How do we get petrol?

Petrol is one of the most useful products in the world. Cars, scooters, aeroplanes and various other automobiles – all consume it as their fuel. It is also the source of light and other forms of energies.

Petrol is obtained from petroleum – a viscous dark-coloured liquid found inside the earth. The word ‘petroleum’ is derived from the two Latin words ‘Petra’ and ‘oleum’ meaning rock and oil respectively. It is found usually in pools beneath the earth’s surface. Petroleum is sometimes called ‘black gold’ because it is highly useful for us. Do you know how this oil is formed inside the earth?

Millions of years ago, plants and animals got buried in earth’s interior due to geological upheavals. Intense pressure and heat inside the earth converted the decomposed plants and animals into petroleum. Man discovered its massive stocks in the sea-bed too.

The crude oil is drawn out of petroleum wells. This consists of petrol, naphtha, kerosene, diesel, pitch etc. It is brought to refineries for purification and extraction of these products. The crude oil is heated in very big cylindrical vessels. The various constituents of the oil are separated as different fractions at different temperatures and taken out through separate pipes. This process is known as fractional distillation. The various other products obtained from petroleum include plastics, paints, drugs, explosives, cleaning fluids and detergents.

Scientists have succeeded in synthesizing petrol by some artificial techniques also but petrol prepared in this way is costlier.

It is found in many countries but mainly in Gulf countries, USA and Russia. In India, it is mainly found in Assam and Bombay.