Oil is the world's most important traded commodity, one of the most important sources of energy, and feedstock for many products. Refined oil products are, roughly, divided into the four main categories: Fuels. Lubricants. Vaxes. Asphalt (bitumen)
  • Fuels is the largest of these categories, with the largest product volumes and number of products. Fuels include oil products used for energy generation (heat and power) or for transportation (vehicle engines). Here one finds aviation fuel for aircraft, bunkering oils for ships, and petrol (gasoline) and diesel fuel for vehicles driven on land. Fuels also include light and heavy fuel oils for heating and power (generation of electricity).
  • The volumes of lubricants produced from crude oil are small but the number of individual and highly specialized products is big (several thousands). Functional additives are added to basic lubricants to generate "tailor-made" products for specific uses.
  • Vaxes are used as raw material for various products. Candles are made of vaxes, as are a variety of products used for polishing and for adding a protective, water-repellent layer to different materials.
  • Asphalt (bitumen) is mainly used for roads and other surfaces, but as special qualities of asphalt have also been developed this category of oil products are used for different industrial purposes.

Oil is the raw material for industry to manufacture thousands of industrial and consumer products. Crude oil constitutes the raw material for production of plastics (polymeres). Polymeres in plastics are organic (carbon) compounds. When crude oil is cracked (a process where large molecules are reduced into smaller ones), ethylene and propene are obtained. These can be polymerized directly or transformed through various chemical reactions into polymeres.

Furthermore, oil is used for the manufacture of products such as rubber, paints, fertilizers, detergents, dyes, textiles, solvents, medicine, cosmetics, ink, pesticides, varnishes and much more.

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