Definition - What does Dead Oil mean?
Dead Oil is crude oil that has sufficient low pressure such that it does not have any presence of natural gas (methane) and dissolved hydrocarbons. This crude oil is very thick, viscous and looks like residue. Dead oil is treated at a lower market value as compare to other petroleum products. Examples of dead oil are Tar, heavy oil and bitumen.
Petropedia explains Dead Oil
Crude oil consists of carbon and hydrogen molecules linking chain ranging from C5 to C20 and the Carbon chain below C5, i.e., C1 to C4 are the gaseous hydrocarbons (Methane – C1; Ethane – C2; Propane – C3 & Butane – C4). This oil is classified as either “dead oil” or “live oil” based on the absence or presence of gas (mainly methane CH4) or the volatile hydrocarbons dissolved in it.
The gaseous hydrocarbons (C1 to C4) have their boiling points below zero degree Celsius which means than when oil is brought to a standard surface conditions where temperature is more than 15 degree Celsius and left exposed to atmospheric temperatures, the volatile hydrocarbons (C1 to C4 and few other complex carbon structured hydrocarbons) will evaporate and thus, the oil will lose its properties of yielding high value petroleum products during distillation process. Thus, the output produced would be thick, viscous and heavy oil.