Oil refinery

Vereinfachtes Schema der Erdölaufarbeitung in einer Raffinerie
simplified pattern of the oil processing in a refinery

an oil refinery is an industrial company, which makes products with high order of the natural substance oil by distillation, cleaning (desulphurisation) and refinement (reformation).

The natural product oil becomes in the refinery before the processing crude oil and after the processing Mineral oil mentioned.


Web on the left of [work on


history the first refineries alreadyat the beginning of the mineral oil era, thus in the middle 19. Century. The first refinery enterprise is to have been furnished 1856 in Ploieşti (Romania). The historical drilling of Edwin Drake in August 1859 in Titusville (Pennsylvania) (the USA) is generally considered as beginning of the petroleum industry. Very fast began outOil of won lamp oils up to then from animal fats, in particular Waltran, to replace won lamp fuels to which, first by simple distillation, a dressing of the oil was necessary. The utilization of further products won from the oil and in particular the fast spreading of the combustion engines after the First World War requirednot only, but led the building of numerous new refineries also to a rapid advancement of the procedures used in a refinery. As in many other branches of industry the requirements changed to a refinery, in particular to the products in the course of the years. Fundamental is here thatAdapt the products specification to call, which changed in the last years due to the laws (environment and health). Thus sank the permitted sulfur content with the fuels as well as with the fuel oil. With the carburetor fuels those sank benzene - and the aromatic specifications.


the crude oil delivered from stores by ship or pipeline in the following process steps one processes:

oil cleaning

the crude oil was already separated at stores from sand and water. Around corrosion in the plants the crude oil will prevententsalzt (on Salzgehalte <10ppm), as in ball demineralizers a crude oil water emulsion is manufactured. The salt separates in the aqueous phase of this emulsion. The aqueous phase is separated according to it from the crude oil in the refinery.

primary processing

distillation column

after the demineralization becomes the crude oil in twoStages warms up. The preliminary heating is done in heat exchangers via heat recovery of product running off. The point preheating takes place via furnaces up to for instance 400° C. The oil heated up is isolated by rectification in one up to 50 m high column into its components. The crude oil steps in one2-Phasen current (gas/liquid) into the column. The temperature distribution drops upward! There the temperature in the sump is highest and the light components thus does not condense rises the light components gaseously further upward. In the head of the column gas falls andLight gasoline (naphtha) on, among them kerosene, intermediate product for Flugbenzin, Diesel fuel and light fuel oil. Far down gas oils (fuel oil - and Diesel - basic materials) and in the sump - foot of the column - the arrears. This first rectification takes place at atmospheric pressure and becomes thereforeatmospheric rectification mentioned. The arrears are again distilled in a further rectifying column with vacuum, in order to isolate it into further products (see vacuum distillation). A vacuum rectification is necessarily, there the chain length of the heavysimmering hydrocarbons (KWs) is larger and this KWs at high temperatures in addition bends thermallyto cracken as itself distillative separate to let (Van Waal forces).

finishing processes

after the primary processing are used a set of improving procedures, in order to separate and improve around the quality of the intermediate products catalyst pollutants - nearly all petroleum products, those the refineryabandoned are not only simply from oil distilled/rectified. Thus carburetor fuels, Diesel fuel, become which fuel oil (specially) for real estates and for industrial plants (fuel oil heavily) from different intermediate products/components merged, which are produced with production processes down mentioned.


withHydrotreating become individual intermediate products (e.g. Naphtha or gas oil) brought with hydrogen into chemical reaction. Oxygen, nitrogen and schwefelhaltige hydrocarbon molecules are cleaned by the Heteroatomen (oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur).

By the example the conversion of Merkaptanen: <math> R-SH+ H_2 \ rightarrow R-H+ H_2S< /math>

The conversion of alcohols: <math> R-OH+ H_2 \ rightarrowR-H+ H_2O< /math>

The conversion of amines: <math> R-NH_2+ H_2 \ rightarrow R-H+ NH_3< /math>

The Hydrotreating runs off catalysts from nickel, molybdenum or cobalt at temperatures by 300-400°C, to be used thereby on alumina. Won hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) is converted in a Claus plant to pure sulfur.

Work on []


the Reforming has the goal to increase the octane number of the raw gasoline (boiling range 75 - 180 °C) and produce aromatic hydrocarbons. Further one receives hydrogen as product, which is used in the Hydrotreating processes and in Hydrocracking processes. The Reforming runs with approx. 500 °C and5-40 bar in a moving bed reactor off. Thereby bifunctional catalysts (platinum, tin on alumina or zeolites) are used. Typical reactions with the Reforming are:

  • Ringschluss: <math> alkanes \ rightarrow cycloalkanes +H_2< /math>
  • Dehydrogenation: <math> cycloalkanes \ rightarrow aromatics +H_2< /math>
  • Isomerization: <math> n-alkanes \ rightarrow ISO alkanes< /math>

Besides also Hydrocracking reactions arise.

conversion procedures

conversion procedures are Crack processes.With the Cracken hydrocarbons of high chain length are split into hydrocarbons of low chain length. A cause for it is that the market demands more kurzkettige hydrocarbons (gasoline, Diesel, light fuel oil), when is contained in the oil. Langkettige of hydrocarbons (heavy fuel oil) are hardly still requested against it, so that procedures were developed, langkettige hydrocarbonsto split into kurzkettige.

There are two main groups with the Cracken: Thermal Cracken and catalytic Cracken. These two groups differ essentially by the fact that with the thermal Cracken no catalysts are used. Thus to the thermal Cracken also arrears of the Erdöldestillation can be supplied, because of theirContent of heavy metals and sulfur would damage the catalyst with the catalytic Cracken. See also Cracken.

OMV Raffinerie Schwechat
OMV refinery Schwechat

of products

the finished products can be gaseously, liquid or firm. (State of aggregation)

the quantities at finished products depends on the one hand on the assigned crude oil places, on the other hand on the kind at processing installations, existing in the refinery. Thus „light “crude oils contain relatively high portionsat light products, D. h. such with small density (liquid gas, kerosene, gasoline, Diesel), „heavy “crude oils against it larger portions of heavy products, like heavy fuel oil and bitumen. Into modern refineries a part of these heavy components can be converted into easier (z. B. through „Cracken “- s. o.), so that such a refinery can process more heavy crude oil, which is generally cheaper than easy.

  • The yield of a modern refinery in approximately as follows becomes proportional:
    • 3% liquid gas (propane, butane)
    • 9% raw gasoline, naphtha
    • 24% carburetor/Petrol
    • 4% aircraft turbine fuel, kerosene
    • 21% Diesel fuel
    • 21% light fuel oil
    • 11% heavy fuel oil
    • 3.5% bitumen
    • 1.5% lubricants
    • remainder: other products, power consumption, losses

a refinery in the dawn

of components of a refinery

the processing installations of an oil refinery consist ofmany components:

belonged in addition to a refinery:

  • The administration
  • The laboratory
  • workshops and spare parts depot
  • power station
    • steam generation
    • current supply
  • biological sewage purification plants
  • works fire brigade
  • first assistance station
  • farm buildings with cafeteria

of career profiles

of locations of German, Austrian and Swiss refineries

MiRO Karlsruhe



Web on the left of

Wiktionary: Oil refinery - word origin, synonyms and translations
Commons: Oil refinery - pictures, videos and/or audio files

  > German to English > de.wikipedia.org (Machine translated into English)