The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum (oil) is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics. The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream and downstream. Midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category.
There has been a lot of fuss lately about shale gas, which has become increasingly important in the past decade, particularly due to hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), a modern technique used to extract it from the underground. Many have proposed natural shale gas as a supposedly clean bridge fuel, fit to address climate change and [...]