The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline. Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including plastics, pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers and pesticides. The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream and downstream.

Petroleum is vital to many industries and is a critical concern for many nations. Governments such as the United States provide a heavy public subsidy to petroleum companies. Major tax breaks are provided at almost every stage of oil exploration and extraction, including for the costs of oil field leases and drilling equipment. This helps to ensure that our domestic energy needs are met. Oil accounts for a large percentage of the world’s energy consumption, ranging from as low of 32% for Europe and Asia, up to a high of 53% for the Middle East.