An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance that is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures and is both hydrophobic (does not mix with water, literally "water fearing") and lipophilic (mixes with other oils, literally "fat loving"). Oils have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are usually flammable and surface active.

The general definition of oil includes classes of chemical compounds that may be otherwise unrelated in structure, properties, and uses. Oils may be animal, vegetable, or petrochemical in origin, and may be volatile or non-volatile.[1] They are used for food (e.g., olive oil), fuel (e.g., heating oil), medical purposes (e.g., mineral oil), lubrication (e.g. motor oil), and the manufacture of many types of paints, plastics, and other materials. Specially prepared oils are used in some religious ceremonies and rituals as purifying agents.

Italian olive oil 2007
A bottle of olive oil used in food


First attested in English 1176, the word oil comes from Old French oile, from Latin oleum,[2] which in turn comes from the Greek ἔλαιον (elaion), "olive oil, oil"[3] and that from ἐλαία (elaia), "olive tree", "olive fruit".[4][5] The earliest attested forms of the word are the Mycenaean Greek 𐀁𐀨𐀺, e-ra-wo and 𐀁𐁉𐀺, e-rai-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.[6]


Organic oils

Organic oils are produced in remarkable diversity by plants, animals, and other organisms through natural metabolic processes. Lipid is the scientific term for the fatty acids, steroids and similar chemicals often found in the oils produced by living things, while oil refers to an overall mixture of chemicals. Organic oils may also contain chemicals other than lipids, including proteins, waxes (class of compounds with oil-like properties that are solid at common temperatures) and alkaloids.

Lipids can be classified by the way that they are made by an organism, their chemical structure and their limited solubility in water compared to oils. They have a high carbon and hydrogen content and are considerably lacking in oxygen compared to other organic compounds and minerals; they tend to be relatively nonpolar molecules, but may include both polar and nonpolar regions as in the case of phospholipids and steroids.[7]

Mineral oils

Crude oil, or petroleum, and its refined components, collectively termed petrochemicals, are crucial resources in the modern economy. Crude oil originates from ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae, which geochemical processes convert into oil.[8] The name "mineral oil" is a misnomer, in that minerals are not the source of the oil—ancient plants and animals are. Mineral oil is organic. However, it is classified as "mineral oil" instead of as "organic oil" because its organic origin is remote (and was unknown at the time of its discovery), and because it is obtained in the vicinity of rocks, underground traps, and sands. Mineral oil also refers to several specific distillates of crude oil.



Several edible vegetable and animal oils, and also fats, are used for various purposes in cooking and food preparation. In particular, many foods are fried in oil much hotter than boiling water. Oils are also used for flavoring and for modifying the texture of foods (e.g. Stir Fry). Cooking oils are derived either from animal fat, as butter, lard and other types, or plant oils from the olive, maize, sunflower and many other species.


Oils are applied to hair to give it a lustrous look, to prevent tangles and roughness and to stabilize the hair to promote growth. See hair conditioner.


Oil has been used throughout history as a religious medium. It is often considered a spiritually purifying agent and is used for anointing purposes. As a particular example, holy anointing oil has been an important ritual liquid for Judaism and Christianity.


Color pigments are easily suspended in oil, making it suitable as a supporting medium for paints. The oldest known extant oil paintings date from 650 AD.[9]

Heat transfer

Oils are used as coolants in oil cooling, for instance in electric transformers. Heat transfer oils are used both as coolants (see oil cooling), for heating (e.g. in oil heaters) and in other applications of heat transfer.


