The westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Black Sea to the southeast, the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The economic and political association of 27 European member states, the European Union (EU) has developed a single market through which a standardized system of laws apply, and under this union, sixteen member states have adopted the euro as its common currency. In 2006, the EU had a gross inland energy consumption of 1,825 million tonnes of oil equivalent, with nuclear energy as the primary source of energy produced in the region. Currently, the EU imports around 82% of its oil and 57% of its natural gas resources.
Metallurgy is a branch of engineering that studies the chemical and physical elements of metals, their compounds, and their mixtures, known as alloys. Materials engineers manage the research, analysis, specification, design and development of materials through understanding their behaviors and properties. This is vital to improving the performance, durability, cost-effectiveness and technological advancement of finished products.