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October 01, 2012  by: Victor O  Points: 12   Category: Others  Earning $0.40   Views: 1119

Contents at a glimpse Introduction Composition of petroleum/crude oil How crude oil/ petroleum is explored How petroleum/crude oil is refined Fractions of crude oil Conclusion


Some habitually locate themselves in sixes and sevens over this theme as to find out the dissimilitude between these two terms. The truth is that there is no difference between crude oil and petroleum. They both have the same signification in terms of meaning
Petroleum is the main source hydrocarbons; and what are hydrocarbons? Laconically, hydrocarbons in simple terms are compounds of hydrogen and carbon, and these two alone- no other element or compound. They are formed in the rocks of the crust of the earth from the remain of marine plants and animals.
Crude oil is a dark, thick gelatinous liquid; it is found in colossal underground deposits in different locations of the countries of this world. Such countries are found in Africa such as Nigeria; Asia such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia; North America such as Canada; Europe such as Russia; South America such as Venezuela and lastly Australia.

Petroleum is composed of different things especially, hydrocarbons as mentioned above. It composition include the complex mixture of gases, liquids and solid hydrocarbons included with impurities which are known as contaminants. They include sulphur, nitrogen and oxygen impurities, the toughest among them are the Sulphur compounds. The more the petroleum is sulphur-free, the higher is marketability. Countries like Saudi Arabia as well as Venezuela have a great amount of sulphur content while Nigeria has less quantity of Sulphur

Geologists (those that study the geological features of a district or generally they study the crusts, strata etc of the earth) use seismometers to study underlying layers of the earth’s crust and from the statement gotten, they decide where the oil caps are located before drilling.
Crude oil is extracted by drilling deep holes or wells onto the ground, using a rotary rig supported by a derrick (a framework holding the drilling machine). When a well reaches an oil-bearing layer, crude oil and gas may shoot into the air under high pressure. The petroleum is then stored in large steel tanks until it is sent into oil refineries by either pipeline or super-tankers. Sea transportation of oil in super-tankers is cheaper than transportation through pipeline.

There are three operations carried out during the process of refining, they are separation, purification, and what is called conversion. In this process, crude oil is segregated into dissimilar scraps, which are referred to as fractions. Each of these fractions contains several compounds that fall within a certain boiling range. The fractions, in addition can be discriminated from one another through four basic properties- color, ease of ignition/burning, odor and volatility. Fractionation is carried out in the industry on a large scale by fractional distillation further carried out in a fractioning tower of an oil refinery; it is pre-heated in an electric furnace to about 400 degrees Centigrade. The mixture of hot vapour and liquids flow through pipes to the fractioning tower, which is divided into a number of perforated plates, called trays. As the vapour of the containing a mixture of substances ascends the tower, it cools condenses and separates out into various fractions according to the volatility of the substances in the mixture.
Substances with higher boiling points separate out in the trays in the upper part of the tower, in this manner; the various fractions are drawn off at different levels

Its mixture of hydrocarbon contain four to twelve atoms per molecule
It is a volatile liquid
It distils in the temperature range of 40 to 200 degrees Centigrade
It is used as fuel for airplanes and motor vehicles
It has the highest number of users worldwide and this makes it the most important fraction of crude oil
It is a good solvent in grease and paint

Petroleum gas
It is the most volatile fraction of crude oil
It consists mainly hydrocarbons one to four carbon atoms per molecule
It is liberated at the top of the tower at temperature below 40 degrees Centigrade
They are used in the manufacture of products like ethyne, tetrachloromenthame and methanol

Lubricating oils
They are viscous liquids
They are heavy oils
They consist of hydrocarbons with more than twenty carbons atom per molecule
They are used for lubricating moving parts of engines and machines
They distil in the temperature range of 350 to 500 degrees

Paraffin wax and Vaseline
They are solid in nature
They contain long chain hydrocarbons
Vaseline is used in cosmetic formulations
Paraffin wax is used in making candles, waterproof materials, creams, ointments and creams

It contains hydrocarbons with twelve to eighteen carbon atoms per molecule
It distils 200-250 degrees Centigrade
It is used as fuel for lightning and heating
It is used in some modern jet engines, tractors and planes
It is also a good solvent for paints and grease

Diesel oil or Gas oil
Contains 18-25 carbon atoms per molecule
Distils between 250-350 degrees Centigrade
Used mainly as fuels for heating and in diesel engines
Serves as raw materials for the cracking process

They are complex mixtures of insoluble solid left behind at temperatures over 500 degrees Centigrade
It is used in paving roads
It is also used in airfield’s surface
It may be used as a protective in paints, water proofing roofs and pipe coating

All oil fractions and residue burn easily and evaporate readily, but the ease of burning and evaporation decreases progressively from the lower to the higher boiling points fractions.


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