Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. A fossil fuel, it is formed when large quantities of dead organisms, usually zooplankton and algae, are buried underneath sedimentary rock and undergo intense heat and pressure. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. This comes after the studies of structural geology (at the reservoir scale), sedimentary basin analysis, reservoir characterization (mainly in terms of porosity and permeable structures). It is refined and separated, most easily by boiling point, into a large number of consumer products, from petrol (or gasoline) and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals.
Contributions by 18.104.22.168, Rich Farmbrough, and SEWilco.
On December 10,2014 it looks like it is $ 63.82 a barrel.