are useful materials derived from crude oil (petroleum
) as it is processed in oil refineries
According to crude oil composition and demand, refineries can produce different shares of petroleum products. Largest share of oil products is used as energy carriers: various grades of fuel oil and gasoline. Refineries also produce other chemicals, some of which are used in chemical processes to produce plastics and other useful materials. Since petroleum often contains a couple of percent sulfur, large quantities of sulfur are also often produced as a petroleum product. Hydrogen and carbon in the form of petroleum coke may also be produced as petroleum products. The hydrogen produced is often used as an intermediate product for other oil refinery processes such as hydrogen catalytic cracking (hydrocracking) and hydrodesulfurization.
Major products of oil refineries
Specialty end products
Oil refineries will blend various feedstocks, mix appropriate additives, provide short term storage, and prepare for bulk loading to trucks, barges, product ships, and railcars.
- Gaseous fuels such as propane, stored and shipped in liquid form under pressure in specialized railcars to distributors.
- Liquid fuels blending (producing automotive and aviation grades of gasoline, kerosene, various aviation turbine fuels, and diesel fuels, adding dyes, detergents, antiknock additives, oxygenates, and anti-fungal compounds as required). Shipped by barge, rail, and tanker ship. May be shipped regionally in dedicated pipelines to point consumers, particularly aviation jet fuel to major airports, or piped to distributors in multi-product pipelines using product separators called pipeline inspection gauges ("pigs").
- Lubricants (produces light machine oils, motor oils, and greases, adding viscosity stabilizers as required), usually shipped in bulk to an offsite packaging plant.
- Wax (paraffin), used in the packaging of frozen foods, among others. May be shipped in bulk to a site to prepare as packaged blocks.
- Sulfur (or sulfuric acid), byproducts of sulfur removal from petroleum which may have up to a couple percent sulfur as organic sulfur-containing compounds. Sulfur and sulfuric acid are useful industrial materials. Sulfuric acid is usually prepared and shipped as the acid precursor oleum.
- Bulk tar shipping for offsite unit packaging for use in tar-and-gravel roofing or similar uses.
- Asphalt - used as a binder for gravel to form asphalt concrete, which is used for paving roads, lots, etc. An asphalt unit prepares bulk asphalt for shipment.
- Petroleum coke, used in specialty carbon products such as certain types of electrodes, or as solid fuel.
- Petrochemicals or petrochemical feedstocks, which are often sent to petrochemical plants for further processing in a variety of ways. The petrochemicals may be olefins or their precursors, or various types of aromatic petrochemicals.
- Petrochemicals have a vast variety of uses. They are commonly used as monomers or feedstocks for monomer production. Olefins such as alpha-olefins and dienes are often used as monomers, although aromatics can also be used as monomer precursors. The monomers are then polymerized in various ways to form polymers. Polymer materials can be used as plastics, elastomers, or fibers, or possibly some intermediate form of these material types. Some polymers are also used as gels or lubricants. Petrochemicals can also be used as solvents or as feedstock for producing solvents. Petrochemicals can also be used as precursors for a wide variety of chemicals and substances such as vehicle fluids, surfactants for cleaners, etc.
- Lanolin - lanolin based products are a natural alternative to toxic petro-chemical sprays and degreasers