What Is Crude Oil?
Crude oil is a naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits and other organic materials. A type of fossil fuel, crude oil can be refined to produce usable products such as gasoline, diesel and various forms of petrochemicals. It is a nonrenewable resource, which means that it can’t be replaced naturally at the rate we consume it and is, therefore, a limited resource.
Between 50% and 97% of oil is hydrocarbons. Between 6% and 10% of it is nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. Less than 1% is metals such as copper, nickel, vanadium, and iron.
Oil is called a fossil fuel because of its origins. It was created 400 million years ago when the remains of prehistoric algae and plankton fell to the bottom of the ocean. It combined with mud and then was covered by layers of sediment. The intense pressure heated the remains over millions of years. It first became a waxy substance called kerogen. It became liquid oil after more pressure and heat. That’s why it’s a nonrenewable resource. It would take millions of years for new oil to be created when this supply is gone.
More About Crude Oil
Crude oil is typically obtained through drilling, where it is usually found alongside other resources, such as natural gas (which is lighter and therefore sits above the crude oil) and saline water (which is denser and sinks below). It is then refined and processed into a variety of forms, such as gasoline, kerosene, and asphalt, and sold to consumers.
Although it is often called “black gold,” crude oil has ranging viscosity and can vary in color from black to yellow depending on its hydrocarbon composition. Distillation, the process by which oil is heated and separated in different components, is the first stage in refining.
Our Light Crude Oil
Light sweet crude is the most valuable oil because it is easier to refine or distill, and transport. By contrast, heavier oils such as tar sands oil require higher heat and thus more energy to refine into useful products. Note, however, that light crude oils are considered more potentially toxic to the environment because if spilled they will spread rapidly
Light vs Heavy Crude Oil
Light Crude oil is liquid petroleum that has low density and that flows freely at room temperature. It has low viscosity, low specific gravity and high API gravity due to the presence of a high proportion of light hydrocarbon fractions. It generally has a low wax content as well. On the other hand, heavy crude oil or extra heavy crude oil is any type of crude oil which does not flow easily. It is referred to as “heavy” because its density or specific gravity is higher than that of light crude oil. Heavy crude oil has been defined as any liquid petroleum with an API gravity less than 20°