Petroleum Products and You: Back to School Edition

By: Kevin J. Avery, ConocoPhillips Vice President, Federal Government Affairs

I like to consider myself a lifelong learner. And to be candid, quite often this learning comes when I am trying to answer questions from my equally inquisitive son. “Why does that happen?” and “Where does that come from?” are common queries in our house.

As I prepared to send him off to fifth grade, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the many ways that my job and industry touch his daily life while answering his many questions about how things are made.

It’s easy to overlook how ubiquitous petroleum products are in our society. The moment students walk into a classroom, they are surrounded by petroleum-based materials. Their backpacks and binders, the chairs they sit in, the desks where they write, the whiteboards used by their teachers, the pens and papers and calculators they use to solve an equation — all of these are made with petroleum products.

The computers they use are also made predominantly with products derived from petroleum. In art class, they create their masterpiece using petroleum-based supplies. Students who play in the school band use instruments with components made from, you guessed it, petroleum products.

People often associate petroleum exclusively with oil and gas for transportation, cooking and heating our homes. While fuel represents a vital petroleum-based commodity, it is really the tip of the iceberg when considering its myriad uses. Having been involved in the petroleum industry for 15 years now, I’ve come to see it everywhere I go.

As you prepare your own kids for school each day, take a moment to look around. Notice the products that you use daily, like the items in your child’s backpack. Petroleum-based products are all around us — not only in the cars we drive, but in the products and materials we use every day to learn, grow and enrich our lives.

If you, or a young person in your life, are feeling inquisitive and would like to learn more about the variety of products made from natural gas and oil, please click here