Mobil 1 motor oil
Synthetic motor oil

Given that they are non-polar, oils do not easily adhere to other substances. This makes them useful as lubricants for various engineering purposes. Mineral oils are more commonly used as machine lubricants than biological oils are. Whale oil is preferred for lubricating clocks, because it does not evaporate, leaving dust, although its use was banned in the USA in 1980.[10]

It is a long-running myth that spermaceti from whales has still been used in NASA projects such as the Hubble Telescope and the Voyager probe because of its extremely low freezing temperature. Spermaceti is not actually an oil, but a mixture mostly of wax esters, and there is no evidence that NASA has used whale oil.[11]


Some oils burn in liquid or aerosol form, generating light, and heat which can be used directly or converted into other forms of energy such as electricity or mechanical work. To obtain many fuel oils, crude oil is pumped from the ground and is shipped via oil tanker or a pipeline to an oil refinery. There, it is converted from crude oil to diesel fuel (petrodiesel), ethane (and other short-chain alkanes), fuel oils (heaviest of commercial fuels, used in ships/furnaces), gasoline (petrol), jet fuel, kerosene, benzene (historically), and liquefied petroleum gas. A 42-US-gallon (35 imp gal; 160 L) barrel of crude oil produces approximately 10 US gallons (8.3 imp gal; 38 L) of diesel, 4 US gallons (3.3 imp gal; 15 L) of jet fuel, 19 US gallons (16 imp gal; 72 L) of gasoline, 7 US gallons (5.8 imp gal; 26 L) of other products, 3 US gallons (2.5 imp gal; 11 L) split between heavy fuel oil and liquified petroleum gases,[12] and 2 US gallons (1.7 imp gal; 7.6 L) of heating oil. The total production of a barrel of crude into various products results in an increase to 45 US gallons (37 imp gal; 170 L).[12] Not all oils used as fuels are mineral oils, see biodiesel and vegetable oil fuel.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, whale oil was commonly used for lamps, which was replaced with natural gas and then electricity.[13]

Chemical feedstock

Crude oil can be refined into a wide variety of component hydrocarbons. Petrochemicals are the refined components of crude oil[14] and the chemical products made from them. They are used as detergents, fertilizers, medicines, paints, plastics, synthetic fibers, and synthetic rubber.

Organic oils are another important chemical feedstock, especially in green chemistry.

See also

  • Emulsifier, a chemical which allows oil and water to mix


  1. ^ "oil". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ oleum. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  3. ^ ἔλαιον. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  4. ^ ἐλαία in Liddell and Scott.
  5. ^ Harper, Douglas. "oil". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  6. ^ "The Linear B word e-ra-wo". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of ancient languages. "e-ra3-wo". Raymoure, K.A. "e-ra-wo". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B. Deaditerranean.
  7. ^ Alberts, Bruce; Johnson, Alexander; Lewis, Julian; Raff, Martin; Roberts, Keith; Walter, Peter. Molecular Biology of the Cell. New York: Garland Science, 2002, pp. 62, 118-119.
  8. ^ Kvenvolden, Keith A. (2006). "Organic geochemistry – A retrospective of its first 70 years". Organic Geochemistry. 37: 1. doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2005.09.001.
  9. ^ "Oldest Oil Paintings Found in Afghanistan", Rosella Lorenzi, Discovery News. Feb. 19, 2008. Archived June 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Bavarian Clock Haus and Frankenmuth Clock Company". Frankenmuth Clock Company & Bavarian Clock Haus.
  11. ^ "Troubled waters: Who Would Believe NASA Used Whale Oil on Voyager and Hubble?". Knight Science Journalism at MIT.
  12. ^ a b U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) — Retrieved 2011-10-02.
  13. ^ "Whale Oil". petroleumhistory.org.
  14. ^ Kostianoy, Andrey G.; Lavrova, Olga Yu (2014-07-08). Oil Pollution in the Baltic Sea. Springer. ISBN 9783642384769.

External links

  • Media related to Oil at Wikimedia Commons
1973 oil crisis

The 1973 oil crisis began in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo. The embargo was targeted at nations perceived as supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The initial nations targeted were Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States with the embargo also later extended to Portugal, Rhodesia and South Africa.

By the end of the embargo in March 1974, the price of oil had risen from US$3 per barrel to nearly $12 globally; US prices were significantly higher. The embargo caused an oil crisis, or "shock", with many short- and long-term effects on global politics and the global economy. It was later called the "first oil shock", followed by the 1979 oil crisis, termed the "second oil shock."


