1. Crude oil is a natural fossil fuel which, once refined, is used to create most of the energy sources used industrially and domestically, from gasoline and diesel to power vehicles, to jet fuel for aircraft and fuel for ships. It is also used widely in the production of chemical products such as pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilisers, pesticides and plastics.
2. Fuel oil, which is distilled from crude oil and often left as residue during the refining process, refers to a range of the least volatile and heaviest of the commercially used fuels. Some 10% of fuel oil produced is used to power large ships. A further 15% is used for heating and the remainder is used by refineries as feedstock for further upgrading.
3. Middle distillates refers to a range of refined products situated between lighter fractions, such as LPG or gasoline, and heavier products such as fuel oil. Typically they include jet fuel, heating kerosene, and gas and diesel oils, such as marine bunker fuels. Diesel is mainly used for transportation. Heating kerosene is processed for commercial and domestic heating, whereas jet fuel is used to power the engines of commercial and military aircraft.
4. Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas mixture largely made up of methane and some other gases. The gas is typically removed from deep underground rock formations with drilling rigs, processed to remove impurities such as water and carbon dioxide, and sold as consumer fuel for heating, cooking or generating wholesale electricity. It is also used to power vehicles and in the manufacture of plastics and chemicals.
Naphtha Naphtha refers to a range of volatile and flammable liquids produced by the distillation of petroleum. The liquids, which differ slightly in their chemical structures and boiling points, have various applications in the refining process – the main one as a feedstock for gasoline and the manufacture of olefins by the petrochemical industry.
Gasoline Gasoline is a transparent, volatile liquid. It is made by blending up to ten different refined products and is used mainly to power motor vehicles.
LPG LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) is predominantly propane and butanes, either segregated or in various ratios and mixtures of each product. LPG is a by-product of the refinery process, transported mainly in pressurised vessels. LPG is also a by-product of crude oil production (Associated Gas) and a by-product of natural gas production (Non Associated Gas). Associated and Non Associated LPG or NGL’s (Natural Gas Liquids) are shipped via pipeline in large quantities where possible, for example in the US, and via refrigerated VLGC’s (Very Large Gas Carriers) from, for example, the US Gulf Coast to Japan. As well as being a fundamental building block in the petrochemical process, LPG it also a convenient fuel used globally for domestic purposes; in the northern hemisphere, LPG is used for home heating, while in Africa it is used as a cooking gas. In some markets, LPG is also used as a fuel for cars (known as Autogas).