Petroleum is a naturally occurring fossil fuel found beneath the Earth’s surface that can be refined into fuel.
  • Crude petroleum occurs in sedimentary rocks of the tertiary period.
  • Petroleum contains various types of hydrocarbons, and natural gas is often found dissolved in the liquid in significant amounts. The hydrocarbons can be processed in refineries into different types of fuels.
  • Oil exploration and production was systematically taken up after the Oil and Natural Gas Commission was set up in 1956. Till then, Digboi in Assam was the only oil producing region but the scenario changed after 1956.
  • In recent years, new oil deposits have been found at the extreme western and eastern parts of the country.
  • In Assam, Digboi, Naharkatiya and Moran are important oil producing areas. The major oilfields of Gujarat are Ankaleshwar, Kalol, Mehsana, Nawagam, Kosamba and Lunej. Mumbai High which lies 160 km off Mumbai was discovered in 1973 and production commenced in 1976.
  • Oil and natural gas have been found in exploratory wells in Krishna-Godavari and Kaveri basin on the east coast.
  • Oil extracted from the wells is crude oil and contains many impurities. It cannot be used directly. It needs to be refined. There are two types of refineries in India:UPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
  • Field-based Refineries: located near oil-wells e.g. Digboi
  • Market-based Refineries: get crude oil either by ships or pipelines e.g. Barauni Natural Gas
  • The Gas Authority of India Limited was set up in 1984 as a public sector undertaking to transport and market natural gas.
  • It is obtained along with oil in all the oilfields but exclusive reserves have been located along the eastern coast as well as (Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh), Tripura, Rajasthan and off-shore wells in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuels among the available fossil fuels and is used as a feedstock in the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals as well as used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purpose in industrial and commercial units.
  • It is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles.

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