The Crude Oil Refining Process

You may often hear of the price of crude oil rising or falling dramatically, but you may also notice that it sometimes doesn’t reflect at the pump immediately or as dramatically as you might expect.

The reason for that is that there are many steps before crude oil is turned into something consumable by your average citizen. The first step is the refining process of crude oil.

What is actually involved in refining crude oil? Take a look.

Where Does Crude Oil Come From?

If you want to know where the most crude oil comes from in the world, you may think it all comes from the middle east. You may be surprised to find that The United States is actually the world’s biggest producer of crude oil! Also, overwhelmingly, this crude oil mostly comes from Texas! In fact, 41% of the nation’s production comes from that single state.

The Steps of The Crude Oil Refinement Process

Crude oil begins its journey down this process as a dark, sticky liquid that is largely useless. In order to begin the process of refinement, it must be heated to a boil. The boiling oil is then separated into various liquids and gases utilizing a distillation column. 

Inside the distillation column, heat is applied to the bottom. The heat causes the oil to separate into gasses that then rise into the top of the column where it is cooler. The change in temperature causes the gases to condensate and become liquid again.

Once the byproducts are separated, they are then further processed and cleaned into products such as these:

The byproducts of this heating process include:

  • Gasoline
  • Paraffin
  • Diesel fuel
  • And more

Crude Oil Makes Society Run

Crude oil is the starting point of creating many useful fuels that ultimately cause our society to run and allows it to function efficiently. The refinement process is necessary to turn this sticky black goo into a useful tool for society.

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