Close this search box.

Table of Contents

What Is Petroleum? Why It’s Important and How To Invest in It


Petroleum is a naturally occurring fossil fuel derived from ancient organic matter. It is vital as it is extensively used in energy production, manufacturing, and transportation. Investing in petroleum can be done via buying stocks of petroleum companies, futures contracts, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the price of petroleum.


Phonetics for the keyword “What Is Petroleum? Why It’s Important and How To Invest in It”: – What: /wɒt/ – Is: /ɪz/ – Petroleum: /pəˈtroʊ.li.əm/ – Why: /waɪ/ – It’s: /ɪts/ – Important: /ɪmˈpɔːr.tənt/ – And: /ænd/ – How: /haʊ/ – To: /tuː/ – Invest: /ɪnˈvɛst/ – In: /ɪn/ – It: /ɪt/

Key Takeaways


  1. Definition and Formation of Petroleum: Petroleum is a fossil fuel that is formed over millions of years from the remains of plants and animals under intense heat and pressure. It is composed mainly of hydrocarbons and is typically found beneath the Earth’s surface. It can be extracted through drilling and is then refined into various forms such as gasoline, kerosene, and diesel.
  2. Importance of Petroleum: Petroleum plays a crucial role in various aspects of modern life. It is primarily used as a source of energy for heating, electricity generation, and transportation. Additionally, petroleum serves as a raw material in various industries, producing products like fertilizers, plastics, synthetic fabrics and many others. Its vast array of applications makes petroleum one of the most important and widely used commodities worldwide.
  3. Investing in Petroleum: There are several ways to invest in petroleum. These include buying stocks of oil and gas companies, purchasing contracts for future delivery of oil (futures), investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds focusing on petroleum-based companies, or investing in master limited partnerships (MLPs) in the petroleum sector. Investment in petroleum can be lucrative due to its demand but it also carries risk factors such as price volatility and environmental concerns. Therefore, it is important for investors to research and consider these factors carefully before investing.



Petroleum is a naturally occurring liquid found beneath the Earth’s surface that can be refined into various types of fuels including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, and is also used in the production of plastic and other synthetic materials. Its importance stems from its vast applications in diverse industries, making it a key factor in global economic dynamics. Investing in petroleum presents an opportunity to take part in a market that, while volatile, can provide substantial returns due to international dependence on it for energy and manufacturing needs. Investment can be done through buying shares in petroleum companies, trading futures contracts, or petrol-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Understanding the petroleum industry and market trends is critical for making sound investment decisions.


Petroleum, a highly coveted natural resource, is a cornerstone of global industrial and economic activities. Often referred to as “Black Gold” , it primarily serves as an invaluable energy source, powering various sectors including transportation, manufacturing, and power generation. Its by-products are used in producing plastics and chemicals, thus embedding petroleum deeply in daily human life. It’s the raw material for many goods we use daily, from plastic containers and synthetic fabrics up to pharmaceuticals and even cosmetics. Another aspect of its importance lies in its geostrategic aspect, as countries with vast petroleum resources or control of the oil supply routes often gain significant geopolitical power.Due to its crucial role in the global economy, investing in petroleum can offer significant financial returns. Investments can be made directly or indirectly: direct methods include buying oil futures contracts, while indirect methods involve buying shares in oil companies or oil-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Prior to investing, one must carefully study the market’s dynamics. It’s crucial to understand the factors that influence petroleum prices, such as geopolitical tensions, weather patterns, and innovations in alternative energy. It’s worth noting that while petroleum investing can be profitable, it’s also risky and volatile, requiring meticulous risk analysis to prevent substantial losses.


1. British Petroleum (BP): British Petroleum, now officially known as BP PLC, is among the world’s largest oil and gas companies. BP operates in every segment of the petroleum industry – exploration, refining, distribution, and marketing. Petroleum (oil and natural gas) greatly contributes to the company’s revenue, making it a major player in the global economy. For investors interested in petroleum, investing in BP can be a potential choice. They can do so by buying BP’s stocks, which are publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.2. ExxonMobil: ExxonMobil is based in the United States and is one of the biggest publicly traded oil and gas companies in the world. The company was formed in 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil, both descendents of Standard Oil, a company that has dominated the petroleum industry for over a century. By investing in ExxonMobil, investors can indirectly invest in petroleum as the core of the company’s operations revolve around oil and gas: exploration, production, refining, and selling.3. United States Oil Fund (USO): For those who wish to invest in petroleum, but not through individual company stocks, they can opt for Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) like the United States Oil Fund (USO). The USO is one of the most popular oil ETFs and it aims to track the daily price movements of West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) light, sweet crude oil. It’s an investment option that provides exposure to petroleum prices without the need to buy futures or handle physical oil.Petroleum is a crucial energy source playing a crucial role in various sectors including transportation, electricity generation, industrial production, and home heating. Thus, investing in petroleum, directly or indirectly, gives investors the opportunity to take part in a sector that plays a critical role worldwide. However, it’s important to note that the value of such investments can fluctify widely due to various factors including geopolitical tensions, natural disasters, and changes in regulations and demands. Therefore, one should carefully research and possibly seek advice from financial advisors before investing in petroleum.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Petroleum?

Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid formed in geological formations beneath the earth’s surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Why is Petroleum important?

Petroleum is a key player in the world economy. It’s used widely in various sectors, especially transportation and manufacturing. It also plays a vital role in creating products like plastic, fertilizers, synthetic materials, and much more.

How can one invest in Petroleum?

There are several ways to invest in petroleum. These include buying stocks in oil companies, investing in oil futures contracts, purchasing shares of oil-focused ETFs or mutual funds, or even direct ownership of crude oil and oil wells.

What are the potential risks of investing in Petroleum?

Like any investment, investing in petroleum comes with risks. The oil market can be quite volatile and influenced by geopolitical events, economic changes, and shifts in supply and demand. It’s key to thoroughly research and possibly seek advice from financial advisors before investing.

Are there alternatives to investing in Petroleum?

Yes, due to the finite nature of petroleum and environmental concerns, some investors are looking to renewable energy companies and sustainable investments. These could include wind, solar, or hydroelectric power companies, or innovative technology firms creating alternative energy solutions.

How does the price of Petroleum affect the global economy?

The price of petroleum can significantly impact the global economy. For example, a high oil price can increase production costs, claiming more money from consumers and businesses, potentially causing inflation. Conversely, when prices are low, it can encourage economic growth.

What are some of the major petroleum companies to consider for investment?

Some of the major petroleum companies include Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP Plc, and Royal Dutch Shell. These companies have a significant presence in the global market, but their performance can vary based on oil prices and other market conditions.

Do petroleum investments offer dividends?

Many petroleum companies, especially larger ones, offer dividends to their shareholders. This can provide an income stream in addition to any capital appreciation. However, the reliability and amount of these dividends can vary depending on the company’s performance and the state of the oil market.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’ 

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More