The almond (Prunus dulcis, syn. Prunus amygdalus) is a species of tree native to Mediterranean climate regions of the Middle East, but widely cultivated elsewhere. The almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.

The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed, which is not a true nut, inside. Shelling almonds refers to removing the shell to reveal the seed. Almonds are sold shelled or unshelled. Blanched almonds are shelled almonds that have been treated with hot water to soften the seedcoat, which is then removed to reveal the white embryo.


BP plc (formerly The British Petroleum Company plc, British Petroleum and BP Amoco plc) is a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the world's seven oil and gas "supermajors", whose performance in 2012 made it the world's sixth-largest oil and gas company, the sixth-largest energy company by market capitalization and the company with the world's 12th-largest revenue (turnover). It is a vertically integrated company operating in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy interests in biofuels and wind power.

As of 31 December 2017, BP had operations in 70 countries worldwide, produced around 3.6 million barrels per day (570,000 m3/d) of oil equivalent, and had total proved reserves of 18.441 billion barrels (2.9319×109 m3) of oil equivalent. The company has around 18,300 service stations worldwide. Its largest division is BP America in the United States. In Russia, BP owns a 19.75% stake in Rosneft, the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company by hydrocarbon reserves and production. BP has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has secondary listings on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

BP's origins date back to the founding of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1908, established as a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company to exploit oil discoveries in Iran. In 1935, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and in 1954 British Petroleum. In 1959, the company expanded beyond the Middle East to Alaska and it was one of the first companies to strike oil in the North Sea. British Petroleum acquired majority control of Standard Oil of Ohio in 1978. Formerly majority state-owned, the British government privatised the company in stages between 1979 and 1987. British Petroleum merged with Amoco in 1998, becoming BP Amoco plc, and acquired ARCO and Burmah Castrol in 2000, becoming BP plc in 2001. From 2003 to 2013, BP was a partner in the TNK-BP joint venture in Russia.

BP has been directly involved in several major environmental and safety incidents. Among them were the 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion, which caused the death of 15 workers and resulted in a record-setting OSHA fine; Britain's largest oil spill, the wreck of Torrey Canyon in 1967; and the 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spill, the largest oil spill on Alaska's North Slope, which resulted in a US$25 million civil penalty, the largest per-barrel penalty at that time for an oil spill.The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest accidental release of oil into marine waters in history, resulted in severe environmental, health and economic consequences, and serious legal and public relations repercussions for BP. 1.8 million US gallons (43,000 bbl; 6,800 m3) of Corexit oil dispersant were used in the cleanup response, becoming the largest application of such chemicals in US history. The company pleaded guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanors, one felony count of lying to Congress, and agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion in fines and penalties, the largest criminal resolution in US history. On 2 July 2015, BP and five states announced an $18.7 billion settlement to be used for Clean Water Act penalties and various claims.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of some 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. As of 2018, preliminary clinical research on cannabidiol included studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.Cannabidiol can be taken into the body in multiple ways, including by inhalation of cannabis smoke or vapor, as an aerosol spray into the cheek, and by mouth. It may be supplied as CBD oil containing only CBD as the active ingredient (no added tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] or terpenes), a full-plant CBD-dominant hemp extract oil, capsules, dried cannabis, or as a prescription liquid solution. CBD does not have the same psychoactivity as THC, and may affect the actions of THC. Although in vitro studies indicate CBD may interact with different biological targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other neurotransmitter receptors, as of 2018 the mechanism of action for its biological effects has not been determined.In the United States, the cannabidiol drug Epidiolex has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two epilepsy disorders. The side effects of long-term use of the drug include somnolence, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, malaise, weakness, sleeping problems.The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has assigned Epidiolex a Schedule V classification, while non-Epidiolex CBD remains a Schedule I drug prohibited for any use. Cannabidiol is not scheduled under any United Nations drug control treaties, and in 2018 the World Health Organization recommended that it remain unscheduled.

