What Industrial Purposes Are There for Petroleum Oil?


Quick Answer

Some of the industrial purposes for petroleum oil are in manufacturing detergents, plastics, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, pesticides and paint. Petroleum is the basis for industrial manufacturing of many other items besides fuels also, including pharmaceuticals, make-up, photographic film and candles. The primary use for petroleum is fuel such as gasoline, diesel and heating oil as well as lubricants for machinery, but the organic products removed during refining and the petrochemicals produced are used to produce over 6,000 products.

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Full Answer

Agricultural products are some of the most important uses of petroleum oil besides fuels. Petroleum oil is used in the production of ammonia, which is the hydrogen and gaseous nitrogen source for most fertilizers. Pesticides as well are almost entirely produced using petroleum oil.

Plastics and synthetic fibers are another major use that impacts most people's daily lives. The olefins in petroleum, such as ethylene and propylene, are used to produce polystyrene, Styrofoam, polyvinyl chloride and nylon. These are used for many items such as TV sets, machine gears and PVC pipes.

Pharmaceuticals are usually complex organic molecules that are made up of smaller organic molecules, with many of them being precursors found in petroleum.

Inks, dyes and paints are also typically petroleum based, and the oil is used as a carrier for the color pigments.

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