, which is a very complex mixture of components, composed of many different types of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights. Crude oils are usually classified by the major type of hydrocarbons in the oil. The three major classes are (1) paraffinic (alkanes), (2) aromatic with naphthenic and asphaltic components, and (3) mixed oils containing significant quantities of both aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Typical gas chromatograms of two crude oils are shown in Fig. 3.1. Such chromatograms are often used as a “fingerprint” of an oil in identifying the origin of oil spills. The origin of petroleum is not known with certainty. It is believed to have formed from the accumulation of various marine organic deposits which, by partial bacterial decay, heat, and pressure, eventually formed the crude oil which migrated through the pores, cracks, and fissures in the rocks, forming oil fields in underground structures illustrated in Fig. 3.2.


Sludge Steam Hydrocarbon Shale Diesel 

Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. V. Roussak
    • 1
  • H. D. Gesser
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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