Chevron Corporation

Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation. One of the successor companies of Standard Oil, it is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and active in more than 180 countries. Chevron is engaged in every aspect of the oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy industries, including hydrocarbon exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world's largest oil companies; as of 2017, it ranked nineteenth in the Fortune 500 list of the top US closely held and public corporations and sixteenth on the Fortune Global 500 list of the top 500 corporations worldwide. It was also one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.

Chevron's downstream operations manufacture and sell products such as fuels, lubricants, additives and petrochemicals. The company's most significant areas of operations are the west coast of North America, the U.S. Gulf Coast, Southeast Asia, South Korea, Australia and South Africa. In 2010, Chevron sold an average 3.1 million barrels per day (490×103 m3/d) of refined products like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill/leak, the BP oil disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout) is an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect, considered to be the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and estimated to be 8% to 31% larger in volume than the previous largest, the Ixtoc I oil spill, also in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. government estimated the total discharge at 4.9 million barrels (210 million US gal; 780,000 m3). After several failed efforts to contain the flow, the well was declared sealed on September 19, 2010. Reports in early 2012 indicated that the well site was still leaking.A massive response ensued to protect beaches, wetlands and estuaries from the spreading oil utilizing skimmer ships, floating booms, controlled burns and 1.84 million US gallons (7,000 m3) of oil dispersant. Due to the months-long spill, along with adverse effects from the response and cleanup activities, extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and fishing and tourism industries was reported. In Louisiana, 4,900,000 pounds (2,200 t) of oily material was removed from the beaches in 2013, over double the amount collected in 2012. Oil cleanup crews worked four days a week on 55 miles (89 km) of Louisiana shoreline throughout 2013. Oil continued to be found as far from the Macondo site as the waters off the Florida Panhandle and Tampa Bay, where scientists said the oil and dispersant mixture is embedded in the sand. In April 2013, it was reported that dolphins and other marine life continued to die in record numbers with infant dolphins dying at six times the normal rate. One study released in 2014 reported that tuna and amberjack that were exposed to oil from the spill developed deformities of the heart and other organs that would be expected to be fatal or at least life-shortening and another study found that cardiotoxicity might have been widespread in animal life exposed to the spill.Numerous investigations explored the causes of the explosion and record-setting spill. The U.S. government September 2011 report pointed to defective cement on the well, faulting mostly BP, but also rig operator Transocean and contractor Halliburton. Earlier in 2011, a White House commission likewise blamed BP and its partners for a series of cost cutting decisions and an inadequate safety system, but also concluded that the spill resulted from "systemic" root causes and "absent significant reform in both industry practices and government policies, might well recur".In November 2012, BP and the United States Department of Justice settled federal criminal charges with BP pleading guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and a felony count of lying to Congress. BP also agreed to four years of government monitoring of its safety practices and ethics, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that BP would be temporarily banned from new contracts with the US government. BP and the Department of Justice agreed to a record-setting $4.525 billion in fines and other payments. As of February 2013, criminal and civil settlements and payments to a trust fund had cost the company $42.2 billion.In September 2014, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that BP was primarily responsible for the oil spill because of its gross negligence and reckless conduct. In July 2015, BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion in fines, the largest corporate settlement in U.S. history.


