Oil is a general term that describes a wide variety of natural substances of plant, animal, or mineral origin, as well as a range of synthetic compounds. The many different types of oil are made up of hundreds of major compounds and thousands of minor ones. This chapter discusses petroleum oils and petroleum products. As their composition varies, each type of oil or petroleum product has certain unique characteristics or properties. These properties influence how the oil behaves when it is spilled and determine the effects of the oil on living organisms in the environment. These properties also influence the efficiency of cleanup operations. This book deals specifically with crude oils and petroleum products derived from crude oils. The chemical composition and physical properties of these oils are described in this chapter.