- The purpose of an oil refinery is to transform Crude Oil which is a non-uniform mixture of hydrocarbon molecules, into fuel and chemical products that meet the needs of the consumer.
- Refineries differ in their level of complexity. There are many different types of refining processes, different types of crude oils, and so each refinery is unique
- A standardised measure of the complexity of a refinery is the Nelson Complexity, the more units a refinery has, the more capabilities it possesses, the higher Nelson Complexity number it is assigned
- Refineries that have no cracking units are referred to as Hydro-skimming Refineries. They typically have Nelson Complexities of 2-3
- Petroleum refining processes and operations can be separated into five basic areas:
- Fractionation (distillation) is the separation of crude oil in Atmospheric Distillation and Vacuum Distillation Unit into groups of hydrocarbon compounds of differing boiling-point ranges called "fractions" or "cuts."
- Conversion Processes change the size and/or structure of hydrocarbon molecules. These processes include: :
- Treatment Processes to prepare hydrocarbon streams for additional processing and to prepare finished products.
- Treatment may include removal or separation of aromatics and naphthenes, impurities and undesirable contaminants.
- Treatment may involve chemical or physical separation e.g. dissolving, absorption, or precipitation using a variety and combination of processes including Crude Oil Desalting, drying, hydrodesulphurisation, solvent refining, Sweetening, solvent extraction, Solvent Deasphalting, and Solvent Dewaxing.
Formulating and Blending
- Formulating and Blending is the process of mixing and combining hydrocarbon fractions, additives, and other components to produce finished products with specific performance properties.
Other Refining Operations
- Other Refining Operations include:
- Introduction from Australian Institute of Petroleum
- Dalhousie University, OIL REFINERY PROCESSES ppt
- DESCRIPTION OF PETROLEUM REFINING PROCESSES AND RELATED HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS