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Crude Oil Refining


Crude Oil Refining & Upgrading By: Kelvin Wong, Kaying Ng, Shaheen Zangooi What is Crude Oil & Crude Oil Refining? Crude oil, also known as black gold, is a thick ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Crude Oil Refining

Crude Oil Refining Upgrading
  • By Kelvin Wong, Kaying Ng, Shaheen Zangooi

What is Crude Oil Crude Oil Refining?
  • Crude oil, also known as black gold, is a thick,
    dark brown or greenish flammable liquid, which is
    found in the upper strata of some regions of the
    Earth's crust
  • It is a complex mixture of various hydrocarbons,
    (mainly, alkanes), along with trances of other
    chemicals and compounds (e.g. Sulphur)
  • When extracted from underground, it ranges in
    density from very light to very heavy and in
    color, from yellow to black
  • Crude oil can be categorized as either "sweet
    crude" (where the sulphur content less than 0.5)
    or "sour crude," (where the sulphur content is at
    least 2.5)
  • Crude oil must undergo several separation
    processes so that its components can be obtained
    and used as fuels or converted to more valuable
  • The process of transforming crude oil into
    finished petroleum products (that the market
    demands) is called crude oil refining

An Oil Refinery
Distillation of Crude Oil
  • We can separate the components of crude oil by
    taking advantage of the differences in their
    boiling points. This is done by simply heating up
    crude oil, allowing it to vaporize, and then
    letting the vapor to condense at different levels
    of the distillation tower (depending on their
    boiling points). This process is called
    fractional distillation and the products of the
    fractional distillation of crude oil is called
  • A fraction from crude oil can be categorized into
    two categories
  • Refined Product A crude oil fraction which
    contains a lot of individual hydrocarbons (e.g.
    gasoline, asphalt, waxes, and lubricants)
  • Petrochemical Product A crude oil fraction which
    contain one or two specific hydrocarbons of high
    purity (e.g. benzene, toluene, and ethylene).

Crude Oil Refining
Short carbon chains Long carbon chains
Light molecules Heavy molecules
Low boiling points High boiling points
Gases very runny liquids Thick, viscous liquids
Very volatile Low volatility
Light colour Dark colour
Highly flammable Not very flammable
Fractions of Crude Oil Their Properties
Name Number of Carbon Atoms Boiling Point (C) Uses
Refinery Gas 3 or 4 below 30 Bottled Gas (propane or butane).
Gasoline 7 to 9 100 to 150 Fuel for car engines.
Naphtha 6 to 11 70 to 200 Solvents and used in gasoline.
Kerosene (paraffin) 11 to 18 200 to 300 Fuel for aircraft and stoves.
Diesel Oil 11 to 18 200 to 300 Fuel for road vehicles and trains.
Lubricating Oil 18 to 25 300 to 400 Lubricant for engines and machines.
Fuel Oil 20 to 27 350 to 450 Fuel for ships and heating.
Greases and Wax 25 to 30 400 to 500 Lubricants and candles.
Bitumen above 35 above 500 Road surface and roofing.
Chemical Processing
  • The fractions from crude oil are liable to
    undergo chemical processing to alter its
    structure and thus its properties
  • The sort of chemical processing employed depends
    largely on the market demand
  • Examples of chemical processes are as the
  • Cracking the process obtaining relatively simple
    and small hydrocarbon molecules from the breaking
    down of large, heavier and more complex
    hydrocarbon molecules.
  • Coking the process of breaking down bitumen into
    its fractions (done by a Coker)
  • Alkylation A process where the structure of a
    hydrocarbon molecule in one fraction is altered
    to produce another hydrocarbon molecule with
    another structure. In alkylation, compounds with
    a low molecular weight, such as propylene and
    butylene, are mixed in the presence of a catalyst
    such as hydrofluoric acid or sulfuric acid
  • Unification a process where two or more
    hydrocarbons are combined to produce a larger
    one. The major unification process is called
    catalytic reforming and occurs in the presence of
    a catalyst (platinum, platinum-rhenium mix) to
    combine low weight naphtha into aromatics

Treatment Processes
  • Chemical sweetening, acid treating, clay
    contacting, caustic washing, hydro treating,
    drying, solvent extraction, and solvent dewaxing.
    Sweetening compounds and acids desulphurize crude
    oil before processing and treat products during
    and after processing.
  • Clay Treating
  • Use clay to soak up and remove unwanted
    components in petroleum
  • Dilute the oil with solvent and freeze the oil
  • During the freezing process, wax will be solidify
    leaving only the pure oil in liquid phase
  • Acid treating
  • Using concentrated sulphuric acid to convert
    sludge from the oil
  • Expensive
  • SO2 Treating
  • Using a very toxic recyclable solvent to remove
    the worst components in oil

Treatment The Finishing Touch
  • Impurities such as organic compounds containing
    sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen, water, dissolved
    metals and inorganic salts must be removed from
    the distillated and chemically processed
  • Treating is typically done by passing the
    fractions through the following
  • a column of sulphuric acid - removes unsaturated
    hydrocarbons (hydrocarbons with carbon-carbon
    double-bonds), nitrogen compounds, oxygen
    compounds and residual solids (tars, asphalt)
  • an absorption column filled with drying agents to
    dehydrate the fraction
  • sulphur treatment and hydrogen-sulphide scrubbers
    to remove sulphur and sulphur compounds
  • Today, a major portion of refining involves
    blending, purifying, fine-tuning and improving
    products to meet specific requirements
  • Example Refinery workers carefully blend
    together a variety of hydrocarbons to make 
    petrol. Moreover to distinguish the various
    grades of fuel, technicians add performance
    additives and dyes. At the end of the production
    of petrol, the petrol contains more than 200
    hydrocarbons and additives

Refining Capacities
Why Upgrade An Oil Refinery?
  • Oil refining releases carbon dioxide into the
  • Response to changing market demands for certain
  • Government regulations
  • Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA90)
  • Changing consumer demand for better and different
  • Decrease the number of non-hydrocarbons,
    impurities, and other constituents
  • Potential physical, mechanical, chemical, and
    health hazards are recognized in air

Accomplishment of Oil Refinery Upgrading
  • The emissions of pollutants from oil refining
    decreased significantly over the past decade due
    to the new technology implemented into the oil
    refining techniques

Solvent-Refining Process
  • Uses chemicals (fairly safe recyclable solvent)
    to dissolve one part of the oil from another
  • Removes heavy materials and wax (undesirable
    component by extraction)

  • How Stuff Works. 1998. How Oil Refining Works?.
    Online. http//
  • UTS Energy Corporation. 2005. Glossary. Online
  • 2005. Products of Oil.
    Online http//
  • Alan G. Lucas. 2000. Modern Petroleum Technology
    Volume 2. New York John Wiley Sons Inc.
  • Douglas M. Ruthren. 1997. Encyclopaedia of
    Separation Technology Volume 2. New York John
    Wiley Sons Inc.