Types and Classifications of Crude Oil

Published: 23rd March 2010
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Formed by the fossil fuels of plants and animals, millions and millions of years ago, crude oil is a flammable substance. It is a mixture of hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds such as nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur. crude oil gets trapped in the pores of the underground rock and it is extracted to make it refined. Cosmetics, detergents, gasoline, plastics, paints etc are made out of crude oil.

Being extracted from different parts of the world, crude oil differs in terms of its physical properties such as color, viscosity, relative weight etc after which the oil is heated at a high temperature to separate it from its impurities and bring it to a usable form. The major crude oil producing countries are Mexico, United States, Iran, Nigeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and China. Among these countries, Saudi Arabia is the world's major and leading producer of crude oil. Due to the advancement in technology and various other reasons, demand for crude oil has increased and it is being consumed at a high rate in different parts of the world. The major oil consuming country is the United States of America followed by China, Japan, India, Germany, and France, etc.

Even though oil is consumed at a high rate globally, not all countries produce it. Countries like Italy, France, Spain and India import crude oil from the major crude oil producing countries to meet the increasing demand of oil consumption. Due to the huge demand in crude oil, it is estimated that the oil reserves will get depleted after few years. Hence scientists are trying to figure out an alternative to overcome the global energy crisis. The oils can be light and volatile liquids or heavy. The light and volatile oils are toxic to animals and plants .Non sticky oils are less toxic. Heavy oils are sticky and black in color. There are also asphaltic base, paraffin base and mixed base oils.

Types of crude oil and Classifications of crude oil

There are many different types of crude oil and Classifications of crude oil is based on the geographical locations, sulfur content and relative weight but the major classification is done based on the location, as the oil comes from various parts of the world and they differ in their characteristics. The American Petroleum Institute or the API provides a basis to measure the density of the oil. If the presence of sulfur is low in the crude oil, it is termed as 'sweet' and if the oil has high sulfur content then it is termed as 'sour'. Based on the geographical classification, the various benchmarks are North Sea crudes, United State crudes, West African crudes and Persian Gulf crudes. The North Sea crudes comprise of Brent, Osberg, Forties, North Sea basket etc. Brent Sweet Light crude is light but not as light as the West Texas Intermediate (WTI). Brent crude is suitable for the production of gasoline. The sulfur level is 0.36% whereas the API gravity is around 38.5 degrees for the North Sea crudes.

The Next benchmark of crude oil which is the OPEC Reference basket or the West African crudes has API gravity around 35 degrees and sulfur level of 0.2%. Bonny light, Escravos, Forcados and more fall under this benchmark. The Persian Gulf crude includes Dubai, Arab and Qatar. API gravity around 37 degrees and 1.08% of sulfur level are the measures. The United States Crude comprises of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), West Texas Sour (WTS), Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) and much more. The sulfur content is 0.24% and the API gravity is 39.6 degrees. The WTI is ideal for the production of gasoline due to its low sulfur content and it is lighter than Brent crude.

For more information and details on Crude Oil,

Types of Crude Oil, Investments through Oil ETFs, Crude Oil Prices, Oil Price trends, and all about Oil, do visit our site - http://www.oilprices.org/

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