How Is Crude Oil Extracted

How Is Crude Oil Extracted – Converting complex mixtures into usable products Updated: 2018-06-01 Petroleum and the Environment, Part 16/24 By E. Allison and B. Mandler for AGI, 2018 Download the hard copy Introduction Complex chemical mixtures of crude oil and natural gas are general Not suitable for direct use. Refining and natural gas processing convert these mixtures into a wide range of fuels and other products, while removing low-value polluting components. Oil refining and refining have both positive and negative impacts on the environment: While they remove harmful pollutants and produce cleaner-burning fuels, refinery and processing plant operations release harmful pollutants into the environment, affecting local air and water quality. quality. During crude oil distillation, different types of fuels are condensed and extracted at different temperatures. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons users Psarianos and Theresa Knott. 1 Refining Crude oil is a mixture of different hydrocarbon molecules of different sizes. Smaller molecules evaporate at lower temperatures, so crude oil can be distilled to separate the various hydrocarbons. During distillation, the crude oil evaporates and the hot vapor rises up the column, cooling as it rises. Different hydrocarbons evaporate at different temperatures, so they condense into liquids at different points in the tower, separating the crude oil into different components that can be further processed to optimize their end use. Gasoline and diesel are the most profitable products extracted from crude oil, so refiners use different techniques to maximize production of these fuels. These include cracking (breaking down large molecules into smaller ones2), water treatment (replacing impurities such as sulfur with hydrogen to improve fuel quality), reforming (converting small molecules into gasoline2), alkylation (using acid to produce high octane Alkanes. Smaller molecules4), and blending (blending different liquids together to produce similar products that meet regulatory standards). In the blending step, ethanol produced by industrial ethanol plants is also blended with gasoline to increase its octane number, reduce carbon monoxide emissions, and meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Refined oils Different crude oils have different compositions. Various mixtures of hydrocarbons with varying amounts of sulfur and other impurities. The proportion of different refined products varies with the type of oil, the demand for the different products, and the changes in regulations that affect that demand. About 80-85% of crude oil ends up as gasoline, diesel or jet fuel. The remaining liquid is used to produce petroleum gas, petrochemical feedstock and various other products. 7 In 2016, 141 U.S. refineries produced an average of 9.3 million barrels of gasoline, 3.7 million barrels of low-sulfur diesel, and 1.6 million barrels per day. 8 Oil refineries (open squares) and natural gas processing plants (blue) in the United States, February 2018. Not shown: two refineries in Hawaii and five in Alaska. Image credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration. 17 Natural Gas Processing In 2017, the United States produced 33 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. 9 A small portion is used in field operations, reinjected into underground reservoirs, vented, or flashed; the remainder is processed by 550 gas processing plants, producing 27 trillion cubic feet of pipeline-quality gas. 10, 11 Pipeline-quality natural gas must meet strict energy content and purity standards. power plant. Before processing, natural gas consists primarily of methane and other hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, water vapor, and helium. 13 Gas processing removes certain non-methane components from natural gas. To: Improve combustion and reduce corrosion by removing water Prevent the formation of harmful acids by removing toxic or corrosive gases, especially sulfur and carbon dioxide, which would otherwise react with small amounts of water to form acids Standardize the energy content of gases. Similar to combustion in furnaces and other equipment, especially by removing incombustible gases such as CO2 and nitrogen, and extracting small amounts of noble gases (such as other hydrocarbons and helium) for other uses, together with hydrocarbons, in gas processing Methane is called “nitrogen gas” in “nitrogen gas liquid” (NGL) because they are more easily liquefied than methane at high pressure or low temperature. Among NGLs, ethane, propane and butane are the most common. Ethane and propane are mainly Processed into plastic feedstock (in this series “petroleum and (see “Non-fuel products from natural gas”), while propane and butane are compressed into liquids to provide an energy-intensive source of gaseous fuel. Off-grid