Definition - What does Diluent mean?
A Diluent is a liquid mixed with a viscous liquid so as to reduce its viscosity and make it flow easily within a transportation system. The most readily available and environment-friendly diluent is water. A diluent has a wide range of purposes and is used in almost all sort of industries. For example, it is used in the latex coating manufacturing industry to make it thin or less viscous.
Diluent is also a cleaning tool and a thinning agent for coatings. It helps many products easily flow through tubes, pipes or mechanical equipment hence reducing pumping costs.
Petropedia explains Diluent
In the oil and gas industry, a diluent is used to reduce the viscosity of heavy crude oil so that it can flow easily through pipelines and be easily transported from one location to another. Thus, a diluent in the oil and gas industry will be a hydrocarbon liquid only.
At the crude oil production site, if the crude oil is heavy, i.e., its API gravity is below 10 degrees, naphtha is used as a diluent so as to reduce its viscosity. The added naptha is separated with the heavy crude oil at the receiving end with the help of a distillation process. Once it is separated out, it can be subsequently pumped back for blending or can be used as a feedstock for petrochemicals and fertilizer plants.