To the lay person, looking at an oil refinery is like looking at group of mazes inside of a larger maze. The vast array of processes in continuous operation running through 5,000 miles of piping over hundreds of acres might not even be fully understood (outside their area of expertise) by all of the up to 450 employees required to run a plant of such size. This infographic attempts to untangle those processes in order to provide a basic understanding of the complex processes of an oil refinery. (Not all processes are included) click image to enlarge in seperate window
Some Terms to Know Fractions or Cuts - are components, or groups of hydrocarbon molecules with different characteristics that are separated from crude oil. SR - refers to Straight Run which is a component stream directly taken from the crude unit that has not been further processed.
Naphtha - is the first petroleum product produced during the distillation process . Virgin or straight-run Naphtha is often further distilled into light and heavy with heavy naphtha containing more carbon atoms. Distillates - are “fractions” or components of crude oil that have been separated during the distillation process.