Oil Energy Sources

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Oil Energy Sources

Oil can be available in many forms. Mainly the oil that we get from beneath the earth i.e. the oil in the raw form is known as crude oil. This crude oil can be further refined into various types of oils like diesel, petrol, kerosene, jet fuel and various other products

Crude oil formation

Millions of years ago, many animals and plants inside the ocean store energy from the sun in the form of carbon. As years go by, these animals and plants die and settle at the bottom of the ocean. As the pressure and heat at the bottom of the ocean increases, due to the formation of various sediment layers, these animals and plants gets converted into oil containing high carbon content. The oil we get from this source is known as crude oil

Oil refining

Crude oil can be categorized as sweet crude and sour crude. Sweet crude contains less than 0.5% of Sulphur. Sour crude contains more than 2.5% of Sulphur. Crude oil must undergo several separation process so that its products can be utilized. This process is called as oil refining.

The difference in boiling points of various elements is useful in separating various components of crude oil.

It is a simple process. We first heat the crude oil. And allow the vapor to condense at different levels of distillation towers. This is known as fractional distillation. And thus various crude oil products are obtained.

These products can be classified into two types. They are refined product and petrochemical product.

Refined product: it contains lot of individual hydrocarbons. Ex: gasoline.

Petrochemical product: it contains one or two hydrocarbons of high purity. Ex: benzene.

Chemical processing

The various products obtained from the refinement process are subjected to undergo certain chemical process. Some of the chemical process are:

  • Cracking: breaking down of larger hydrocarbon molecules into smaller ones.

  • Coking: forming various products from bitumen. Where bitumen is a black and highly viscous or semi-solid form of petroleum.

  • Alkylation: it is the process where the structure of the hydrocarbon is modified. The catalysts used in this process are hydrofluoric acid or sulphuric acid.

Unification: it is the process where two or more hydrocarbons are combined to form a single one.


Various impurities will be present in the product such as sulphur, water, oxygen, inorganic salts, and nitrogen. These must be removed from the products. This is known as treatment. Petroleum refiners have a choice of several different treating processes, but the primary purpose of the majority of them is the elimination of unwanted sulfur compounds. They are treated with acids, clay etc. to produce a pure product


  • Crude oil is sometimes called as black gold because of its economic value.

  • Crude oil is a thick dark brown or greenish liquid.

  • Petroleum is actually measured in barrels. A barrel contains 158.9873 liters.

  • Petroleum holds for about 40% of primary energy we are using today.

  • 45% of crude oil contains only gasoline.

Oil Energy Sources

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