The principal elements are found in various combinations, the hydrocarbons of the Pennsylvania oils being mainly paraffins (q.v.), while those of Caucasian petroleum belong for the most part to the naphthenes, isomeric with the olefines (q.v.).
Paraffins are found in all crude oils, and olefines in varying proportions in the majority, while acetylene has been found in Baku oil; members of the benzene group and its derivatives, notably benzene and toluene, occur in all petroleums. Naphthenes are the chief components of some oils, as already indicated, and occur in varying quantities in many others.
Natural gas is found to consist mainly of the lower paraffins, with varying quantities of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen, in some cases also sulphuretted hydrogen and possibly ammonia.
The product actually obtained is a mixture of several paraffins and several olefines.
The same difference attends the introduction of the methyl group into many classes of compounds, for example, the paraffins, olefines, acetylenes, aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones and esters, while a slightly lower value (157.1) is found in the case of the halogen compounds, nitriles, amines, acids, ethers, sulphides and nitro compounds.