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Desulfurization of petroleum residual oil using steam was examined with a complex metal oxide catalyst including iron, zirconium, and aluminum. Heavy oil was decomposed with the catalyst and the sulfur content in oil decreased. Hydrogen sulfide was generated after the reaction with steam, while the amount of hydrogen sulfide was negligible small in the reaction without steam. These results suggest that sulfur compounds in residual oil might have reacted with hydrogen species derived from steam when oxygen species derived from steam were added to iron oxide lattice and reacted with heavy oil.