Life as we know it today would be very different without oil and gas products. When the crude oil gushes from the ground, there is not much you can do with it. It requires to be refined and processed into products you can use.
I was recently asked by my niece, when was the first refinery built? It had not thought about that and so I did a little research.
The first oil refinery was established in United States of America in 1853 and was established by Samuel Kier. It was established in Pittsburgh on Seventh Avenue near Grant Street.. However, by the end of the 19th century, the Russian Empire, particularly the Branobel company in Azerbaijan, had taken the lead in production.
In the earliest days of the petroleum industry, from the mid-nineteenth century until the early twentieth century, the marketable products refined from crude oil were focused on kerosene and lubricants.
Since that time the rise of the use of the internal combustion engine has made gasoline the primary product of the refining process.
Because hundreds of types of hydrocarbons compose crude oil, those various materials must be separated from the crude by a refining process.
Up until the mid-1940s petroleum products were refined by the relatively inexpensive fractional distillation process, a mechanical operation that involves heating crude oil. As it heats, its various hydrocarbon components, called “fractions,” tend to boil at different temperatures.
As the fractions boil off, vapors are recovered and distilled into liquids. The fractions that are recovered, from lowest boiling point to highest, include gases such as butane, then gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and finally heating oil and lubricants. Distillation produces approximately 40 percent gasoline from each barrel of crude oil.
In order to increase the volume of gasoline to meet post–World War II market demands and to develop various other hydrocarbon-based products, refiners created a chemical process called catalytic (cat) cracking.
Cat cracking breaks down various hydrocarbon molecule chains and transforms them into gasoline and other products, allowing a much greater percentage of gasoline to be extracted from each barrel of oil. Since its successful introduction shortly after the end of WWII, cat cracking has remained the primary method of refining crude oil in the United States.
When was the first refinery built in Nigeria?
Nigeria’s first oil refinery, at Alesa Eleme near Port Harcourt, began operations in late 1965 with a capacity of 38,000 barrels per day, enough to meet domestic requirements at the time.
What is the biggest refinery in the world?
Jamnagar refinery is the world’s largest oil refinery with an aggregate capacity of 1.24 million barrels per day (bpd).
The refinery complex is located at Jamnagar in Gujarat, India. It is owned and operated by Reliance Industries.