- Oil Refining Keys and Trends
- Technicals of Refineries 101
- Downstream Processing to create Feedstocks
- Plastics Manufacturing
- Heating Hydrocarbons - Refinery Oil Efficiency
- Midstream - Transportation and Infrastructure
Oil Refining Keys and Trends
Technicals of Refineries 101
Different Kinds of Crude - Sweet and Sour
The refining process begins with crude oil. Crude oil is unrefined liquid petroleum.
Crude oil is composed of thousands of different chemical compounds called hydrocarbons, all with different boiling points.
Heating the oil
Distillation creates fuels - gasoline, jet fuel and diesel
Petroleum refining separates crude oil into components used for a variety of purposes. The crude petroleum is heated and the hot gases are passed into the bottom of a distillation column. As the gases move up the height of the column, the gases cool below their boiling point and condense into a liquid.
The liquids are then drawn off the distilling column at specific heights to obtain fuels like gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel.
Heavy Liquid Cracking
The liquids are processed further to make more gasoline or other finished products.
Some of the liquids undergo additional processing after the distillation process to create other products. These processes include: cracking, which is breaking down large molecules of heavy oils; reforming, which is changing molecular structures of low-quality gasoline molecules; and isomerization, which is rearranging the atoms in a molecule so that the product has the same chemical formula but has a different structure. These processes ensure that every drop of crude oil in a barrel is converted into a usable product.
Tars and Semi-Solids
Downstream Processing to create Feedstocks
Downstream Processing enables crude oil to be transformed into useful and affordable products. A feedstock is a raw material that is used to make a useful product in an industrial process.
Ethylene, propylene and butylenes, along with benzene, toluene and xylenes, are six feedstock - the fundamental building blocks of plastics. They can be mostly derived from natural gas liquids from crude. When it is vital to produce millions of tons, it is easier to start from existing or crack down from larger molecules.
Natural Gas is critical ingredient for downstream
Natural gas liquids and naphtha that is created from crude oil during the refining process are used as feedstocks to manufacture a wide variety of petrochemicals.
When using natural gas liquids to create petrochemicals, we separate it into ethane, propane and butanes.
Most people know propane as what you use to power your barbecue. But in industry it can also be used as feedstock to create petrochemicals.
Propane can be cracked to make propylene and butylenes or can also undergo a newer process that plucks hydrogen atoms from them to form the double-bonds.
Butane is known to consumers as what fuels your lighter. But in industry it can also be used as feedstock to create petrochemicals.
Butane can be cracked to make propylene and butylenes or can also undergo a newer process that plucks hydrogen atoms from them to form the double-bonds.
Ethane - essential for building block of Plastics
Ethane is an important feedstock because its structure is the simplest of the hydrocarbons, and it can be transformed into novel plastics that have remarkable and useful properties.
Ethane is first converted to ethylene using a process called cracking. Ethane is fed into a large, complex piece of equipment called a cracker. It uses high temperatures to crack the bonds between carbons.
Physics then takes over, and the carbons form two bonds (also known as a double-bond) with each other that make a new hydrocarbon molecule called ethylene.
Ethylene, propylene and butylenes, along with benzene, toluene and xylenes, are six of the fundamental building blocks of plastics. They can be mostly derived from natural gas liquids from crude. When it is vital to produce millions of tons, it is easier to start from existing or crack down from larger molecules.
In that sense, making these six building blocks is a far better use of crude than simply burning it up.
Plastic polymerization to make long chains and sheets
These six petrochemicals can be made into plastics, nylons, polyesters, etc., that are then transformed into items like bicycle helmets, lightweight car bumpers, space suits, medical devices and wind turbines.
They make nylon stronger so seatbelts and parachute straps are safer.
Polyester for Clothing and Active-Wear
They make workout clothes sweat resistant.
Plastics replacing Steel in Cars
They make cars lighter so they are more fuel efficient.
Heating Hydrocarbons - Refinery Oil Efficiency
Heat Exchangers for efficiency
Midstream - Transportation and Infrastructure
The “midstream infrastructure” is an integrated system of pipelines, ports and waterways, railroads, roadways and storage facilities that support moving America’s energy supplies from producer to consumer.
Mainly Pipeline Networks - Private
The United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world. There are 76,000 miles of crude oil pipelines, 69,000 miles of natural gas liquid (NGL) pipelines and 62,000 miles of refined-product pipelines in operation in the United States. Pipelines are the primary mode for transporting refined products to distribution terminals serving consumer markets. Pipelines provide a safe, reliable, efficient and cost-effective way to move bulk liquids, particularly over long distances.
While many companies are involved, together they combine an infrastructure of pipelines, refineries, and transportation systems
Investments in pipelines, terminals and railroads are needed by private investors.
Heavy Investment by Government in Ports to import crude
The energy infrastructure network in the US represents decades of continued investment in ports is needed by federal, state and local governments.
Local Roads and Highways for deliveries of petrol to gas stations
The final last few hundred miles of journey is done over highways and local roads - mainly governmental investments.
Railroads - limited - transport more coal than oil and gas
Environmental Concerns, Regulation and Spillages
The oil industry heavily lobbies to ensure barriers and bureaucracies are minimized in order to take full advantage of what increased energy production provides.
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