Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, toxic, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, and other organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling. It is refined and separated, most easily by boiling point, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline and kerosene to asphalt and chemicals used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals. 

  • Petrochemicals Featured Article Petrochemicals Petrochemicals

    Petrochemicals are chemical products made from the hydrocarbons present in raw natural gas and petroleum crude oil. The largest petrochemical manufacturing industries are to... More »

  • Petroleum refining processes Featured Article Petroleum refining processes Petroleum refining processes

    Petroleum refining processes are those chemical engineering processes and other facilities used in petroleum refineries (also referred to as oil refineries) to transform... More »

  • Fossil fuel Featured Article Fossil fuel Fossil fuel

    Fossil fuel is any naturally occurring carbon compound found in the Earth's crust that has been produced by anaerobic conditions and high pressures acting on dead... More »

  • Methane Featured Article Methane Methane

      Introduction Methane is a simple chemical molecule, having the formula CH4. It is the the principal component of natural gas. Complete combustion of methane... More »

  • Planning for the end of oil (7:23) Featured Video Planning for the end of oil (7:23)

    Date of Video: Feb. 2010 As the world's attention focuses on the perils of oil exploration, Richard Sears, an expert in developing new energy resources, talks about our... More »

  • Fluid catalytic cracking Featured Article Fluid catalytic cracking Fluid catalytic cracking

    Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions of... More »

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Fossil fuel Last Updated on 2014-10-28 12:02:28 Fossil fuel is any naturally occurring carbon compound found in the Earth's crust that has been produced by anaerobic conditions and high pressures acting on dead organisms. These fossil fuel deposits are typically found at depths beneath the Earth surface or ocean floor of tens of meters to kilometers, and often occur in large agglomerations of gas, liquid or solid matter. Presently, combustion of fossil fuels account for over 86 percent of the world's artificial energy delivered to the human society. These fuels are considered non-renweable in that their natural creation time requires millions of years. The extraction, processing and combustion of fossil fuels causes significant adverse environmental consequences to biodiversity, air quality and water quality, as well as substantial impacts to human health and mortality. These processes also generate large... More »
Hydrodesulfurization Last Updated on 2013-12-15 23:43:02 Hydrodesulfurization (HDS) or Hydrotreating is a catalytic chemical process widely used to remove sulfur compounds from refined petroleum products such as gasoline or petrol, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and fuel oils. One purpose for removing the sulfur is to reduce the sulfur dioxide emissions resulting from using those fuels in automotive vehicles, aircraft, railroad locomotives, ships, or oil burning power plants, residential and industrial furnaces, and other forms of fuel combustion. Another important reason for removing sulfur from the intermediate product naphtha streams within a petroleum refinery is that sulfur, even in extremely low concentrations, poisons the noble metal catalysts platinum and rhenium in the catalytic reforming units that are subsequently used to upgrade the of the naphtha streams. Hydrogenation of the sulfur compounds results in the formation of undesirable,... More »
Danish Straits Last Updated on 2013-05-28 00:00:00 The Danish Straits are the three sea channels between Denmark and  Sweden connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea through the Kattegat and Skagerrak.  The three chief sea passages are: Øresund (Oresund); Storebælt (Great Belt); and, Lillebælt (Little Belt). Øresund (Oresund) Oresund is the eastern-most of the Danish Straits, separating the Danish island of Zealand (Sjaelland in Danish) from the Swedish mainland. Denmark and Sweden were linked in prehistoric times—until 7000 years ago when rising sea levels accompanying the end of the Ice Age severed the dry-land connection between the two. At its narrowest, between Helsingor'/Elsinor (Demark) and Helsingborg (Sweden), the Oresund is approximately 2.5 miles (4 kilometres). A ferry connects the two sides, but the construction of a tunnel is... More »
Strait of Malacca Last Updated on 2013-05-16 00:00:00 The Strait of Malacca, located between Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, links the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Persian Gulf. The length of the strait is about 800 kilometres. At its narrowest point in the Phillips Channel of the Singapore Strait, Malacca is only approximately 1.7 miles wide, creating a natural bottleneck, as well as potential for collisions, piracy, grounding, or water pollution, particularly for oil spills. Geography The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Strait of Malacca as shown by the dashed lines on the map below. However, for practical purposes, many include the Singapore Strait as part of Malacca. Base map source: Demis Importance for Oil Transportation Malacca is the shortest sea route between Persian Gulf suppliers and the Asian markets—notably China, Japan, South Korea, and the... More »
Vapor pressure Last Updated on 2012-04-24 00:00:00 Vapor pressure (also referred to as the equilibrium vapor pressure), is the pressure of a vapor in equilibrium with its liquid or solid phase.[1][2] At any given temperature of a specific substance, there is a pressure at which the vapor phase of that specific substance is in thermodynamic equilibrium with its liquid or solid phases — i.e., when the rates at which molecules escape from and return into the vaporizing liquid or solid are equal. This is the vapor pressure of the specific substance at that temperature. The vapor pressure of a substance increases with increasing temperature. Volatility of liquids The vapor pressure is an indication of a liquid's evaporation rate. It relates to the tendency of molecules and atoms to escape from a liquid or a solid. Any substance with a significant vapor pressure at temperatures of about 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77... More »