Crude Oil and Petrochemicals


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In today’s Basic Science class, We will be discussing Crude Oil and Petrochemicals. We hope you enjoy the class!


crude-oil basic science classnotesng


Crude oil or petroleum was first discovered at Oloibiri in the present Bayelsa state, in 1956. Since its discovery, it has brought in much revenue to Nigeria. Petrochemicals are also very important to the economy.

Petroleum means rock oil in Latin (petro- rock; oleum- oil) and it is called crude oil because it has to be refined and changed into petroleum products before it can be used. Crude oil occurs as a dark, sticky and viscous liquid. It is a complex mixture of organic gases, liquid and solid. The products derived from crude oil petroleum products are very important and useful. Crude oil is found in large amounts as underground deposits in many parts of the world including Asian and African countries. Natural gases are usually found with it. Countries that produce crude oil have an organization known as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).


REFINING OF CRUDE OIL                                            

From the storage tanks where crude oil is stored, it is transported to the refinery where it is separated into its components. Since crude oil is a mixture, a physical method of separation is used. This method is called fractional distillation and it is the fundamental process in the refinery that separates crude oil into its components. This is because the components of crude oil have different boiling points. The refining process, therefore, involves the fractional distillation of crude oil into fractions, purification and conversion of the fractions into more useful products. The fractional distillation refining process involves the following steps:

  1. Heating the crude oil in a gas furnace at a high temperature of 500 degrees Celsius to 600 degrees Celsius by passing it through heating pipes in the gas furnace.
  2. The vapour is passed into a tall fractionating tower, the temperature of which varies from 400 degrees Celsius at the bottom to 40 degrees Celsius at the top.
  3. Fractions of the crude oil are collected from the different temperature levels in the trays of the tower.

Crude_Oil_refining basic science classnotesng

Crude oil looks quite different from the petrol and oil used in vehicles. The different fractions obtained after the fractional distillation of crude oil include:

  1. Petroleum gas or refinery gas which has the least boiling point and is obtained at the uppermost part of the tower.
  2. Petrol or gasoline which is the second product with relatively high-temperature range and a number of carbon constituents than the refinery gas.
  3. Naphtha which is usually further refined to give petrol
  4. Kerosene or paraffin oil
  5. Light gas (diesel oil or gas oil)
  6. Heavy gas oil
  7. Lubricating oil, fuel oil and bitumen.

All these fractions have their uses and importance. The use and importance of each fraction will be discussed in the next lesson.



We have come to the end of this class. We do hope you enjoyed the class?

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

In our next class, we will continue our lectures on Crude Oil and Petrochemicals. We are very much eager to meet you there.

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