The oil industry, better known as the petroleum industry, is one of the major drivers of modern industrial growth and development throughout the world. Petroleum plays a significant role in many industries as it is a major source of fuel oil and petrol. It also provides raw material for various types of chemical industries such as pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, plastics, etc. Petroleum industrialists operate units engaged in the exploration, production, transportation, processing and refining of petroleum products. In many countries like the U.S, the government provides heavy subsidies to these industries which make it an attractive option for investors. Even though petroleum in its crude form had been in usage for thousands of years, its demand as an industrial product began increasing only by the 19th century. It was during the 1850’s that oil wells, refineries and drilling units began springing up all over the world. However, petroleum is a non-renewable natural resource which will eventually be depleted after some years. This looming threat of world oil depletion has made scientists from all over the world look for alternative sources of energy for the future. Read on to browse through a list of world famous oil barons and read their biographies and timelines.