The ability of petroleum to migrate and its susceptibility to alteration complicate determination of its origin. The distribution of petroleum with respect to all geologic factors is reviewed and synthesized, and the occurrence of petroleum-like substances in Recent sediments is reviewed. General principles of origin must be found which apply to all accumulations. A dominantly organic source is accepted, and the author recommends continued development of chemical methods and study, first of common oil accumulations, particularly huge accumulations of major fields, and continued study of geochemistry and distribution of organic matter in recent and near-recent sediments.

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