What is crude oil

What is crude oil?

We can define crude oil as a liquid found inside the Earth, which is a combination of hydrocarbons, organic compounds and little amounts of metals. Petroleum is a type of crude oil.

Primary component of crude oil is mostly hydrocarbons, but their constitution in the crude oil can deviate from 50% up to 95%. This is totally depends on the type of crude oil and its extraction process.

Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur like organic compounds mostly are available in between 5% to 10% of the total crude oil.

Copper, nickel, vanadium and iron like metals are available in very less amount i.e. < 1% of the total composition of the crude oil.

How is crude oil formed?

Oil Rig
Oil Rig
Formation of crude oil happens when organic materials are heated and compressed over a very long period of time.

The oil what we take out today comes from the remains of prehistoric algae and zoo-plankton. These organic remains are present in bottom of an Ocean.

With the time these organic material joint or combined with mud. These heavy layers of mud or sediment creates pressure which heats the organic materials.

This process is called as diagenesis.

Extraction of crude oil

Geologists first identifies a part of ocean where they believe oil is present with the help of satellite imagery, gravity meters, and magnetometers. Then they perform drilling to take out the oil. Drilling is the most common method of crude oil extraction.

The first step of the extraction process involves drilling into the ground in the ocean.

Once a even oil flow has been known at a specific depth below the ocean ground a perforating gun is placed down into the well which has chemical charges within it that allow oil to flow through holes to the case.

Once the case is cut properly a tube is run into the hole which allows the oil and gas both to flow up the well.

Tube is sealed by a device called as a packer, which runs along the external side of the tube.

At the last to control the flow of the oil, oil-workers places a part or structure called as Christmas tree.

Oil from oil sands

Oil can also be take out from oil sands, which is also called as tar sands.

These oil sands are; sand or clay mixed with water and bitumen which is a very viscous form of crude oil.

Oil sands has oil with high viscosity so, instead of using drilling method of oil extraction, the crude oil is taken out from oil sands through strip mining.

This process is more expensive compare to the traditional type of oil drilling method.

As oil demand continues to increase it will results in oil reserves to come to end, then these oil sands could provide last feasible method for extracting crude oil from the Earth surface.


Oil is very precious. It took many years to form oil. Now you understood how crude oil is extracted. Conserve oil and use it miserly.


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