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Crude Oil and the petrochemistry industry.

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Gahena Mohanani Y11-2 CHEMISTRY ESSAY ON CRUDE OIL (production and refining) AND THE PETROCHEMISTRY INDUSTRY How is it Crude Oil extracted? Crude oil is a vital and extremely sourceful fossil fuel that is obtained from under the ground or under the sea. Crude oil is in fact defined as a mixture of saturated hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons have boiling points which are extremely close together. Once a possible site for oil has been found, a test drilling is made. This is very expensive because the well may be dry or yield only gas- basically oil might not be able to be extracted and the entire process of 'testing'for this factor is time consuming and expensive due to the equipment used. A land drilling rig is used to extract the oil. Different types of drill heads are used for different layers of rocks., as each layer has a different level of sensitivity. ...read more.


Now, a new process is required to convert the raw crude oil into a fuel that supplies countless services and amenities. This process is known as refinsing They can be separated by fractional distillation and a fractioning column is used for this process. DIAGRAM OF FRACTIONAL COLUMN How Does A Fractioning Column Work? The vapors are basically forced up the columm. As this happens they pass through bubble caps through which some of the vapor condenses. This happens lots of times and because of this mainly only the (thin) volatile liquids with low boiling points reach the top of the column. The heavier liquids, which have a higher boiling point, continually condense and run down to the bottom. Up the column liquids of different boiling points are collected at different levels. ...read more.


This is known as cracking and it basically the process of breaking down the heavy oil molecules into lighter and more useful fractions. There are two types of cracking- stream cracking and catalytic cracking. In steam cracking high temperatures are used. In catalytic cracking, a catalyst is used to speed up the process. The plant where all this takes place is called a cracker. Once these processes are over new products are created i.e. ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, xylenes. These are then processed in other petrochemical plants into other more specialized products. It sometimes takes more than one step for these products to be ready to be used by the 'downstream industries', the customer industries of petrochemistry. It depends on each product. Finally the petrochemicals are turned in to plastics soaps, detergents, healthcare products such as aspirin, synthetic fibers for clothes and furnitures, rubbers paints and insulating materials. The petrochemical industry is a very signifigant and important industry in our world today, being the source of many modern utilities. ...read more.

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