Refined petroleum products plays an important role in our everyday lives. When petroleum is refined, it produces various by-products which include tires, refrigerators, life jackets and anesthetics.
You will be glad to read and know that once burned, some of the refined products like gasoline provide you with energy. This releases toxic gases and high amounts of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas.
Carbon is important in that it helps to regulate earth’s atmospheric pressure, and this adds to the natural balance.
Burning fossil fuels has a negative impact on our climate, and the debate around the issues related to climate change is hot.
Is petroleum refined oil?
To answer this question, you will need to first look at the issue of oil refining, which takes place in a refinery.
An oil refinery is an industrial process plant where crude is transformed and refined into different products, ready for consumption by clients.
Some of the by-products of this process include petroleum naphtha, gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel and fuel oils.
Why should we have refined petroleum?
Crude oil is a highly variable mixture of heavy and light hydrocarbons that need to be separated in a refinery to turn them into usable products.
Each crude also contains a certain amount of dissolved gas and highly corrosive products, such as sulfur or acids, which can sometimes be toxic.
Types of Refined Petroleum Products
Refined petroleum products are derived from crude oils through processes such as catalytic cracking and fractional distillation.
These products have physical and chemical characteristics that differ according to the type of crude oil and subsequent refining processes.
Several examples of refined petroleum products and their properties include:
This is a lightweight material that flows easily, spreads quickly, and may evaporate completely in a few hours under temperate conditions.
It poses a risk of fire and explosion because of its high volatility and flammability, and is more toxic than crude oil.
Gasoline is amenable to biodegradation, but the use of dispersants is not appropriate unless the vapors pose a significant human health or safety hazard.
It is a lightweight material that flows easily, spreads rapidly, and evaporates quickly. Kerosene is easily dispersed, but is also relatively persistent in the environment.
No. 2 Fuel Oil.
Type of fuel oil that is a lightweight and that flows easily, spreads quickly, and is easily dispersed.
This fuel oil is neither volatile nor likely to form emulsions, and is relatively non-persistent in the environment.
No. 4 Fuel Oil
No.4 fuel oil is a medium-weight material that flows easily, and is easily dispersed if treated promptly.
This fuel oil has a low volatility and moderate flash point, and is fairly persistent in the environment.
No. 5 Fuel Oil (Bunker B)
This is a medium-weight to heavyweight material with a low volatility and moderate flash point.
Preheating may be necessary in cold climates, and this fuel oil is difficult, if not impossible, to disperse.
No. 6 Fuel Oil (Bunker C)
A heavyweight material that is difficult to pump and requires preheating for use.
This fuel oil may be heavier than water, is not likely to dissolve, is difficult or impossible to disperse, and is likely to form tar balls, lumps, and emulsions.
It has a low volatility and moderate flash point.
You should know that this is a medium-weight material that flows easily and is easily dispersed if treated promptly.
This oil has a low volatility and moderate flash point, but is fairly persistent in the environment.
As I conclude on this, you have seen that crude oil has many beneficial products. The world as we know it runs on refined petroleum products.
There is a growing debate around the future of crude oil as a source of energy. Arguments for and against this are as varied as are the people in the world.
My take is that, crude oil will continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix. This will happen even as we have new sources emerging. The oil and gas industry will adapt and be able to create more cleaner and efficient solutions.