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Oil is a flammable oily liquid with a characteristic odor. It is distributed in the shell of the Earth and is one of the most important natural resources of the planet. It is used to make:

  • gasoline; 

  • kerosene; 

  • diesel fuel; fuel oils; 

  • and the initial components for making household supplies.

Oil Exploration

The purpose of oil exploration is to identify, evaluate by economic and geological parameters, and prepare for the development of oil production sites. Oil exploration includes drilling work, geological and geochemical work at the sites of oil deposits. Three stages are distinguished:

The first stage is prospecting in basins where oil and gas content is not established. Regional works and study of tectonic zones are carried out. Gravimetric, geological and aeromagnetic surveys are carried out, and the chemical composition of rocks and waters is studied. Then reference wells are drilled. 

The second stage includes a detailed gravity survey, seismic and electrical survey, and a detailed structural-geological survey. The scale of the survey and forecasts of oil deposits are clarified, and oil reserves are calculated and forecasted. The third stage is drilling of wells to search for oil deposits. 

The maximum depth of drilling is performed at the first exploration wells.

The main purpose of the exploration stage is to prepare for development, define the contours of deposits and forecast of possible reserves.

Oil production

Today, all of the oil that is produced is extracted through drilling wells. To bring the oil to the surface of the earth with its accompanying water and gas requires the installation of a tight system of lifting pipes, fittings and mechanisms.

It should be taken into account that these systems should be designed to work under the pressure characteristic of underground strata of rocks.

The whole process of oil production is divided into three stages:

  • The movement of oil horizontally, along the formation, towards the well. This movement is achieved through an artificial difference between the pressure at the bottom of the well and at the reservoir. 

  • The movement of oil from the bottom of the well to the wellhead at the ground surface. This movement is called the well operation process. 

  • Collection of oil, water and gas that arrived at the surface of the earth, separation, removal of mineral salts and solid sediments.

The extraction of oil from the well is done by naturally spouting it under the influence of reservoir pressure. Artificially the resource is lifted by mechanized method.

At the beginning of the development usually use the fountain production method, but when the delivery of the fountain weakened, the well is equipped with mechanized methods of lifting oil.

The mechanized methods include:gas-lift method with a compressor station, gas collectors and gas distributors; depth-pumping, using hydraulic piston, rod and screw pumps.

Oil refining

Oil products are obtained at some stage of the processing of crude oil. Sales of oil and its products today is one of the most capital-intensive segments of the world economy.

Refining is carried out for the purpose of purification, increasing the octane number in the case of gasoline, separation of fractions and their further transformation.

In the first stages the dissolved alkanes are separated from the feedstock by distillation. After that the feedstock is heated up again and the compounds with low boiling point are converted into gaseous state.

As the temperature increases, the compounds with a higher boiling point and transition to a gaseous state are correspondingly distilled off. In this way, three different fractions are collected, which are further separated and processed depending on which refinery products are to be obtained.

Refining operations

The products obtained from oil depend very much on the profile of the production that processes the raw material. Refineries specialize in making gasoline, diesel, and kerosene, but may also sell by-products of production.

Fuel and oil refineries, respectively, additionally dispense fractions from which lubricating and diesel oils can be obtained. Fuel and petrochemical industries supply not only fuel, but also substances that are inputs to chemical production - ethylene, styrene.

Accordingly, fuel oil and petrochemical industries are universal and produce the largest range of products obtained by processing of natural raw materials.

In spite of this, it is the fuel-oil-processing enterprises that are in the greatest demand. There are more oil refineries than others, because motor fuel is in wide demand among the population and industry.

Main oil fractions

The main fractions emitted during primary and secondary oil distillation, purification and desalting are:

Gasoline fraction containing alkanes from pentane to decane. Further processing of this fraction allows to obtain gasoline and gasoline. Ligroin fraction containing alkanes starting from octane and higher. The separated naphtha is used as tractor fuel. Kerosene fraction containing alkanes beginning with dodecane. Purified kerosene is used as fuel for rockets, tractors and jets. Gasoil, separated at temperatures up to three hundred degrees Celsius, is a diesel fuel. Fuel oil is a residual mixture obtained as a result of distillation. It is subdivided into diesel oil, lubricating oil, and vaseline.

Some grades of oil produce paraffin and tar, which remains after distillation and is used in road construction.

Refined products in the home

The most well-known product of oil refining is gasoline. Often refineries of the fuel type are built on the basis of oil production companies, which, however, also produce diesel oils, gasoil and kerosene. But gasoline is not the only petroleum-derived product that makes its way into the daily lives of consumers.


Universal industries that specialize in more than just fuels produce polymers of ethylene, styrene and plastics. By isolating these hydrocarbons during the processing of raw materials and then, by polymerizing them, mankind has obtained:

  • plastic containers for food processing; 

  • plastic bags; 

  • various construction and repair plastics.


A well-known drug used to fight high fever and headaches, it has its origins in petroleum refining products, as the initial component for the synthesis of acetylsalicylic acid is benzene.

Solar panels

Solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, have been called the main competitors of non-renewable energy sources. However, non-renewable raw materials are also used to make these panels - the photovoltaic cell that converts energy must be applied to a panel made of petroleum resin.


Many people associate nylon with an element of women's closet - nylon tights and stockings. But this is not the final list of products made from nylon. It is included in household chemicals, clothes, parachutes, bearings, bushings and many other indispensable things in everyday life.

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