Pictures of pumpjacks, offshore platforms, and viscous black liquid—google “crude oil,” and these are the top images you’ll see. These results might be what you’re looking for if you want to learn about crude oil, but they only tell part of the story.
Formed from organic matter thanks to the combination of time, pressure, and heat, crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules trapped under the surface of the earth. Geologists locate economically viable sources of crude oil for production companies to tap into. Producers drill wells on land and offshore to access oil reserves and then sell their produced crude oil to refiners. Refineries convert crude oil into thousands of usable products, like diesel fuel, home heating oil, gasoline, and petrochemical feedstocks. As the base product for the petrochemical industry, crude oil is part of countless chemicals and plastics, which are used to make everyday items from the sneakers on your feet to the refrigerator in your kitchen.
The economic value of crude oil is determined by its composition. Crude oil is categorized into grades by its characteristics like viscosity, API gravity, and sulfur content. Light or heavy? Sweet or sour? The answers to these questions influence how the crude oil can be refined and which petroleum products it can be refined into. Bridging the gap between producers and refiners is the crude oil transportation chain.
Advancing technologies and techniques mean a production site can be in the middle of nowhere, 100 miles offshore, and anywhere in between. The location of a production site and its distance from storage centers or refiners determine how crude oil is transported. If there is sufficient infrastructure, pipelines are the safest and most economical choice for transporting high volumes of crude oil across long distances. When pipelines aren’t an option, rail cars, tanker trucks, and a variety of marine vessels fill in the gaps.
Often changing hands as its transported from the production site to the refinery, crude oil must be sampled for accurate allocation and marketing. When you also consider the variable nature of crude oil, contractual agreements, legal requirements, and variety of refinery designs, you’ll see how critical representative sampling is. Producer, refiner, or shipper, Welker works with you to design and manufacture a complete automatic composite sampling system fit for your process conditions and in compliance with API 8.2, ASTM D4177, and ISO 3171.
Contract stipulations. Variable batch sizes. High pour point. Harsh environmental conditions. When your system design needs that certain something, we can help. Let us tailor a turnkey system to your unique application with our Plus Welker™ line.
With sixty-five years in the oil and gas industry, you can rely on our expertise to determine the best fit for your requirements. From on-site service to in-house repairs, our factory trained technicians and crude oil experts have you covered.