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25 Mar 2016

(Video) Learn Crude oil Refining processes & their types

  In our  modern society, Crude oil is one of the basic and most widely used source of energy. It is extracted from ground and then transported to refineries for processing to get daily life usable product like gasoline, diesel and kerosene oil. This processing of crude oil is refereed as  "Refining" and involves different chemical processes like Distillation, cracking and reforming.
As per US energy Information Administration, Global consumption of petroleum and other liquid fuels remained about 93.7 million barrels/day (average) during 2015.

To know how refining takes place in refineries and which useful products are obtained, watch this video. For your easy technical understanding, processes are explained with processing conditions.

Crude oil Distillation:

Crude oil processing starts with fractional distillation. distillation is the separation process based upon the boiling point of the components of the mixture. Bitumen is obtained from bottom and other useful products like gasoline, kerosene and diesel are obtained from different stages of distillation tower. 
How column temperature impacts separation?

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All distillation products are not of equal commercial importance. So here cracking process is utilized to convert long chain molecules into short chain one. 
There are four different types of cracking

  • Thermal Cracking
  • Catalytic Cracking
  • Steam Cracking'
  • Hydro Cracking
Oil refinary
Photo Credits: Marufish

Which type of cracking method is utilized most? And what are the merits and demerits of each type?
Which cracking catalysts are used? what are temperature pressure conditions for each type?
How cracking process helps to fulfill the demand of some most widely used petroleum products like gasoline?


Reforming is  a process to convert straight chain hydrocarbons into branched chain hydrocarbons. It is used to improve the quality of petroleum fractions and increases the octane number of liquid fuel. Two main types of reforming process are

  • Thermal reforming
  • Catalytic reforming 

How reforming works?

Distillation of crude oil also produces some less widely used products like bitumen and coke. 
where are these products used? 

To know the answers of all above questions, watch above video. 
Please share your review and any further questions in comments. 

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