The Mysterious Origin and Supply of Oil. It runs modern society and fuels serious political tension. A so-called fossil fuel, petroleum is believed by most scientists to be the transformed remains of long dead organisms. The majority of petroleum is thought to come from the fossils of plants and tiny marine organisms.
What is oil derived from?
Petroleum is basically a mix of naturally occurring organic compounds from within the earth that contain primarily hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. When petroleum comes straight out of the ground as a liquid it is called crude oil if dark and viscous, and condensate if clear and volatile.
What is oil and how is it made?
Crude oil was made over millions of years from tiny plants and animals, called plankton. The plankton on the left would form oil in about 150 million years time if the sea bed is not disturbed. The plankton that lived in the Jurassic period made our crude oil.