applications. The main methods of removing non-methane components in gases are absorbents and coolants. Specialty oils (for NGLs), a variety of absorbents can be used, including glycols (for water), amines (for sulfur and CO214), and zeolites or oil absorption (for nitrogen 15). Cooling naturally heating the gas to different temperatures removes different components as they condense into liquids. This is the most common method of nitrogen extraction: cooling the natural gas until the methane liquefies, which allows the nitrogen to be extracted .Given up to 16 NGLs can be extracted from a single mixture heated to different temperatures to separate each NGL. turn.18 After processing, the gas is considered “dry” and can be piped to the end user. Refining, Processing and environmental cleanup and processing to reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas derived fuels by removing harmful pollutants and increasing the reliability of the combustion process.However, refineries and processing plants have their own environmental impacts and related processes mitigate these impacts For more information on these, see other parts of this series: “Mitigation and Regulation of Methane Emissions” and “Impacts of Oil and Gas on Air Quality.” Carbon dioxide (CO2) is present in natural gas in varying proportions and in are removed in processing plants to improve gas quality. Most of the CO2 escapes to the atmosphere, accounting for about 0.4 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (by comparison, methane emissions from the natural gas production and distribution chain are estimated to account for about 3% of volume). A small number of natural gas processing plants capture carbon dioxide removed from natural gas during processing; captured CO2 is injected into oil fields for enhanced oil recovery. 20 references 1 Document: Crude Distillation-en. Wikimedia Commons User Psarianos and Theresa Knott. Reprinted under license under CC BY-SA 3.0. 2 Collaborative Center for Industrial Education, University of York (2014). Cracking and Related Refining Processes. Basic Chemical Industries – Online. 3 Kokayev, p. et al. ( 2014). Water Treatment in Petroleum Processing. In: Treese, S., Jones, D., Pujado, P. (eds.). Handbook of Petroleum Processing. Springer, Cham. 4 U.S. Energy Information Administration (2013 ). Alkylation is octane in gasoline An important source of alkanes. Energy Today, 13 February 2013. 5 US EPA – Gasoline Standards: Gasoline Driving Vapor Pressure. 6 US Energy Information Administration – Biofuels: Ethanol and Biodiesel Explained – Ethanol Use. 7 US Energy Information Administration – Petroleum: Description of Crude Oils and Petroleum Products – Crude Oil Refining. 8 US Energy Information Administration – Petroleum and Other Liquids: US Product Deliveries, Total Crude Oil and Petroleum Products. 9 US Energy Information Administration – Total US Natural Gas Exports. 10 US Energy Information Administration – Natural Gas Annual Response Inquiry System, EIA-757: Data from Plant Natural Gas Processing Capacity, 2014. 11 US Energy Information Administration – US Dry Natural Gas Production. 12 North American Energy Standards Council. 13 Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, eLearning Institute – Petroleum Processing: Composition and Specifications of Natural Gas. 14 Rufford, T.E. et al. (2012). Removal of CO2 and N2 from Natural Gas: A Review of Traditional and Emerging Process Technologies. Gastrology Engineering, 94-95, 123-154. 15 Medi-Pro System – Denitrification Unit. 16 US Energy Information Administration (2006). Natural gas processing: the key link between the natural gas production and delivery markets. 17 US Energy Information Administration – US Energy Mapping System. 18 U.S. Department of Energy (2017). An introduction to natural gas liquids with a focus on the Appalachian region. 19 US Environmental Protection Agency (2017). US Greenhouse Emissions and Sinks Inventory: 1990-2015. 20 Global CCS Foundation – Project Database: Large CCS Facilities. Oil and the Environment Download the full PDF of Oil and the Environment (free) or buy a print version ($19.99). Other parts in this series: 1. Oil and the Environment: An Introduction 2. Water in the Oil and Gas Industry 3. Earthquakes Induced by Oil and Gas Operations 4. Water Resources for Hydraulic Fracturing 5. Produced Water Use 6. Groundwater Protection in Oil and Gas Production 7 Abandoned Wells 8. What determines the location of a well? 9. Land Use in the Oil and Gas Industry 10. Pinedale Gas Field, Wyoming 11. Heavy Oil 12. Oil and Gas in the US Arctic 13. Offshore Oil and Gas 14. Dispersed Oil and Gas Fields 15. Gas TransportationO, Natural Gas and Refined Products16. Petroleum Refining and Natural Gas Processing17. Non-Fuel Oil and Gas Products18. Air Quality Effects of Oil and Gas19. Methane

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