I love this simple graphic:


What’s in Crude Oil and How Do We Use It?  

Source: MoJo


Category: Markets

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5 Responses to “What is in Crude Oil?”

  1. Joe says:

    A distillation unit is a boiler in combination with a fractionating column. Typically it is one of the first processes the oil sees after the rocks and dinosaur bones are strained out. The rectangle above is usually a column wherein the hot crude oil is allowed to stratify and the volatile gaseous products are boiled off the top and the heavier portions of the crude are bled off at the appropriate level. Proportions depend on the “weight” of the crude. Distilation is the “first cut”. Further processing allows heavier, longer chain molecules to be “cracked” into more desireable lighter products or combined into longer chain products.

  2. rj chicago says:

    Excuse the pun but when my grandfather (who was in the oil business) used to tell me how oil was distilled he referred to the process as the ‘crack spread’. Cracking oil is the process by which different products are ‘squeezed’ out of a barrel of oil and the spread is the temperature by which those products are made. One thing that is missing is the ‘muck’ at the bottom of the ‘still’. That would be grease. Nothing in the barrel goes to waste folks.

  3. Lyle says:

    A bit more detail, the graphic combines two fractionating units into one. First comes fractionation at atmospheric pressure, covering down thru the distallate range. Because crude cracks if heated beyond about 700f. the higner boiling point fractions are then distilled in a vacuum fractionating tower. However even this still leaves the residual oil. As noted by Joe a good bit of the gas oil is then cracked down to lighther fractions in cat crackers and the like. Further some of the butane and lighter products are reformed into heavier fractions. (Since the Gasoline Kerosene and Distillates are products most in demand by volume). Now the base oil for lubicants also comes from distillates and higher boiling point fractions.
    Resid oil is used in ships industrial plants and large scale heating.

    • peggysue says:

      Ur description is absolutely correct! Motor oil from muck at bottom of still, indeed, rj!
      Motor oil is a blend of distillates and purchased additives to enhance performance.


  4. boveri says:

    Joe’s comment made it all better understandable.