Organic Origins of Petroleum

Jun 30th, 2015
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Petroleum is a naturally occurring substance consisting of organic compounds in the form of gas, liquid, or semisolid. Organic compounds are carbon molecules that are bound to hydrogen (e.g., hydrocarbons) and to a lesser extent sulfur, oxygen, or nitrogen. The simplest of these compounds is methane with one carbon atom bound to four hydrogen atoms

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USGS HomeContact USGSSearch USGSEnergy Resources ProgramGeochemistry Research - Petroleum ProcessesEnergy Home|About Energy|Contact Energy|How Are We Doing?Energy>>Geochemistry and Geophysics>>Geochemistry Research>> Organic Origins of PetroleumGeochemistry ResearchQuick links belowPublications and DataLaboratory ExperimentGenetic CorrelationsMicrobial Natural GasNatural GasOil ShaleOrganic Origins of PetroleumShale GasBasin ModelingAdditional TopicsGeochemistry LaboratoriesEnergy Geochemistry DatabaseENERGY PROGRAM NEWSLETTERCONTACTMike LewanLead Geochemist303.236.9391Organic Origins of PetroleumPetroleum is a naturally occurring substance consisting of organic compounds in the form of gas, liquid, or semisolid.Organic compoundsare carbon molecules that are bound to hydrogen (e.g., hydrocarbons) and to a lesser extent sulfur, oxygen, or nitrogen. The simplest of these compounds is methane with one carbon atom bound to four hydrogen atoms (Figure 1).Figure 1: Some examples of organic compounds in petroleum, from the simplest (methane) to the most complex (asphaltene).Asphaltenes are the most complex with more than 136 carbon atoms bound to more than 167 hydrogen atoms, 3 nitrogen atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, and 2 sulfur atoms (Figure 1). Petroleum gas is referred to as natural gas, which should not be confused with the abbreviated term used to describe the refined fuel "gasoline". Natural gas cons

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