Oil & Gas Law

Oil & Gas Law

Petroleum (L. petroleum, from Greek , lit. “rock oil”, first used in the treatise De Natura Foss ilium published in 1546 by the German mineralogist Georg Bauer, known as Georgios Agricola[1]) or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid found in rock formations in the Earth consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, plus other organic compounds.


The proportion of hydrocarbons in the mixture is highly variable and ranges from as much as 97% by weight in the lighter oils to as little as 50% in the heavier oils and bitumen. The hydrocarbons in crude oil are mostly alkanes, cycloalkanes and various aromatic hydrocarbons while the other organic compounds contain nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur, and trace amounts of metals such as iron, nickel, copper and vanadium.

Octane, a hydrocarbon found in petroleum, lines are single bonds, black spheres are carbon, white spheres are hydrogen

Crude oil varies greatly in appearance depending on its composition. It is usually black or dark brown (although it may be yellowish or even greenish). In the reservoir it is usually found in association with natural gas, which being lighter forms a gas cap over the petroleum, and saline water which being heavier generally floats underneath it. Crude oil may also be found in semi-solid form mixed with sand as in the Athabasca oil sands in Canada, where is usually referred to as crude bitumen. In Canada, bitumen is considered a sticky, tar-like form of crude oil which is so thick and heavy that it must be heated or diluted before it will flow. Four different types of hydrocarbon molecules appear in crude oil. The relative percentage of each varies from oil to oil, determining the properties of each oil.

Paraffins 30% 15 to 60%
Naphthene 49% 30 to 60%
Aromatics 15% 3 to 30%
Asphaltic 6%
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