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REG NO : NIT/BME/2015/407






SUBMISSION DATE : 14th May 2018

Is a complex, naturally occurring liquid mixture containing mostly hydrocarbons, but containing
also some compounds of oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur.

Petroleum forms by the breaking down of large molecules of fats, oils and waxes that contributed
to the formation of kerogen. As marine life died, it settled at the sea bottom and became buried in
layers of clay, silt and sand. The gradual decay by the effect of heat and pressure resulted in the
formation of hundreds of compounds. Because petroleum is a fluid, it is able to migrate through
the earth as it forms. To form large, economically recoverable amounts of oil underground, two
things are needed: an oil pool and an oil trap. An oil pool, which is the underground reservoir of
oil, may literally be a pool or it could be droplets of oil collected in a highly porous rock such as
sandstone. An oil trap is a non-porous rock formation that holds the oil pool in place. Obviously,
in order to stay in the ground, the fluids – oil and associated gas – must be trapped, so that they
cannot flow to the surface of the earth. The hydrocarbons accumulate in reservoir rock, the
porous sandstone or limestone. The reservoir rock must have a covering of an impervious rock
that will not allow the passage of the hydrocarbon fluids to the surface.

Structure of Petroleum
Petroleum is a mixture of a very large number of different hydrocarbons; the most commonly
found molecules are alkanes (paraffins), cycloalkanes (naphthenes), aromatic hydrocarbons, or
more complicated chemicals like asphaltenes. Each petroleum variety has a unique mix
of molecules, which define its physical and chemical properties, like color and viscosity.

The alkanes, also known as paraffins, are saturated hydrocarbons with straight or branched
chains which contain only carbon and hydrogen and have the general formula CnH2n+2. They
generally have from 5 to 40 carbon atoms per molecule, although trace amounts of shorter or
longer molecules may be present in the mixture.

The alkanes from pentane (C5H12) to octane (C8H18) are refined into gasoline, the ones
from nonane (C9H20) to hexadecane (C16H34) into diesel fuel, kerosene and jet fuel. Alkanes with
more than 16 carbon atoms can be refined into fuel oil and lubricating oil. At the heavier end of
the range, paraffin wax is an alkane with approximately 25 carbon atoms, while asphalt has 35
and up, although these are usually cracked by modern refineries into more valuable products.
The cycloalkanes, also known as naphthenes, are saturated hydrocarbons which have one or
more carbon rings to which hydrogen atoms are attached according to the formula C nH2n.
Cycloalkanes have similar properties to alkanes but have higher boiling points.

The aromatic hydrocarbons are unsaturated hydrocarbons which have one or more planar six-
carbon rings called benzene rings, to which hydrogen atoms are attached with the formula CnH2n-
6. They tend to burn with a sooty flame, and many have a sweet aroma. Some are carcinogenic.

The refining process of Petroleum

Listed below are 5 categories of general refinery processes and associated operations:

1. Separation Processes
The first phase in petroleum refining operations is the separation of crude oil into its major
constituents using 3 petroleum separation processes: atmospheric distillation, vacuum
distillation, and light ends recovery (gas processing). Crude oil consists of a mixture of
hydrocarbon compounds including paraffinic, naphthenic, and aromatic hydrocarbons with small
amounts of impurities including sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and metals. Refinery separation
processes separate these crude oil constituents into common boiling-point fractions.

2. Conversion Processes
To meet the demands for high-octane gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel fuel, components such as
residual oils, fuel oils, and light ends are converted to gasolines and other light fractions.
Cracking, coking, and vis-breaking processes are used to break large petroleum molecules into
smaller ones. Polymerization and alkylation processes are used to combine small petroleum
molecules into larger ones. Isomerization and reforming processes are applied to rearrange the
structure of petroleum molecules to produce higher-value molecules of a similar molecular size.

3. Treating processes
Petroleum treating processes stabilize and upgrade petroleum products by separating them from
less desirable products and by removing objectionable elements. Undesirable elements such as
sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen are removed by hydro-desulfurization, hydro-treating, chemical
sweetening, and acid gas removal. Treating processes, employed primarily for the separation of
petroleum products, include such processes as de-asphalting. Desalting is used to remove salt,
minerals, grit, and water from crude oil feed-stocks before refining. Asphalt blowing is used for
polymerizing and stabilizing asphalt to improve its weathering characteristics.

4. Feedstock and product handling

The refinery feedstock and product handling operations consist of unloading, storage, blending,
and loading activities.

5. Auxiliary facilities
A wide assortment of processes and equipment not directly involved in the refining of crude oil
is used in functions vital to the operation of the refinery. Examples are boilers, waste water
treatment facilities, hydrogen plants, cooling towers, and sulfur recovery units. Products from
auxiliary facilities (clean water, steam, and process heat) are required by most process units
throughout the refinery. The schematic representation of refinery process is shown in figure

Figure 1.1: Schematic representation of petroleum refinery

The key step in refining is distillation. Distillation is the separation of materials based on
differences in their volatility. This operation is carried out in a distillation tower (or column)
illustrated in Figure 1.2. Vapors from the heated crude oil rise and recondense continuously as
they ascend within the column. The more volatile substances – those with the lower boiling
points – become relatively enriched near the top of the column. Substances with very high
boiling points are enriched near the bottom. At any given location in the column, there is a
mixture of vapors corresponding to a liquid of particular composition and volatility. These
vapors can be withdrawn from the column and condensed to form a liquid product. Such a liquid
is still a mixture of many components, but in this case the components have fairly similar boiling
points. The separation of crude oil by distillation is a physical process based on the fact that
different chemical compounds have different boiling points. Because the separation is based only
on a physical process – boiling – no chemical bonds are broken during distillation and no
chemical reactions take place at this stage.

Figure 1.2: Schematic representation of a distillation tower.

Petroleum Products
Five broad categories of products are obtained by distillation of crude oil. Their primary use is
shown in Table 1
Table 1: Petroleum Products and their uses
1 Gases Industrial and residential fuel
2 Gasoline Fuel in spark-ignition engines
3 Diesel fuel Fuel in compression-ignition engines
4 Jet fuel Fuel for jet engines and gas turbines
5 Fuel oils Industrial or residential fue
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3. Background Information For Proposed New Source Standards: Asphalt Concrete Plants,
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Or Bronze Ingot Production Plants, Iron And Steel Plants, Sewage Treatment Plants,
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6. "Impurities in Petroleum", Petreco Manual, Petrolite Corp., Long Beach, CA, 1958. 7.
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Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC, January 1969.