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In its strictest sense, petroleum includes only crude oil, but in common usage it includes

both crude oil and natural gas. Both crude oil and natural gas are predominantly a mixture
of hydrocarbons. Under surface pressure and temperature conditions, the lighter
hydrocarbons methane, ethane, propane and butane occur as gases, while the heavier ones
from pentane and up are in the form of liquids or solids. However, in the underground oil
reservoir the proportion which is gas or liquid varies depending on the subsurface
conditions, and on the phase diagram of the petroleum mixture. An oil well produces
predominantly crude oil, with some natural gas dissolved in it. Because the pressure is
lower at the surface than underground, some of the gas will come out of solution and be
recovered (or burned) as associated gas or solution gas. A gas well produces
predominately natural gas. However, because the underground temperature and pressure
are higher than at the surface, the gas may contain heavier hydrocarbons such as pentane,
hexane, and heptane in the gaseous state. Under surface conditions these will condense
out of the gas and form natural gas condensate, often shortened to condensate.
Condensate resembles gasoline in appearance and is similar in composition to some
volatile light crude oils.The proportion of hydrocarbons in the petroleum mixture is
highly variable between different oil fields and ranges from as much as 97% by weight in
the lighter oils to as little as 50% in the heavier oils and bitumens.The hydrocarbons in
crude oil are mostly alkanes, cycloalkanes and various aromatic hydrocarbons while the
other organic compounds contain nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur, and trace amounts of
metals such as iron, nickel, copper and vanadium. The exact molecular composition
varies widely from formation to formation but the proportion of chemical elements vary
over fairly narrow limits as follows:

Petroleum Formation
Petroleum formation occurs by various hydrocarbons combining with certain minerals
such as sulphur under extreme pressure. Modern day scientists have proven that most if
not all petroleum fields were created by the remains of small animal and plant life being
compressed on the sea bed by billions of tons of silt and sand several million years
ago.When small sea plants and animals die they will sink, they will then lie on the sea
bed where they will decompose and mix with sand and silt. During the decomposition
process tiny bacteria will clean the remains of certain chemicals such as phosphorus,
nitrogen and oxygen.This leaves the remains consisting of mainly carbon and hydrogen.
At the bottom of the ocean there is insufficient oxygen for the corpse to decompose
entirely. What we are left with is the raw materials for the formation of petroleum.The
partially decomposed remains will form a large, gelatinous mass, which will then slowly
become covered by multiple layers of sand, silt and mud. This burying process takes
millions of years, with layers piling up one atop another.As the depth of the sediment
build up increases the weight of the sand and silt pressing down on the mass will
compress it into a layer which is much thinner than the original.Finally, when the depth
of the buried decomposing layer reaches somewhere around 10,000 feet the natural heat
of the earth and the intense pressure will combine to act upon the mass. The end result,
over time, is the formation of petroleum.With petroleum formation the actual temperature
applied to the original organic mass is critical in determining the overall properties of the
resulting petroleum. Typically lower temperatures during petroleum formation will result
in thicker, darker raw petroleum deposits, the most solid of which being a bitumen
substance.If the heat applied during the formation of petroleum process fluctuates too
much then gas will be produced, often separating from the petroleum, sometimes
remaining mixed with the raw oil. If temperatures are too high, in the somewhere over
450 degrees Fahrenheit then the original biomass will be destroyed and no gas or
petroleum is formed.As the mud and silt above the deposit become heavier and the forces
placed upon the silt and mud begin to change the bottom layers of the compressing layer
above the petroleum then it will turn into shale.As the shale forms the oil will be forced
out of its original area of formation. The raw petroleum then moves to a new rock
formation, usually termed a reservoir rock, and lays trapped until it is accessed in some
way.As we can see, the formation of naturally occurring raw petroleum takes millions of
years, certainly far longer than can be deemed renewable, yet mankind has managed to
almost complete deplete the world supply in little more than a century.It is important that
people are educated and come to realize that burning such a precious fuel, which takes so
long to form, at such a rate as we do now is nothing short of disastrous for the

According to generally accepted theory, petroleum is derived from ancient biomass.[14] It

is a fossil fuel derived from ancient fossilized organic materials. The theory was initially
based on the isolation of molecules from petroleum that closely resemble known
biomolecules (Figure).

