Sweet Crude Oil

Definition - What does Sweet Crude Oil mean?

Sweet Crude Oil is a type of crude oil that is determined based on its sulfur content. Sweet Crude Oil contains very less amounts of sulfur and related contents such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. It is commonly known as sweet crude and it is easier to extract, process and transport. Crude oil can only be termed as sweet crude if its sulfur contents are less than 0.5%. The opposite of sweet crude is sour crude, which contains more than 0.5% of sulfur and higher quantities of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide.

Petropedia explains Sweet Crude Oil

In the early 20th Century, petroleum explorers used to taste the crude to determine whether it was sweet or sour. The crude oil which tasted sweet and less pungent was called sweet crude oil, whereas the pungent and bitter tasting crude was called sour crude oil. The sweetness and sourness of crude oil depends on the quantity of sulfur in it. Sweet crude has 0.5% or lower quantities of sulfur, which may be present in form of hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide, whereas, sour crude has sulfur contents higher than 0.5%.

Sweet Crude Oil is potentially more beneficial in terms of oil production and use. It is safe and easy to refine and extract from the oil reservoir. The low amounts of sulfur make Sweet Crude Oil light and less prone to causing fire damage to the oil producing units. Due to the composition of Sweet Crude Oil, high value products such as jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel can be produced easily.

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