Interesting Facts About Oil: “Mother Of All Commodities”

Like gold, human beings have used oil for many centuries. Initially used for lighting and heating, oil has now become the lifeblood of the industrialized countries.
Oil is a nonpolar and neutral chemical substance which is a viscous liquid at ambient temperatures and has two distinct properties; lipophilic (miscible with other oils) and hydrophobic (immiscible with water). Oils have a high hydrogen and carbon content and are usually slippery and flammable.
The general oil definition includes classes of chemical compounds which may be otherwise unrelated in properties, structure, and uses. Oils may be a vegetable, animal, or the petrochemical in origin. It may be volatile or non-volatile.
We use oil for lubrication, fuel, food, and the manufacture of plastics, paints, and several other materials. In the past, people have used as a key religious medium. Specially prepared oils are also used in some religious functions as purifying agents. Many religious leaders use oil for anointing purposes. For instance, holy anointing oil has been an essential ritual liquid for Christianity and Judaism.
Since they’re non-polar, oils don’t easily stick to other substances. Therefore, this makes them very useful as lubricants for different engineering purposes. Whale oil is preferred for the lubrication of clocks, since it doesn’t evaporate, leaving dust, though the authorities banned its use in 1980.
Here are some interesting facts about oil that will make you understand why this commodity is imperative to our economy.
1. The first oil production in the world started way back in the year 327. The Chinese engineers utilized bamboo pipelines to drill 240 meters underneath the surface to extract the earliest oil drops. Back then, oil was referred to as “burning water” and was used to evaporate brine and make salt.
2. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) generate nearly 45 percent of the world’s crude oil, and own about 81 percent of the world’s fully recognized crude oil reserves, according to the United States Energy Information Administration data and OPEC.
3. There’s a long-running myth that NASA used spermaceti from the whales in their projects, such as the Voyager probe and the Hubble Telescope, due to its very low freezing temperature. Spermaceti isn’t oil, but a mixture mainly of wax esters, and there’s no evidence to prove NASA has used whale oil.
4. Saudi Aramco, the largest exporter of crude oil in the world, not only possesses both the world’s biggest onshore and offshore oil fields, but it’s also the most valuable company in the world. While Apple is “officially” the world’s most valuable company valued at over 700 billion dollars, Saudi Aramco is said to be worth $1.25 to $7 trillion, surpassing the value of Apple.
5. The United States has the tenth largest oil reserve in the world. Venezuela has the biggest, with 298.35 billion barrels compared to the 33 billion barrels of United States.
6. As of January 2014, the twenty-seven petroleum refineries in Texas had the capacity to produce more than 5.1 million barrels of crude oil daily and accounted for 29 percent of total United States refining capacity.
7. The largest oil field in the United States is Prudhoe Bay, Alaska that covers 213,453 acres and initially contained 25 billion barrels of crude oil.
8. Norway has the highest gas prices in the world. Although they’ve oil reserves, they do not subsidize fuel and use the cash for national infrastructure and free college education.
9. In 2000, Iraq decided to convert all of its oil sales under the Oil for Food program to euros. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, it returned all oil transactions from Euro to USD.
10. World War One planes used Castor Oil as the engine lubricant, and the unburnt castor oil released from the exhaust made the pilots suffer from persistent diarrhea.
11. The largest oil spill in history took place in 2010; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill spilled about four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
12. John D. Rockefeller, who is well known for revolutionizing and dominating the oil industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, had a net worth of $1.4 trillion (current dollars) at the time of his death.
13. Diesel fuel originated from the experiments carried out by German inventor and scientist Rudolf Diesel for his invention of a compression-ignition engine in 1892.

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