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  1. (rare) plural of petroleum
    • 1769, William Lewis, An Experimental History of the Materia Medica, or of the Natural and Artificial Substances made use of in Medicine, 3rd edition, volume 2, page 143:
      Some mineral oils, procurable among ourselves, are used by the common people, and often with benefit. The empirical medicine, called British oil, is of the same nature with the petrolea; the genuine sort being extracted by distillation from a hard bitumen, or a kind of stone coal, found in Shropshire and other parts of England.
    • 1796, Antoine-François de Fourcroy, Elements of Chemistry, and Natural History: To which is Prefixed the Philosophy of Chemistry, pages 209–210:
      Moſt naturaliſts and chemiſts aſcribe the formation of petrolea to the decompoſition of ſolid bitumens by the action of ſubterraneous fires. Naphtha, they obſerve, appears to be the light oil which is firſt diſengaged by fire: that which follows after it, having colour and conſiſtency, forms the ſeveral ſorts of petroleum: And, laſtly, petrolea, united with earthy ſubſtances, or altered by acids, acquire the characteriſtics of mineral pitch, or piſsaſphaltus.
    • 1956, Petro/chem Engineer, page 2:
      SOME GEOCHEMISTRY RESEARCH RESULTS by the Bureau of Mines indicate that petrolea hydrocarbons can be produced from simulated petroleum-bearing sediments by gamma irradiation.
    • 1977, The Philosophical Magazine, page 212:
      Thus, as I have shown that there is a sort of gradation from naphtha to asphaltum, through a series of undefinable petrolea, so this analogy may be extended to the next general variety of the bitumens, coal.