Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between crude oil, petroleum products, and petroleum?

Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbons that exists as a liquid in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid when brought to the surface. Petroleum products are produced from the processing of crude oil at petroleum refineries and the extraction of liquid hydrocarbons at natural gas processing plants. Petroleum is the broad category that includes both crude oil and petroleum products. The terms "oil" and "petroleum" are sometimes used interchangeably.

Last reviewed: August 22, 2013


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