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What products are created from oil processed in Canadian refineries?



Around 1/3 of crude refined in western Canada considered heavy

Canada’s 16 refineries process oil that is produced in Canada and imported from abroad, according to the National Energy Board.

Over the last five years, these refineries produced an average of 2.3 million barrels of refined petroleum products each day.

Approximately 80 per cent of these products were used to either move people and goods, or keep people warm.

oil sands

The largest product category within this 80 per cent figure was motor gasoline, which accounted for more than a third of the products created.

Diesel and middle distillates (such as light fuel oil) are the second largest category and are used for passenger and freight transportation, electricity generation, and home heating.

Rounding out this 80 per cent figure are the aviation fuel category (turbo jet fuel and aviation gasoline used by passenger, commercial, and military aircraft), and the heavy fuel oils category (fuel used primarily for marine transport).

Refineries also produce various other products, ranging from “light” to “heavy”.

For refined petroleum products, “heavy” and “light” are relative measures based on hydrocarbon fractions and boiling point.

This is separate from the classification of different types of crude oil as “heavy” or “light”, which focuses more on density and viscosity.

On the light side, propane, butanes, other liquefied petroleum gases (LPGs), and still gas can be inputs in the petrochemicals industry and converted into consumer items such as plastics, synthetic fibres, resins, and rubbers.

Other light products include naphthas, stove oil, and kerosene. On the “heavy” side, asphalt is primarily for road and surface paving, but is also used for roofing and the waterproofing of buildings.

“Still gas” is a mixture of gases produced by refineries that includes methane, ethane, and other LPGs. Still gas is generally used as a fuel for the refining process, but can also serve as a petrochemical feedstock.

Other heavy products include petroleum coke, lubricating oils and greases, and paraffin wax.

The range of products produced in each refinery depends on the type of oil being refined, as heavier oil results in heavier products and lighter oil results in lighter products.

Around a third of the crude refined in western Canada is considered heavy, while approximately 10 per cent of the crude refined in eastern Canada is considered heavy.

Posted in: Canada

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