Petroleum is a naturally occurring chemical found in the Earth's subsoil. It was formed millions of years ago from decomposing plants and animals. For this reason, it is considered a fossil fuel like natural gas and coal.
Oil is a valuable resource because it can be used as an energy source from which many derivative products such as gasoline, lubricating oil, asphalt, and others can be obtained.
Crude oil is a mixture of cyclic or acyclic hydrocarbons and other compounds. In order to use it, the petrochemical industry performs a refining process to separate different compounds. Gasoline, for example, is made through the process of distilling crude oil. Other petroleum products include diesel, kerosene, coke, and asphalt.
Petroleum products are materials derived from crude oil.
This process is usually done at oil refineries. Unlike distillates, which are precisely defined pure compounds, byproducts are complex mixtures. Most of the hydrocarbon is converted into by-products that include various kinds of fuel.
Petroleum refineries can produce various by-products depending on the composition of the crude oil, the market demand, and the refinery process.
What Are the Major Products of Petroleum Refining?
Most petroleum products are used as "energy carriers," for example, various types of fuel oil and gasoline. These fuels include or can be blended to produce kerosene, diesel, and other heavy fuels.
The heavier (less volatile) particles can also be used to produce asphalt, tar, paraffin, lubes, and other heavy oils.
Refineries also produce other chemicals. Some are used in chemical processes to make plastics and other valuable materials.
Because petroleum often contains various percentages of sulfur-containing molecules, the latter is usually produced as a byproduct. Carbon, in the form of petroleum coke, and hydrogen can also be made as by-products.
The hydrogen produced is often used as an intermediate for other processes in the refinery, such as cracking and hydrodesulfurization.
In summary, the major refined products are:
Liquefied petroleum gas fuels such as propane stored and transported, and pressurized in specialized trains to distributors.
Mixed liquid fuels (gasoline, gasoline jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, paints, cleaning products). Barges, trains, or tankers transport them. They can be transported regionally through special pipelines, especially jet fuel, to major airports.
Lubricants (light machine oils, motor oils, grease, viscous stabilizer addition) are usually shipped together to packaging companies.
Paraffin wax used in the packaging of frozen foods: They can be sent together to packaging companies.
Raw wax consisting of a mixture of oil and wax used as a precursor for paraffin, candles, oxide coatings, and vapor barriers.
Sulfur, a by-product of sulfur removal from petroleum, contains a percentage of organo-sulfur compounds.
Tar, for transport to masonry companies and use on roofs.
Asphalt is used as a binder for gravel in the formation of asphalt, which is used in roads and other surfaces.
Heating oil: light heating oil is used for heating houses and apartments. Heavy fuel oil production was used in heating plants and heating plants in the past. Today it is being replaced by a more ecological type of fuel.
Petroleum coke is used in some carbon products, such as electrodes or solid fuels.
Distillates and raw materials for producing polymers (plastics, synthetic fibers, or synthetic fabrics) and pharmaceuticals (ethylene and benzene).
A refinery is an industrial plant where crude oil is converted and refined into more useful products such as gasoline, diesel, asphalt, kerosene, propane-butane, fuel oil, and lubricants.
Refineries are typically large industrial complexes with numerous pipelines that carry fluid flows between large chemical process aggregates. These plants use multiple technologies and are considered chemical plants. In addition, they often have auxiliary facilities and storage tanks.
Each refinery has its arrangement of refining processes, primarily determined by the plant's location, the products produced, and economic considerations.
Which Petroleum Product Is Used for Surfacing Roads?
Asphalt is a petroleum product that is used for surfacing roads. It is a black or dark brown viscous liquid composed of bitumen, minerals, and organic materials. This product is produced through the process of distillation, which separates the lighter fractions from the heavy crude oil. The heavy crude oil is then further processed to produce asphalt.
Asphalt has been used for centuries for its waterproofing and binding properties. In the early 1800s, it was first used as a pavements material in London. By the mid-1900s, it had become the most widely used paving material in the United States.
Today, it continues to be one of the most popular surfacing materials due to its durability, ease of maintenance, and relatively low cost.