Monday, November 28, 2011

How many types of Crude Oil are there?

Petroleum Refiners, depending upon location, have a veritable smorgasbord of crude oil options for feedstocks. Each crude oil source has a unique combination of chemical and physical qualities which makes it unique. In a situation similar the the wine world, there are hundreds of crude oil blends and types out there.

Each Crude Oil has unique characteristics.
Some crude oil types are 'heavy' (high viscosity and gravity), some 'sour', some 'sweet', some 'light' (low viscosity and gravity), etc. Some crudes have high trace metal content, such as mercury or vanadium. All of these factors, heavy, light, sweet, sour, metal content, and much more can have a significant impact on the market value of a particular crude, and where it can be refined.

Petroleum refineries are engineered to run most efficiently (and profitably) on crude oils with a common range of physical and chemical properties. To help determine if a crude oil is a good candidate for a particular refinery, in-depth crude oil assay testing is often conducted. These tests help petroleum refinery engineers determine if a new oilfield, or an "opportunity crude oil" available on the spot market, is a viable feedstock for a specific refinery or refineries.

We've attempted to list many of these crude oil grades and types, at www.intertek.com/petroleum/crude-oil-types/. If you spot any missing crude oil types, please send your suggestions to this blog.

Posted by Erik Holladay.

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