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Energy Insight

Refined products

Also known as: petroleum products, oil products, finished products

Petroleum products are the outputs of a petroleum refinery. A typical refinery produces a wide variety of different products from every barrel of crude oil that it processes. Generally, refineries operate to make as much of the high-value light products (gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel) that they can, with the other products acting essentially as by-products.

Some of the major products from a typical refinery are:

  • Propane - Used as a feedstock for ethylene cracking, or blended into LPG for uses as a fuel

  • Butane - Used as a feedstock for ethylene cracking, or blended into LPG for uses as a fuel

  • LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) - A blend of propane and butane used as fuel

  • Light naphtha - Used as feedstock into ethylene crackers

  • Gasoline - Used as a transportation fuel for passenger cars and light trucks

  • Aviation gasoline - Used as an engine fuel in light aircraft

  • Jet fuel - Used as a fuel for jet aircraft

  • Kerosene fuel oil - Used as a residential cooking, heating, and lighting fuel

  • Diesel - Used as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks, trains, and heavy equipment

  • Industrial gasoil - Used as a furnace fuel in industrial plants and commercial/residential heating (heating oil)

  • Residual fuel oil - Used as a fuel in power generation and for large ocean-going ships (bunker fuel)

Many refineries also produce specialty or non-fuel products such as:

  • Asphalt - Used to pave roads and in the manufacture of building materials (e.g., roof shingles)

  • Base oils - Used to make lubricating oils for use in industrial machinery and vehicle engines

  • Propylene - Can be separated for sale to the petrochemicals industry

  • Aromatics - Can be separated from reformate for sale to the petrochemicals industry

  • Wax - Extracted from lubricating oil and either sold as a feedstock to specialty wax production (as slackwax) or treated at the refinery to a finished wax product.

  • Grease - Used as a solid lubricating oil, mostly in industrial uses

  • White oil - A colorless, odorless, tasteless oil used by the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals industries

  • White spirit - Naphtha range material used as an industrial or household solvent

  • Sulfur - A contaminant when present in other products, but once separated, it can be sold as a feedstock to the petrochemicals industry

  • Pet coke - A by-product of the coking process that can be sold as a fuel for power plants and cement plants or to manufacture electrodes and anodes

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