Oil: A Capitalist Love Story


  • Kieran Allen


Crude oil is extracted from the ground or the seafloor and is the product of millions of years of ‘fossilised sunshine’. It is made up of different kinds of hydrocarbon molecules which vary in composition according to the different regions in which they are found. These differences are important in the refining process as they allow producers to segment crude oil into hydrocarbon fractions. The refined products range from petroleum gases which include propane and butane; to light-ends, which include petrol and aviation fuels; middle distillates which include kerosene and diesel; and heavy ends which include base oil and bitumen. All in all, a wide range of petroleum-based products that underpin a huge number of capitalist commodities.