Petroleum Oil and Natural Gas

From Ohio History Central

<img width="370" height="310" title="Image of oil" alt="Image of oil" src="images/naturalHistory/rocks/oil.jpg" />

Petroleum oil originates in marine waters. It forms as the tiny remains of plants settle in sand and mud. Over a very long period of time the oil accumulates in sand and shale, from which it can be extracted. Most of the world’s petroleum oil today comes from sand deposits. Still, oil shale is a source of this important industrial mineral. During the historic past some residents of Ohio have been greatly surprised when what they thought was simple bedrock shale ignited and burned.

All the coal, oil, gas, and wood on Earth would only keep the Sun burning for a few days

Absolute Trivia

Natural gas is a mixture of the lighter chemical substances that occur in petroleum oil. Methane and propane are two of the organic compounds which, along with other gases, make up natural gas.

Most of Ohio’s petroleum oil and natural gas wells are in the central and eastern parts of the state. Although Ohio generally is not known as an oil-rich state, it still produces worthwhile quantities of both oil and gas.


  • Malkamaki, Blake Oil History: An Index to Early Petroleum History Sites 1999.
  • Oil & Gas Museum Oil & Gas Museum---History Of The Oil And Gas Industry In West Virginia And Ohio, 1999.
  • Coogan, Allan H. Ohio’s Surface Rocks and Sediments; Chapter 3 in Fossils of Ohio, edited by Rodney M. Feldmann; Ohio Geological Survey, Bulletin 70, 1996.
  • Pough, Frederick H. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals; Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA; 1976.
  • Sorrell, Charles A. Rocks and Minerals; Golden Press, New York, NY; 1973.
  • Wolfe, Mark E., compiler 1997 Report on Ohio Mineral Industries; Ohio Division of Geological Survey; 1998.

See Also