oil industry, the business of discovering oil ( petroleum), extracting it from the ground, refining it into a variety of products, and distributing it to the public. The development of the oil industry in the 19th and 20th cent. provided a source of energy that now supplies about two fifths of the world's energy needs as well as a raw material that chemical and petroleum industries refine into a number of essential chemicals and industrial products.
Sections in this article:
- Development of the Modern Industry
- Late-Twentieth-Century and Early-Twenty-First-Century Developments
- Early History
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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