Exxon Mobil Corporation, doing business as ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, and was formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey) and Mobil (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New York). ExxonMobil's primary brands are Exxon, Mobil, Esso, and ExxonMobil Chemical.The world's second largest company by revenue, ExxonMobil from 1996 to 2017 varied from the first to sixth largest publicly traded company by market capitalization. The company was ranked ninth globally in the Forbes Global 2000 list in 2016. ExxonMobil was the tenth most profitable company in the Fortune 500 in 2017. As of 2018, the company ranked second in the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.ExxonMobil is one of the largest of the world's Big Oil companies. As of 2007, it had daily production of 3.921 million BOE (barrels of oil equivalent); but significantly smaller than a number of national companies. In 2008, this was approximately 3% of world production, which is less than several of the largest state-owned petroleum companies. When ranked by oil and gas reserves, it is 14th in the world—with less than 1% of the total. ExxonMobil's reserves were 20 billion BOE at the end of 2016 and the 2007 rates of production were expected to last more than 14 years. With 37 oil refineries in 21 countries constituting a combined daily refining capacity of 6.3 million barrels (1,000,000 m3), ExxonMobil is the largest refiner in the world, a title that was also associated with Standard Oil since its incorporation in 1870.ExxonMobil has been criticized for its slow response to cleanup efforts after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, widely considered to be one of the world's worst oil spills in terms of damage to the environment. ExxonMobil has a history of lobbying for climate change denial and against the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The company has also been the target of accusations of improperly dealing with human rights issues, influence on American foreign policy, and its impact on the future of nations.

Fossil fuel

A fossil fuel is a fuel formed by natural processes, such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms, containing energy originating in ancient photosynthesis.

The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years.

Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

Other commonly used derivatives include kerosene and propane.

Fossil fuels range from volatile materials with low carbon to hydrogen ratios like methane, to liquids like petroleum, to nonvolatile materials composed of almost pure carbon, like anthracite coal.

Methane can be found in hydrocarbon fields either alone, associated with oil, or in the form of methane clathrates.

The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over millions of years was first introduced by Andreas Libavius "in his 1597 Alchemia [Alchymia]" and later by Mikhail Lomonosov "as early as 1757 and certainly by 1763". The first use of the term "fossil fuel" was by the German chemist Caspar Neumann, in English translation in 1759.In 2017 the world's primary energy sources consisted of petroleum (34%), coal (28%), natural gas (23%), amounting to an 85% share for fossil fuels in primary energy consumption in the world.

Non-fossil sources in 2006 included nuclear (8.5%), hydroelectric (6.3%), and others (geothermal, solar, tidal, wind, wood, waste) amounting to 0.9%.

World energy consumption was growing at about 2.3% per year. In 2015 about 18% of worldwide consumption was from renewable sources.Although fossil fuels are continually being formed via natural processes, they are generally considered to be non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form and the known viable reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being made.The use of fossil fuels raises serious environmental concerns.

The burning of fossil fuels produces around 21.3 billion tonnes (21.3 gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

It is estimated that natural processes can only absorb about half of that amount, so there is a net increase of 10.65 billion tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide per year.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that increases radiative forcing and contributes to global warming.

A global movement towards the generation of low-carbon renewable energy is underway to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Fuel oil

Fuel oil (also known as heavy oil, marine fuel or furnace oil) is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. In general terms, fuel oil is any liquid fuel that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash point of approximately 42 °C (108 °F) and oils burned in cotton or wool-wick burners. Fuel oil is made of long hydrocarbon chains, particularly alkanes, cycloalkanes and aromatics. The term fuel oil is also used in a stricter sense to refer only to the heaviest commercial fuel that can be obtained from crude oil, i.e., heavier than gasoline and naphtha.

Small molecules like those in propane, naphtha, gasoline for cars, and jet fuel have relatively low boiling points, and they are removed at the start of the fractional distillation process. Heavier petroleum products like diesel fuel and lubricating oil are much less volatile and distill out more slowly, while bunker oil is literally the bottom of the barrel; in oil distilling, the only things denser than bunker fuel are carbon black feedstock and bituminous residue (asphalt), which is used for paving roads and sealing roofs.

John D. Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history.Rockefeller was born into a large family in upstate New York and was shaped by his con man father and religious mother. His family moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Rockefeller became an assistant bookkeeper at age 16 and went into several business partnerships beginning at age 20, concentrating his business on oil refining. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He ran it until 1897, and remained its largest shareholder.

