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Why is petroleum important?

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Quick Answer

Petroleum, also called crude oil, is an important source of energy, according to Natural Resources Canada. Oil provided approximately 34 percent of the world's energy needs in 2008.

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Why is petroleum important?
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Full Answer

The source of oil and gas are animals and plants that died millions of years ago, the World Petroleum Council explains. These organisms sunk to the bottom of the sea and were buried by sand and mud. After millions of years, the dead sea creatures became buried deeper and deeper and turned into oil and gas. The extreme pressure and temperature deep underground transformed the chemicals from the decaying organisms into crude oil and gas.

The International Energy Agency estimates that oil will supply 30 percent of the world's energy mix in 2030, reports NRC. Around two-thirds of oil in the U.S. and Canada is used for transportation. Oil is mostly used for power generation and space heating in other countries. Moreover, oil is a valuable product for the agriculture industry, which provides food for people across the globe.

Petroleum is used for a wide range of applications, most-notably powering internal combustion engines, according to Petroleum.co.uk. Bitumen, the thickest form of petroleum, is used for paving roads, forming the blacktop and roofing. Moreover, petroleum is a major component of various plastics and synthetics.

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