Crude Oil

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DEFINITION of 'Crude Oil'

A naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits. Crude oil can be refined to produce usable products such as gasoline, diesel and various forms of petrochemicals.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Crude Oil'

Although it is often called "black gold," crude oil has ranging viscosity and can vary in color to various shades of black and yellow depending on its hydrocarbon composition. Distillation, the process by which oil is heated and separated in different components, is the the first stage in refining.

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