Petroleum is a naturally occurring flammable liquid. It consists of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons and other liquid organic compounds, that are found beneath the Earth's surface. The name Petroleum covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oils and petroleum products that are made up of refined crude oil. A fossil fuel, it is formed when large quantities of dead organisms are buried underneath sedimentary rock and undergo intense heat and pressure.
Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. It is refined and separated, most easily by boiling point, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline (petrol) and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals. Petroleum is used in manufacturing a wide variety of materials, and it is estimated that the world consumes about 90 million barrels each day.
An oil well is a general term for any boring through the Earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.The oil well is created by drilling a long hole into the earth with an oil rig. A steel pipe (casing) is placed in the hole, to provide structural integrity to the newly drilled well bore. Holes are then made in the base of the well to enable oil to pass into the bore. Finally a collection of valves called a "Christmas Tree" is fitted to the top, the valves regulating pressures and controlling flows.
Samuel Martin Kier is credited with founding the first American oil refinery in Pittsburgh. He was the first person in the United States to refine crude oil into lamp oil (kerosene). Along with a new lamp to burn Kier's product a new market to replace whale oil as a lamp oil began to develop.While petroleum oil was known prior to this, there was no appreciable market for it.
Seneca Oil, originally called the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company, was founded by George Bissell and Jonathan Eveleth. They created the company after catching wind of reports that petroleum collected from an oil spring in Titusville, Pennsylvania was suitable for use as lamp fuel. Until this time, the primary lamp fuel had been whale oil. Bissell found that the "rock oil" would be a practical alternative if a method could be devised to extract the oil from the ground.Nobody ever thought of drilling it before that. Interest in the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company was initially low until a report commissioned by Bissell and Eveleth showed that there was significant economic value in petroleum. Due to a disagreement between the shareholders and the pair, the company was split and Seneca Oil was formed in 1858. They appointed a person named Edwin L Drake to drill the oil.
Drake decided to drill in the manner of salt well drillers. He purchased a steam engine in Erie, Pennsylvania, to power the drill. The well was dug on an island on the Oil Creek. It took some time for the drillers to get through the layers of gravel. At 16 feet the sides of the hole began to collapse. Those helping him began to despair, but not Drake. It was at this point that he devised the idea of a drive pipe. This cast iron pipe consisted of 10-foot-long (3.0 m) joints. The pipe was driven down into the ground. At 32 feet they struck bedrock. The drilling tools were now lowered through the pipe and steam was used to drill through the bedrock. The going, however, was slow. Progress was made at the rate of just three feet per day. After initial difficulty locating the necessary parts to build the well, which resulted in his well being nicknamed "Drake's Folly", Drake proved successful. On 28th August 1889, he found the oil.Still toady, his method is used in every oil field.