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Refined products

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


Also known as: Thiol, mercaptans are highly odorous sulfur-containing hydrocarbons that are often removed from light products such as LPG or jet fuel in a merox unit. Mercaptans have a chemical structure that includes a hydrogen atom bonded to a sulfur atom bonded to a carbon atom, with the generic formula R-SH. Mercaptans can be removed in hydrotreaters and by sweetening in merox units.

Cycle oil

Also known as: light cycle oil, LCO, Cycle oil is the diesel range product from the FCC unit., As a diesel blendstock, cycle oil is not very highly valued because of its high aromatics content, which gives it a low cetane., Typically, it is hydrotreated to raise its cetane and then blended into diesel.

EN590 is the emissions standard for automotive diesel in Europe set by the European Union.​

Pet coke

Also known as: coke, refinery coke, petroleum coke, is the solid carbon byproduct of cracking units such as the the FCC and coker unit. The primary end use for pet coke is as a solid fuel, used as a substitute for coal in furnaces and boilers. The value of the coke as a product is typically far below the cost of the crude oil used to produce it. Green coke is raw pet coke as it comes directly from the coker, before it has received any further treating such as calcining.​


Methane is a simple hydrocarbon with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. In a refinery, methane is produced in the refinery gas stream of many conversion units. It is also often purchased from outside the refinery as natural gas. Methane is generally consumed as a fuel in a refinery and is also used as a feedstock in hydrogen production.


Naphtha is a broad term referring to distillation fractions and other intermediates in the gasoline boiling range.  PNA is a quality measure for naphtha. Specifically, it is the volumetric % of paraffins, naphthenes, and aromatics of the naphtha. 


Benzene is a hydrocarbon with six carbon atoms in an unsaturated aromatic ring structure. Benzene is the most fundamental of the aromatic hydrocarbons. benzene is an important feedstock to the petrochemicals industry, so many refiners produce and extract benzene to sell as a finished product. The primary source of benzene in a refinery is from the reformate produced in the reformer.