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In movies and television shows – Giant, Oklahoma Crude, Armageddon, Beverly Hillbillies – we have images of thick, black crude oil gushing out of the ground or a drilling platform. But when you pump the gasoline for your car, you’ve probably noticed that it is clear. And there are so many other products that come from oil, including crayons, plastics, heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, synthetic fibers and tires. How is it possible to start with crude oil and end up with gasoline and all of these other products?

By:Craig C. Freudenrich, Ph.D.

In movies and television shows – Giant, Oklahoma Crude, Armageddon, Beverly Hillbillies – we have seen images of thick, black crude oil gushing out of the ground or a drilling platform. But when you pump the gasoline for your car, you’ve probably noticed that it is clear. And there are so many other products that come from oil, including crayons, plastics, heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, synthetic fibers and tires. How is it possible to start with crude oil and end up with gasoline and all of these other products?

Crude oil is the term for ‘unprocessed’ oil, the stuff that comes out of the ground. It is also known as petroleum. Crude oil is a fossil fuel, meaning that it was made naturally from decaying plants and animals living in ancient seas millions of years ago — anywhere you find crude oil was once a sea bed. Crude oils vary in color, from clear to tar-black, and in viscosity, from water to almost solid.

Compiled by : Nugroho Wibisono (nugrohowibisono@yahoo.com)

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