Structure of vanadium porphyrin compound extracted from petroleum by Alfred Treibs,

father of organic geochemistry. Treibs noted the close structural similarity of this
molecule and chlorophyll a.

More specifically, crude oil and natural gas are products of heating of ancient organic
materials (i.e. kerogen) over geological time. Formation of petroleum occurs from
hydrocarbon pyrolysis, in a variety of mostly endothermic reactions at high temperature
and/or pressure.[15] Today's oil formed from the preserved remains of prehistoric
zooplankton and algae, which had settled to a sea or lake bottom in large quantities under
anoxic conditions (the remains of prehistoric terrestrial plants, on the other hand, tended
to form coal). Over geological time the organic matter mixed with mud, and was buried
under heavy layers of sediment resulting in high levels of heat and pressure (diagenesis).
This process caused the organic matter to change, first into a waxy material known as
kerogen, which is found in various oil shales around the world, and then with more heat
into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons via a process known as catagenesis.

Geologists often refer to the temperature range in which oil forms as an "oil window"[16]
—below the minimum temperature oil remains trapped in the form of kerogen, and above
the maximum temperature the oil is converted to natural gas through the process of
thermal cracking. Sometimes, oil which is formed at extreme depths may migrate and
become trapped at much shallower depths than where it was formed. The Athabasca Oil
Sands is one example of this.

Petroleum Refining and

Refining petroleum is a good example of separating a mixture into its
components.The most familiar product from a refinery is the gasoline that goes
into your car. However, this is just one small fraction of the products that come
out of a petroleum refinery.The starting product is crude oil. This is usually drilled
out of the ground or from under the sea at various places (Middle East, North
Sea, South America, Southern US, Western US, Alaska etc). This raw product
then is piped or shipped to an oil refinery. The purpose of a refinery is to
"fractionate" the crude oil into more useful parts. The crude oil can be considered
a mixture of several different compounds. The crude oil is sent to a distillation
tower where it is heated up. When heated, some of the oil will vaporize and rise
up the tower. Because different parts of the oil boil at different temperatures – in
general the "lighter" components boil at a lower temperature and the "heavier"
components boil at a higher temperature – the lighter components in the vapor
will keep rising when heavier components will start to condense. So the
components are separated bottom to top, heavy to light. This allows the refinery
to collect the different "fractions" of the crude.

Useful Products
The very top fraction from the distillation column is the light gases – such as ethane
(C2H6) and propane (C3H8), which is used in some gas burners.

Gasoline is also a light fraction (though not as light as the light gases) – it usually
consists of compounds containing 5-10 carbon atoms per molecule.

Kerosene (like the kerosene oil needed for lamps) is slightly heavier than gasoline.
The fuel that diesel trucks use is heavier than that used by cars. The diesel truck engine
and the car engine are different and require different types of fuel.

The heavier fractions from the distillation column are not as useful. The heaviest part
(which often does not boil) can be made into asphalt, which is used to surface roads.
However, most of the heavy fraction can be sent to the rest of the refinery to be broken
down and remade (through cracking and reforming) into the more useful lighter fractions.

Application to the Mixtures and Solutions Unit - If you heated a mixture of water
(boiling point - 100 C or 212 F), ethanol (boiling point - 78 C or 172 F) and
diatomaceous earth, the ethanol would start to boil first because of its lower boiling point.
This would represent the light fraction. As the boiling continued, the vapor (a mixture of
ethanol and water) would become progressively enriched in water, representing the
middle fractions. What would not boil off would be the diatomaceous earth, which would
be analogous to the really heavy fractions that make asphalt.
17. crude oil 17. light olefins
18. gas 1. Desulfurized Naptha
19. light naptha 2. Desulfurized Gasoil
3. other streams
20. heavy naptha 4. Oxygenates
21. kerosene 5. FCC overhead
22. diesel 6. Cat Cracked Product
23. atmospheric gasoil 7. isomerate
24. atmospheric bottoms 8. reformate
25. light vaccum gasoil 9. alkylate
26. heavy vacuum gasoil 10. light cycle oil
27. lubes 11. FCC gasoline
28. asphalt 12. heavy cycle oil
29. vacuum bottoms 13. LPG
30. coker naptha 14. aromatics
31. coker gasoil 15. gasoline
32. I-C4 16. lubricants
Uses of Petroleum
Petroleum products 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

 Asphalt
 Diesel fuel
 Fuel oils
 Gasoline
 Kerosene

 Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)

 Lubricating oils
 Paraffin wax
 Tar
 Petrochemicals

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 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.