Rockefeller's wealth soared as kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity, and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry. His company and business practices came under criticism, particularly in the writings of author Ida Tarbell.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled for violation of federal anti-trust laws. It was broken up into 34 separate entities which included companies that became ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, and others—some of which still have the highest level of revenue in the world. Individual pieces of the company were worth more than the whole, as shares of these doubled and tripled in value in their early years, and Rockefeller became the country's first billionaire with a fortune worth nearly 2% of the national economy. His peak net worth was estimated at US$409 billion (in 2018 dollars; inflation-adjusted) in 1913. The figure 409 billion assumes a 2% share of US GDP in 2016. His personal wealth, 900 million in 1913, more than 2% of US GDP of 39.1 billion that year was worth 21 billion dollars in 2016 adjusted for inflation (by 1937 the Rockefeller fortune was 1.4 billion or 1.5% of GDP of 92 billion).Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement at his estate in Westchester County, New York, defining the structure of modern philanthropy, along with other key industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research and were instrumental in the near-eradication of hookworm and yellow fever in the United States.

Rockefeller was also the founder of the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions. He adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life. For advice, he relied closely on his wife Laura Spelman Rockefeller with whom he had five children. He was a faithful congregant of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk, and occasional janitor. Religion was a guiding force throughout his life and he believed it to be the source of his success. Rockefeller was also considered a supporter of capitalism based on a perspective of social Darwinism, and he was quoted often as saying, "The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest".


The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC, OH-pek) is an intergovernmental organisation of 14 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria. As of September 2018, the then 14 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world's "proven" oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so called "Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.

The stated mission of the organisation is to "coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry." The organization is also a significant provider of information about the international oil market. The current OPEC members are the following: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia (the de facto leader), United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Indonesia and Qatar are former members.

The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty over natural resources, and OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in the global oil market and international relations. The effect can be particularly strong when wars or civil disorders lead to extended interruptions in supply. In the 1970s, restrictions in oil production led to a dramatic rise in oil prices and in the revenue and wealth of OPEC, with long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for the global economy. In the 1980s, OPEC began setting production targets for its member nations; generally, when the targets are reduced, oil prices increase. This has occurred most recently from the organization's 2008 and 2016 decisions to trim oversupply.

Economists often cite OPEC as a textbook example of a cartel that cooperates to reduce market competition, but one whose consultations are protected by the doctrine of state immunity under international law. In December 2014, "OPEC and the oil men" ranked as #3 on Lloyd's list of "the top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry". However, the influence of OPEC on international trade is periodically challenged by the expansion of non-OPEC energy sources, and by the recurring temptation for individual OPEC countries to exceed production targets and pursue conflicting self-interests.

Oil spill

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually given to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

Oil spills penetrate into the structure of the plumage of birds and the fur of mammals, reducing its insulating ability, and making them more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and much less buoyant in the water. Cleanup and recovery from an oil spill is difficult and depends upon many factors, including the type of oil spilled, the temperature of the water (affecting evaporation and biodegradation), and the types of shorelines and beaches involved. Spills may take weeks, months or even years to clean up.Oil spills can have disastrous consequences for society; economically, environmentally, and socially. As a result, oil spill accidents have initiated intense media attention and political uproar, bringing many together in a political struggle concerning government response to oil spills and what actions can best prevent them from happening.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is commonly used in cooking, whether for frying or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. There is limited evidence of its possible health benefits. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes.

Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, followed by Italy and Greece. However, per capita national consumption is highest in Greece, followed by Spain, Italy, and Tunisia. Consumption in South Asia, North America and northern Europe is far less, but rising steadily.

The composition of olive oil varies with the cultivar, altitude, time of harvest and extraction process. It consists mainly of oleic acid (up to 83%), with smaller amounts of other fatty acids including linoleic acid (up to 21%) and palmitic acid (up to 20%). Extra virgin olive oil is required to have no more than 0.8% free acidity and is considered to have favorable flavor characteristics.

Palm oil

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.

Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. It is not to be confused with palm kernel oil derived from the kernel of the same fruit or coconut oil derived from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The differences are in color (raw palm kernel oil lacks carotenoids and is not red), and in saturated fat content: palm mesocarp oil is 49% saturated, while palm kernel oil and coconut oil are 81% and 86% saturated fats, respectively. However, crude red palm oil that has been refined, bleached and deodorized, a common commodity called RBD palm oil, does not contain carotenoids.The oil palm produces bunches containing a large number of fruits with the fleshy mesocarp enclosing a kernel that is covered by a very hard shell. FAO considers palm oil (coming from the pulp) and palm kernels to be primary products. The oil extraction rate from a bunch varies from 17 to 27% for palm oil, and from 4 to 10% for palm kernels.Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats and is semisolid at room temperature. Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil. Its use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is widespread because of its lower cost and the high oxidative stability (saturation) of the refined product when used for frying. One source reported that humans consumed an average 17 pounds (7.7 kg) of palm oil per person in 2015.The use of palm oil in food products has attracted the concern of environmental activist groups; the high oil yield of the trees has encouraged wider cultivation, leading to the clearing of forests in parts of Indonesia to make space for oil-palm monoculture. This has resulted in significant acreage losses of the natural habitat of the three surviving species of orangutan. One species in particular, the Sumatran orangutan, has been listed as critically endangered. In 2004, an industry group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was formed to work with the palm oil industry to address these concerns. Additionally, in 1992, in response to concerns about deforestation, the Government of Malaysia pledged to limit the expansion of palm oil plantations by retaining a minimum of half the nation's land as forest cover.


Petroleum () is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.

It consists of naturally occurring hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and may contain miscellaneous organic compounds. The name petroleum covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oil and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil. A fossil fuel, petroleum is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, mostly zooplankton and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and subjected to both intense heat and pressure.

Petroleum has mostly been recovered by oil drilling (natural petroleum springs are rare). Drilling is carried out after studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, and reservoir characterisation (mainly in terms of the porosity and permeability of geologic reservoir structures) have been completed. It is refined and separated, most easily by distillation, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline (petrol) and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials, and it is estimated that the world consumes about 95 million barrels each day.

The use of petroleum as fuel is controversial due to its impact on global warming and ocean acidification. Fossil fuels, including petroleum, need to be phased out by the end of 21st century to avoid "severe, pervasive, and irreversable impacts for people and ecosystems", according to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE: RDSA, RDSB), commonly known as Shell, is a British-Dutch oil and gas company headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom. It is one of the six oil and gas "supermajors" and the fifth-largest company in the world measured by 2018 revenues (and the largest based in Europe). Shell was first in the 2013 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies; in that year its revenues were equivalent to 84% of the Dutch national $556 billion GDP.Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, transport, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy activities, including in biofuels, wind, energy-kite systems, and hydrogen. Shell has operations in over 70 countries, produces around 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 44,000 service stations worldwide. As of 31 December 2014, Shell had total proved reserves of 13.7 billion barrels (2.18×109 m3) of oil equivalent. Shell Oil Company, its principal subsidiary in the United States, is one of its largest businesses. Shell holds 50% of Raízen, a joint venture with Cosan, which is the third-largest Brazil-based energy company by revenues and a major producer of ethanol.Shell was formed in 1907 through the amalgamation of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company of the Netherlands and the "Shell" Transport and Trading Company of the United Kingdom. Until its unification in 2005 the firm operated as a dual-listed company, whereby the British and Dutch companies maintained their legal existence but operated as a single-unit partnership for business purposes. Shell first entered the chemicals industry in 1929. In 1970 Shell acquired the mining company Billiton, which it subsequently sold in 1994 and now forms part of BHP Billiton. In recent decades gas exploration and production has become an increasingly important part of Shell's business. Shell acquired BG Group in 2016, making it the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).Shell has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of £185 billion at the close of trading on 30 December 2016, by far the largest of any company listed on the London Stock Exchange and among the highest of any company in the world. It has secondary listings on Euronext Amsterdam and the New York Stock Exchange. As of January 2013, Shell's largest shareholder was Capital Research Global Investors with 9.85% ahead of BlackRock in second with 6.89%.

