Crude Oil

Definition - What does Crude Oil mean?

Crude Oil is a naturally occurring petroleum product found beneath the earth's surface. When extracted from the reservoir, it is in raw shape, i.e., it is unprocessed and has to go through processing first before any industrial or human use. Raw Crude Oil consists of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds which were decomposed by microbial action of bacteria on the dead animals from millions of years ago. The hydrocarbons are of various molecular weights. It can be found as liquid or solid and its color varies from black to clear.

Petropedia explains Crude Oil

The major hydrocarbons in Crude Oil are PAH, Aliphatics and Alicyclic. Oil drilling is done to recover crude oil from the earth's surface. This is done after a systematic study of geological aspects and reservoir characteristics. Crude Oil is separated from water, gas, sand, and debris, etc., at crude handling stations and then it is transported to refineries for distillation process. After the distillation process it is converted into more useful fractions for industrial purposes such as LPG, Naphtha, Motor Spirit, Diesel, Kerosene, Jet Kero, Lubes, Bitumen, Asphalt, etc.

The value or the quality of Crude Oil when produced is determined by its API gravity or viscosity or ease of flow, and the sulfur content (impurities) in it. Crude oil is divided into four categories based on its API gravity:

  • Light Crude Oil – API gravity > 31.1 degree
  • Medium Crude Oil – API gravity between 22.3 and 31.1 degree
  • Heavy Crude Oil – API gravity < 22.3 degree
  • Extra Heavy Crude Oil – API gravity < 10.0 degree
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