Petroleum has been used as both fuel and a building resource since almost the beginning of civilization. Nearly four thousand years ago the Babylonians used asphalt in the construction of walls and the Persians record the use of oil for fuel in lamps and also for medicinal purposes. Throughout much of history petroleum could be found in open pits on the ground; for example there were once large open pools of oil surrounding various tributaries of the Euphrates River. The modern petroleum industry as we now know it began in the mid 19th-century when oil was first refined into kerosene.
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