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When referring to Oil "Erdöl", is the term "Abbau" correct, or is it just for coal and other minerals?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

It's "Förderung" or "Gewinnung".
"Abbau" doesn't fit, because you just have channel the oil, or pump it out. There is no "hacking" involved. Also, "Abbau" in context of oil means to "degrade" it.

"Förderung" is also used for coal and other minerals like gold, by the way.

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A general rule of thumb is that "Abbau" includes visible excavations on the surface (Brown coal mining), whereas "Förderung" is usually underground. –  Mark Jul 21 '14 at 5:42
@Mark I think this would be a wrong rule of thumb. See 6a in duden.de/rechtschreibung/Abbau . There they mention both Tiefbau and Tagebau. And IMHO there is nothing unusual or wrong in "Im Ruhrgebiet wird die Steinkohle unter Tage abgebaut.", for example. –  Matthias Aug 2 '14 at 19:41

There are already the correct answers about "Förderung" or "Gewinnung" for liquid oil.

But oil can also be find as Ölschiefer (Oil shale) This Ölschiefer is abgebaut, followed by the extraction of the oil.

Again, there is no Abbau of the oil itself, but for the pre-product Ölschiefer.

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thanks, interesting info :) –  Matthaeus Jul 21 '14 at 14:40

No, it is only used for mining raw materials in solid state and wouldn't work for liquids or gases.

Abbau literally translates to deconstruct, to take apart. It is the opposite of aufbauen, even when used metaphorically (aufbauen: build up, improve; abbauen: reduce, degrade). Both meanings don't really fit in the context of extracting liquids from the ground.

As Emanuel already stated, the most common terms are Förderung and Gewinnung.

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