RAG Exploration & Production

Oil in everyday life

Indispensable and everywhere you look: surrounded by oil

Virtually no other raw material has had such an impact on and paved the way for progress in our society as oil. Because it has such a huge range of applications, it is an integral part of our daily lives. So many things are based on various oil products – even though it might not be obvious at first glance.

Crude oil plays a fundamental part in industrial manufacturing and is used in many different forms for processing and refining products. Crude oil contains at least 500 different compounds, mainly comprising carbon and hydrogen. This is what makes it so versatile. Oil is part of countless everyday products, and around 90% of all chemical products are oil-based, making it an essential part of modern living and work.

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Anyone building a house depends on oil – it’s the base material for window frames, floor coverings and wire insulation. Oil is used to produce construction foams, paints, varnishes, coatings, insulation and adhesives. Oil products can be found everywhere, even in mattresses, door seals and toilet seats. What’s more, it is essential for producing garden hoses, light switches, bins, switch boxes and wiring.

Travel and transportation

Oil-based products can be found in virtually all the parts that make up a car – even if the vehicle itself is powered by gas or electricity. This list is long: from tyres, lubricating oil, paint and interior trim to foot mats, gaskets, bumpers and battery casings. And electric cars are no different. The asphalt used to build the roads we drive on is also made from oil. And without lubricants, bicycles and trains wouldn’t move an inch. 

Renewable energy

Renewables also require oil: photovoltaic plants need oil products for cables, plugs and wiring, while wind turbines wouldn’t turn without oil. Wind turbines and their rotor blades are not only made of high-quality carbon fibers and thus also of crude oil, but also need several hundred liters of high-quality lubricating oil to run smoothly.

Clothing and leisure

From the latest leisurewear to protective clothing, oil is part of many of the clothes we wear. Sportswear, outdoor clothing, fleece jumpers, leggings, waterproofs and rubberised fabrics are all made using synthetic fibres. And the list doesn’t end there – wetsuits for divers, shoe soles, breathable sneakers, hiking boots and safety vests also contain oil products. The same goes for sports equipment like cycle helmets and tyres, skis and surfboards, balls, tennis rackets and nets.

Food and household products

Oil is too valuable to simply be thrown away, so there has to be a greater emphasis on recycling and reusing in food production, food packaging and households – and that does not just mean plastic containers. Adhesives, firelighters, candles, housings for domestic appliances such as vacuum cleaners and mixers, internal parts for dishwashers, as well as buckets and cleaning sponges all contain oil products, while standard detergents – in their conventional forms – could not be produced without oil.

Medicine, cosmetics and hygiene

Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics are another important application for base materials made from oil. These materials are used to make anaesthetics, dressings and plasters, disinfectants and soap, heart valves, medical devices and tubes. Without oil products, it would be impossible to make nail varnish and nail varnish remover, razors and shaving foam, lipstick and mascara, toothbrushes and toothpaste, or shampoo and body lotion. Aspirin is just one of numerous medications that contain oil products. 

Communication and entertainment

Modern-day communications and the entertainment sector also need oil. 40% of the components in a smartphone are oil-based. And oil is also found in televisions, computers, keyboards, mousepads, games consoles and chargers, and even in books, playing cards and board games.