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Aramco (Arabic: أرامكو السعودية‎ ʾArāmkō al-Saʿūdiyyah), officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, (formerly Arabian-American Oil Company), is a Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.It is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, and according to accounts seen by Bloomberg News, the most profitable company in the world. Saudi Aramco has both the world's second-largest proven crude oil reserves, at more than 270 billion barrels (4.3×1010 m3), and second-largest daily oil production.Saudi officials have backed an official figure of $2 trillion for Saudi Aramco's value. The company's financial data were leaked in April 2018, and according to Bloomberg's analysts the company could be valued at $1.2 trillion, a significantly lower sum.Saudi Aramco operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System. Its 2013 crude oil production total was 3.4 billion barrels (540,000,000 m3), and it manages over one hundred oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, including 288.4 trillion standard cubic feet (scf) of natural gas reserves. Saudi Aramco operates the Ghawar Field, the world's largest onshore oil field, and the Safaniya Field, the world's largest offshore oil field.On 09 April 2019, Aramco has raised $12 billion of bonds. Its first international bond issue has received more than $100 billion in orders from foreign investors which breaks all records for a bond issue by an emerging market entity.

Standard Oil

Standard Oil Co. Inc. was an American oil producing, transporting, refining, and marketing company and monopoly. Established in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refinery in the world of its time. Its history as one of the world's first and largest multinational corporations ended in 1911, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a landmark case, that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly.

Standard Oil dominated the oil products market initially through horizontal integration in the refining sector, then, in later years vertical integration; the company was an innovator in the development of the business trust. The Standard Oil trust streamlined production and logistics, lowered costs, and undercut competitors. "Trust-busting" critics accused Standard Oil of using aggressive pricing to destroy competitors and form a monopoly that threatened other businesses.

Rockefeller ran the company as its chairman, until his retirement in 1897. He remained the major shareholder, and in 1911, with the dissolution of the Standard Oil trust into 34 smaller companies, Rockefeller became the richest man in the world, as the initial income of these individual enterprises proved to be much bigger than that of a single larger company. Its successors such as ExxonMobil or Chevron are still among the companies with the largest income worldwide. By 1882, his top aide was John Dustin Archbold. After 1896, Rockefeller disengaged from business to concentrate on his philanthropy, leaving Archbold in control. Other notable Standard Oil principals include Henry Flagler, developer of the Florida East Coast Railway and resort cities, and Henry H. Rogers, who built the Virginian Railway.


Venezuela ( (listen); American Spanish: [beneˈswela] (listen)), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi). The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2 (61,600 sq mi). For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 (27,527 sq mi) of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 (8,581 sq mi) in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 (182,050 sq mi) of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99,889 km2 (38,567 sq mi) of continental shelf. This marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, which was not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia. It gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos (military strongmen) until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, and the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993. A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution. The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written. This new constitution officially changed the name of the country to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Spanish: República Bolivariana de Venezuela).

The sovereign state is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District (covering Caracas), and federal dependencies (covering Venezuela's offshore islands). Venezuela also claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a 159,500-square-kilometre (61,583 sq mi) tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación (the "zone under dispute"). Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital (Caracas) which is also the largest city in Venezuela.

Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, and today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil. Previously, the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil quickly came to dominate exports and government revenues. The 1980s oil glut led to an external debt crisis and a long-running economic crisis. Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as (by 1998) per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak. The recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave Venezuela oil funds not seen since the 1980s. The Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez then established populist social welfare policies that initially boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. However, such populist policies later became inadequate, causing the nation's collapse as their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy—are widely blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy. The destabilized economy led to a crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, resulting in hyperinflation, an economic depression, shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment, poverty, disease, child mortality, malnutrition and crime. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis where more than three million people have fled the country. By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year.

Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.