Oil properties
rude oil properties can vary widely depending on where the oil
is found and under what conditions it was formed. Its different
physical properties are used to design the right kind of refineries, classify
the oil (for example, West Texas Intermediate or Oman) and determine
an appropriate price for it.
The properties of oil include its density, called the
API gravity
after the American Petroleum Institute), sulphur content, nitrogen
content, carbon residue and distillation range.
Each of these properties is important for different reasons. For example,
the sulphur content of crude oil is important because it determines the
kind of treatment that it will require at a refinery. The higher the sulphur
level, the bigger the effect it will have on the environment—and the more
corrosive effect it will have on equipment.
API gravity is also important. It is essentially a measure of density. It
determines whether a specific type of crude oil has a higher or lower
boiling range (or
distillate yields
), which is important for separating and
extracting different parts (or
Different oil-producing areas produce different kinds of crude oil. And
depending on its mixture of hydrocarbons, crude oil can vary in colour,
composition and consistency.
Chapter 1 . Oil Basics
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