LogoInternational Petroleum Museum and Exposition
P.O. Box 1988 - Morgan City, Louisiana, 70381
Phone: 985-384-3744
Fax: 985-384-3047
E-Mail: rigmuseum@petronet.net
What's New
The Mr. Charlie
A Photo History

Oil Basics

Birth of an Industry
A.J. Laborde
For Further Research
Virtual Tour

Oil Basics

Petroleum or crude oil is an oily, flammable liquid that occurs naturally in deposits, most often found beneath the surface of the earth.

Over millions of years, plant and animal remains fall to the floor of shallow seas. As the seas recede, the plant material is covered by sediment layers, such as silt, sand, clay, & other plant material.

Buried deep beneath layers of rock, the organic material partially decomposes, under an absence of oxygen, into petroleum that eventually seeps into the spaces between rock layers.

As the earth's tectonic plates move, the rock is bent or warped into folds or it "breaks" along fault lines, allowing the petroleum to collect in pools.

Man was not unfamiliar with crude oil. In the Middle East, seepages and escaping petroleum gases burned continuously, giving rise to fire worship.

It was also used for building mortar, roads, in a limited way for lighting, but was primarily used for healing everything from headaches to deafness. It was also used in war, for obvious reasons.



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