Talented Crude

Petroleum is more than just an energy carrier —it’s also a raw material. It serves as a fuel and lubricant for cars, trucks, and aircraft, as a fuel for generating heat and power, and as a raw material for the chemical industry, which turns it into plastics, medicines, fertilizers, construction materials, detergents, cleaning agents, paints, and coatings.

THE WORLD’S TEN LARGEST CRUDE OIL PRODUCERS IN 2016

1. Saudi-Arabia 13,5 %
589.1  million metric tons

2. Russian Federation 12,5 %
547.5  million metric tons

3. USA 12,4 %
543  million metric tons
+ 3,6 % growth due to production from unconventional sources (e. g. fracking) since 2009

4. Iraq 5 %
218.9  million metric tons

5. Canada 5 %
218.2 million metric tons

6. Iran 4,9 %
216.4  million metric tons

7. China 4,6 %
199.7  million metric tons

8. United Arab Emirates 4,2 %
182.4  million metric tons

9. Kuwait 3,5 %
152.7  million metric tons

10. Venezuela 3,1 %
134.2  million metric tons

Other Countries 31,3 %
1.372.2 million metric tons
(of which Germany 2.4 million metric tons)


Source: BGR - Energiestudie 2017

Processing of Crude Oil in Refineries

Processing of Crude Oil in Refineries

In a refinery, crude oil is broken down into its various components in distillation columns. In the subsequent cracking process, the heavy components, which are long-chain hydrocarbons, are broken up into shorter-chain molecules. This is necessary because the market demands more short-chain hydrocarbons (gasoline, diesel, light heating oil) than crude oil contains, whereas long-chain hydrocarbons (heavy heating oil) are being used less and less often. The cracking process generates alkanes and alkenes, which the chemical industry uses as raw materials.

Source: Association of the German Petroleum Industry






Elemental Composition of Crude Oil

Source: G. James Speight: The Chemistry and Technology of Petroleum







Refinery Capacities (in thousand of metric tons/day)

In Europe, the refinery capacities — i. e. the quantities of crude oil in thousands of metric tons that refineries can process in one day — have remained constant, or even fallen, since 1990. During this period they increased worldwide.

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017

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