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Petroleum products and derivatives

Petroleum derivatives and their applications

The word oil is derived from the Latin word Petra meaning stone and Odeum meaning oil. The reason why it is named like this is because, like many other minerals, it is derived from rocks. It is also known as “mineral oil”. Petroleum products are the output of an oil refinery. A typical refinery produces a wide range of different products from each barrel of crude oil it processes. In general, refineries operate to produce as many high-value light products (gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel) as they can, while other products function primarily as byproducts. In this article, we learn about the uses of crude oil and various types of petroleum derivatives.

What are the uses of crude oil and oil derivatives?

Crude oil and petroleum fossil fuels are mixtures of hydrocarbons formed from the remains of animals and plants, or diatoms, that lived millions of years ago in marine environments before the existence of dinosaurs.

Applications of crude oil and diatoms
Constituents of crude oil

Over millions of years, the remains of these animals and plants were covered by layers of sand, silt, and rock. The heat and pressure from these layers turned the remains into what we now call crude oil or petroleum. The word oil means rock oil or oil from the ground.

The formation of petroleum derivatives from 400 million years ago to today and the uses of crude oil

Crude oil and other hydrocarbons exist as liquids or gases in underground pools or reservoirs, in small spaces within sedimentary rocks, and near the surface in tar (or oil) sands. Petroleum products are fuels that are made from crude oil and petroleum derivatives of hydrocarbons found in natural gas. Petroleum products can also be made from coal, natural gas and biomass.

Part by part distillation

Fractional distillation is a process by which oil refineries separate crude oil into different and more useful hydrocarbon petroleum derivatives based on their relative molecular weight in a distillation tower. It is the first step in crude oil processing and is considered as the primary separation process because it performs the primary separation of the various fuels. The various components that are separated during this process are known as components. Petroleum derivatives of the distillation tower are useful products that arise from the use of crude oil.

Classification of oil cuttings in the distillation tower

There are various methods for classifying useful petroleum products that are distilled from crude oil. A general way is to divide crude oil applications into three categories: light, medium and heavy cuts.

Heavier fractions condense at higher temperatures and are removed at the bottom of the column. Lighter cuttings can go higher in the column before cooling to their condensation temperature, allowing them to be removed at slightly higher levels. In addition, the slices have the following features:

However, there are two main components that do not count in these three categories.

  • At the top of the tower are gases such as propane and butane, which are too volatile to condense.
  • At the bottom is the “residue” which contains heavy bitumen too dense for the tower to rise, including bitumen and other waxes. For further distillation, they undergo steam or vacuum distillation as they are very useful.

Oil and petroleum products

After the crude oil is extracted from the ground, it is sent to a refinery where the different parts of the crude oil are separated into usable petroleum products. These petroleum products are mainly petroleum derivatives of the distillation tower, which include gasoline, distillates such as diesel and heating oil, jet fuel, petrochemical raw materials, wax, lubricating oils and bitumen-asphalt.

Some of the main products of a typical refinery are:

  • Propane: Used as a feedstock for ethylene cracking, or mixed with LPG for use as fuel.
  • Butane: Used as feedstock for ethylene cracking, or blended for use as fuel in LPG-LPG.
  • Liquid gas – LPG gas: a combination of propane and butane that is used as fuel.
  • CNG: Also known as compressed natural gas. It is produced by compressing natural methane gas to less than 1% of its volume.
  • Light naphtha: used as a raw material in ethylene crackers.
  • Gasoline: Used as transportation fuel for passenger cars and light trucks.
  • Aircraft gasoline: used as engine fuel in light aircraft.
  • Jet fuel: Used as fuel for jet aircraft.
  • Fuel oil: used as household fuel for cooking, heating and lighting.
  • Diesel fuel: used as fuel for heavy trucks, trains and heavy equipment.
  • Industrial Diesel: Used as furnace fuel in industrial plants and commercial/residential heating (heating oil).
  • Fuel oils: used as fuel in electricity generation and large ocean-going ships (storage fuel).

