Partial List of Unexpected Products Made from or Containing Petroleum Ink
Petroleum products and their relative share of total U.S. petroleum consumption in 2012:
Heating Oil/Diesel Fuel 20%
Jet Fuel (Kerosene) 8%
NGL & LRG1 6%
Still Gas 4%
Petrochemical Feedstocks 2%
Petroleum Coke 2%
Residual/Heavy Fuel Oil 2%
Asphalt and Road Oil 2%
Miscellaneous Products 0.4%
Other Liquids 0.4%
Aviation Gasoline 0.1%
Special Naphthas 0.04%
When most people think of petroleum they think of gasoline and diesel fuel. They may even conjure up images of jet fuel, but most will rarely consider the other unexpected places that petroleum byproducts show up in modern life. Because crude oil contains a vast number of different hydrocarbons, various refined products have found their way into everything from plastics to pharmaceuticals.
The industry that uses petroleum to produce other chemicals is referred to as the petrochemical industry. It is estimated that industrialized nations currently consume petrochemical products at a rate of three and a half gallons of oil per day. That means that, excluding fuel oil, modern life results in each citizen of an industrial nation using over 1,200 gallons of oil per year.
One of the most important uses of petroleum is in the production of ammonia to be used as the nitrogen source in agricultural fertilizers. In the early 20th century, Fritz Haber invented a process that allowed for industrial scale production of ammonia. Prior to that, ammonia for fertilizer came only from manure and other biological processes.
The Haber process works in two steps. First, methane from natural gas is cleaned to...
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