A crude oil refinery is a group of industrial facilities that turns crude oil and different inputs into finished petroleum merchandise. A refinery’s capacity refers to the utmost amount of crude oil designed to flow into the distillation unit of a refinery, additionally identified as the crude unit.
The diagram above presents a stylized version of the distillation course of. Crude oil is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons, and the distillation process goals to separate this crude oil into broad classes of its element hydrocarbons, or “fractions.” Crude oil is first heated and then put right into a distillation column, also referred to as a nonetheless, the place completely different products boil off and are recovered at completely different temperatures.
Lighter products, comparable to butane and different liquid petroleum gases (LPG), gasoline mixing parts, and naphtha, are recovered at the lowest temperatures. Mid-vary merchandise embody jet fuel, kerosene, and distillates (resembling dwelling heating oil and Natural-Gas Processing Equipment diesel fuel). The heaviest merchandise reminiscent of residual fuel oil are recovered at temperatures generally over 1,000 levels Fahrenheit.
The only refineries stop at this point. Although not shown within the simplified diagram above, most refineries within the United States reprocess the heavier fractions into lighter products to maximize the output of the most desirable merchandise utilizing more subtle refining equipment corresponding to catalytic crackers, reformers, and cokers.