Special or non-fuel products of refineries from petroleum derivatives:

  • Bitumen-asphalt: used for paving roads and in the manufacture of building materials (eg, roof shingles).
  • Base oils: Used to make lubricating oils for use in industrial machinery and vehicle engines.
  • Liquid Paraffin Oil: It is a mineral oil and is a by-product of crude oil distillation. It is a clear, colorless, odorless and tasteless oil composed mainly of high-boiling alkane derivatives.
  • Propylene: can be separated for sale to petrochemical industries.
  • Aromatics: can be separated from reformate for sale to the petrochemical industry.
  • Wax: It is extracted from lubricating oil and is either sold as a raw material for the production of specialized wax (as slack wax) or converted into a final wax product in a refinery.
  • Grease: As a solid lubricating oil, it is mostly used in industrial applications.
  • White oil: It is a colorless, odorless and tasteless oil that is used in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
  • White spirit: Naphtha range material used as industrial or household solvent.
  • Sulfur: When present in other products, it is a pollutant, but after separation (desulfurization), it can be sold as a feedstock to the petrochemical industry.

Applications of crude oil and petroleum products

Petrochemical industries, transportation, defense industries, technology, industry, trade, research and development and many other aspects of human activities are directly or indirectly related to the use of oil or its by-products. It provides fuel for heat and lighting, machinery lubricants, and raw materials for a number of manufacturing industries. In general, the uses of crude oil and petroleum derivatives are as follows:

Use of crude oil in transportation

Oil is the key source of energy for transportation. Nearly two-thirds of transportation fuels are obtained from oil. Transportation fuels that consist of petroleum derivatives include gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), jet fuel, and marine fuel. While gasoline is used in cars, motorcycles, light trucks, and boats, diesel is used as fuel by trucks, buses, trains, boats, and ships. Jet planes and some types of helicopters use kerosene, which is a byproduct of oil refining.

Use of crude oil in electricity production

Although oil is mainly used in transportation, it is also used in electricity generation. A fossil fuel power plant uses oil or natural gas to generate electricity (through a turbine). Electricity generation from oil still makes a significant contribution to the energy mix of many countries, even though coal is the main source of electricity generation, however, oil-fired power plants cause significant environmental pollution. Oil plants also consume large amounts of water.

Use of crude oil in lubricants

Lubricants, which are derived from petroleum, are used in many machines in almost all industries. Lubricants are used in all kinds of cars and industrial machines to reduce friction. In addition, they are used in cooking, biological applications on humans, ultrasound and medical examinations. Lubricants usually contain 90% base oil, which are usually petroleum derivatives.

Medicinal uses of crude oil

Petroleum byproducts such as mineral oil and crude oil applications are used in the manufacture of creams and topical medications. Although most drugs are composed of complex organic molecules, their basis is linked to simple organic molecules, which are mostly petroleum byproducts.

Application of petroleum products in agriculture

Among the applications of crude oil, it is used in the production of ammonia, which is used as a source of nitrogen in agricultural fertilizers. To achieve this product, pesticides are widely used in the agricultural sector. Most of the pesticides are produced from oil and in addition, the machines for agricultural work also use oil. In this way, agriculture is one of the major consumers of oil.

Use of crude oil in chemical industry

Petroleum products are used as raw materials by many chemical companies. Applications of crude oil are used in the manufacture of chemical fertilizers, synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber, nylon, plastics, pesticides and insecticides, perfumes, dyes, etc. Refinement of crude oil leads to the production of several by-products that are used in the manufacture of various products for domestic and industrial use. Major petroleum by-products include plastics, detergents, naphtha, grease, petroleum jelly, wax and butadiene, etc.

Domestic use of oil and its derivatives

Another use of crude oil is in household products. Many household products such as detergents, petroleum jelly, wax, etc. are derived from petroleum. Kerosene is a petroleum byproduct that is still used in many countries for cooking, lighting, and other household purposes.