Gasoline (US) or petrol (UK) is a petroleum-derived liquid mixture which is primarily
used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It is also used as a solvent, mainly known
for its ability to dilute paints.It consists mostly of aliphatic hydrocarbons obtained by the
fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with iso-octane or the aromatic
hydrocarbons toluene and benzene to increase its octane rating. Small quantities of
various additives are common, for purposes such as tuning engine performance or
reducing harmful exhaust emissions. Some mixtures also contain significant quantities of
ethanol as a partial alternative fuel.Most current or former Commonwealth countries use
the term petrol, abbreviated from petroleum spirit. In North America, the word gasoline
is the common term, where it is often shortened in colloquial usage to simply gas
(although petrol is also accepted and used to a lesser extent in Canada). It is not a
genuinely gaseous fuel (unlike, for example, liquefied petroleum gas, which is stored
under pressure as a liquid, but returned to a gaseous state before combustion). The term
petrogasoline is also used. The Jamaican spelling is gasolene.In aviation, mogas, short for
motor gasoline, is used to distinguish automobile fuel from aviation gasoline, or avgas.
In British English, gasoline can refer to a different petroleum derivative historically used
in lamps, but this usage is relatively uncommon.

Chemical analysis and production

An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico

Gasoline is produced in oil refineries. Material that is separated from crude oil via
distillation, called virgin or straight-run gasoline, does not meet the required
specifications for modern engines (in particular octane rating; see below), but will form
part of the blend.The bulk of a typical gasoline consists of hydrocarbons with between 4
and 12 carbon atoms per molecule. Many of these hydrocarbons are considered
hazardous substances and are regulated in the United States by Occupational Safety and
Health Administration. The Material Safety Data Sheet for unleaded gasoline shows at
least fifteen hazardous chemicals occurring in various amounts. These include benzene
(up to 5% by volume), toluene (up to 35% by volume), naphthalene (up to 1% by
volume), trimethylbenzene (up to 7% by volume), MTBE (up to 18% by volume, in some
states) and about ten others. The various refinery streams blended together to make
gasoline all have different characteristics. Some important streams are:

 Reformate, produced in a catalytic reformer with a high octane rating and high
aromatic content, and very low olefins (alkenes).
 Cat cracked gasoline or cat cracked naphtha, produced from a catalytic cracker,
with a moderate octane rating, high olefins (alkene) content, and moderate
aromatics level. Here, "cat" is short for "catalytic".
 Hydrocrackate (heavy, mid, and light), produced from a hydrocracker, with
medium to low octane rating and moderate aromatic levels.
 Virgin or straight-run naphtha (has many names), directly from crude oil with low
octane rating, low aromatics (depending on the grade of crude oil), some
naphthenes (cycloalkanes) and no olefins (alkenes).
 Alkylate, produced in an alkylation unit, with a high octane rating and which is
pure paraffin (alkane), mainly branched chains.
 Isomerate (various names) which is obtained by isomerising the pentane and
hexane[citation needed] in light virgin naphthas to yield their higher octane isomers.

(The terms used here are not always the correct terms. They are the jargon normally used
in the oil industry. The exact terminology for these streams varies by refinery and by
country.)Overall, a typical gasoline is predominantly a mixture of paraffins (alkanes),
naphthenes (cycloalkanes), and olefins (alkenes). The exact ratios can depend on

 the oil refinery that makes the gasoline, as not all refineries have the same set of
processing units.
 the crude oil feed used by the refinery.
 the grade of gasoline, in particular the octane rating.
Currently, many countries set tight limits on gasoline aromatics in general, benzene in
particular, and olefin (alkene) content. Such limits result in increasing demand for high
octane pure paraffin (alkane) components, such as alkylate, and is forcing refineries to
add processing units to reduce the benzene content.

Gasoline can also contain some other organic compounds such as organic ethers
(deliberately added), plus small levels of contaminants, in particular sulfur compounds
such as disulfides and thiophenes. Some contaminants, in particular thiols and hydrogen
sulfide, must be removed because they cause corrosion in engines. Sulfur compounds are
usually removed by hydrotreating, yielding hydrogen sulfide, which can then be
transformed into elemental sulfur via the Claus process.