Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO)
Definition - What does Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO) mean?
Synthetic crude oil is produced by upgrading bitumen and tar. It does not occur naturally and has to be produced by refining the byproducts of petroleum. Once prepared, the synthetic crude oil or SCO has to be further refined so as to produce other petroleum products such as gasoline. Ideally, the components of synthetic crude oil are naphtha, distillate and gas oil materials. There are many companies that manufacture Synthetic Crude Oil such as Suncor and Syncrude in Canada. Synthetic crude is also referred as shale oil, which is produced when oil shale is processed using pyrolysis.
Petropedia explains Synthetic Crude Oil (SCO)
Unlike petroleum or crude oil, synthetic crude oil does not occur naturally. It is a product of bitumen, which is an extra heavy oil and tar sands. Basically, it is a synthetic intermediate product produced whenever an unconventional oil source or extra heavy oil is processed and upgraded to other form. This oil is then transported to oil refineries where they are processed further to make them usable. The constituents of a synthetic crude oil are distillate, naphtha, gas oil materials and it is low in sulfur with an API gravity of 30. Sometimes, it is also referred to as upgraded crude.
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