Refineries are processing facilities where crude oil is refined into various products and intermediaries. In the refineries crude oil is passed through refining units and treated in various stages which include desalination; preheat and heating to increase the temperature; and after that hot oil is passed through crude distillation unit (CDU). In CDU, crude oil is processed into distillation column and is separated into various products and intermediaries depending upon boiling points. Separated refined products and intermediaries include liquefied petroleum gas, naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil and residue. Residue is further processed in the vacuum distillation unit and products like heavy vacuum gas oil and base oils are separated to manufacture lubricants. By type of crude oil processed, refinery market can be segmented into sweet crude and sour crude refining.
Due to wide array of processes involved in refining, there are many productivity and process safety related challenges faced by refineries.
Global refining industry has witnessed volatile growth over the years because of declining petroleum prices, global economic uncertainties and varying refinery margins. It is expected that in long to mid-term growth of refining industry will stabilize with the increase of oil prices.
Major companies operating in global oil refinery market include Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company, Chevron Corporation, China National Petroleum Company, Conoco Phillips, ENI, Exxon Mobil, Reliance Industries, Total Oil, Kuwait Petroleum International, National Iranian Oil Company, Saudi Aramco Lubricating Oil Refining Company, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, among others.
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