oil refining questions? - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 2 Old 02-03-2011, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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oil refining questions?

Do we have any petroleum engineers on FL? I have been wanted to know if the refining process can be varied to get different percentages of what products you get or is it fixed by the crude oil itself?

ie: can you get more diesel by changing the cracking process or maybe a higher percentage of high octane?

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post #2 of 2 Old 02-03-2011, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by KKRace View Post
Do we have any petroleum engineers on FL? I have been wanted to know if the refining process can be varied to get different percentages of what products you get or is it fixed by the crude oil itself?

ie: can you get more diesel by changing the cracking process or maybe a higher percentage of high octane?
Not a petroleum engineer, but I have a little energy industry experience.

In the old days (pre WW2) there was no cracking so refining was mostly a fractional distillation effort…so different oil gave different products. Today you can make anything you want, in the extreme it is no problem to make gasoline or even natural gas from coal for example if you have the correct equipment. The less work you need to do the more the oil is worth, so light crude is worth more than heavy crude even thought it actually contains less energy per barrel. Gasoline from coal becomes economical viable with crude prices top about $70-$80/barrel.

On the interesting front, the US is about the only place in the world where the right equipment exists to refine Heavy crude from places like Venezuela and when the crazy dictator down there says he’s cutting off oil to the US the correct response is a chuckle because the stuff is about worthless outside the US.

Also the US alone has enough coal to supply the entire worlds’ energy needs for 200-300 years. So just like the Stone Age didn’t end because people ran out of stones, the oil age won’t end because people run out of oil….the oil age will end when we find something better.
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