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Does it matter where the oil comes from? #4496799
08/24/17 09:12 AM
08/24/17 09:12 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 192
Texas
AnarchyX Offline OP
AnarchyX  Offline OP
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 192
Texas
I was reading that some oil companies get their oil from Asia, or other places outside of the US.

Does it matter in terms of quality, or meeting ILSAC or API specs?

Is American oil that company X uses going to be a better quality than Asian oil that company B uses?

And does anyone know if there's an oil company that uses American oil in making their motor oil?

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496814
08/24/17 09:29 AM
08/24/17 09:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,167
USA
Reddy45 Offline
Reddy45  Offline
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,167
USA
i mean.. it's all crude before it goes into the refinery

the refinery might be what makes the difference more than anything else

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496821
08/24/17 09:36 AM
08/24/17 09:36 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,521
The Motor City
Kestas Offline
Kestas  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 12,521
The Motor City
Some places have sweet crude, others have sour crude. It makes a difference in refining costs vs quality of product.

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496823
08/24/17 09:38 AM
08/24/17 09:38 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,021
TX
robertcope Offline
robertcope  Offline
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,021
TX
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a very nice oil exhibit. Part of it shows crude oil from around the world. It varies wildly in composition and viscosity. There is a reason refiners are happy to pay more for light, sweet crude.

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496852
08/24/17 10:13 AM
08/24/17 10:13 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 669
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline
MotoTribologist  Offline
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 669
NJ, USA
If it meets the specs, then ti meets the specs regardless of where it comes from. Some countries have reputations for fudging the numbers a bit and misrepresentation, but that is more about the company than the country.

If two engine oils claim to meet the same specs, then you have to assume they are of similar quality regardless of manufacturing location though.

I don't think you were actually asking about crude oil quality, but if you were then yes as described by others above, crude will vary in properties but the end products should be pretty darn near similar after full refinement.

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496858
08/24/17 10:26 AM
08/24/17 10:26 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,088
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,088
New Jersey
Assuming the purity of the finished product is the same, the chemicals are the same. If Im reading the query right, the analogy Id give is that its like drinking water in Asia, North America or Europe... Its still the same H2O. That being an absolute statement since many products such as fuels have very broad distributions of constituents. At one point I had some sample chromatograms, but cant host them from photobucket anymore.

So if you can objectively show that the chemical constituents are the same, have the same levels of purity, have the same levels of other items like, say, sulfur, then the product should be the same. In reality there are variations on a nominal spec that are typically acceptable, but what those are I cannot say, and are product specific. A physical embodiment of that, which relates back to the chemistry is how the viscosity of a lube oil is actually a range of measured value. Take the range of viscosity for a 30wt oil, anything falling in that range being classified as such.

Some feedstocks may be less suitable for making some products too, but there's a lot more to that with regards to how aggressively you want to deal with a raw material or intermediate.

The other element is manufacturing base. Most people couldnt care less if their stuff is made in China, assuming they save a buck. Some stuff the industries are just dead and gone, but others people handwave all kinds of arguments as to why they would want something that is equivalently made here. This comment isnt meant to incite discussion on that premise versus the technical nature of the components, but it is a consideration, in that you may be supporting domestic vs foreign industry.

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: Reddy45] #4496874
08/24/17 10:52 AM
08/24/17 10:52 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
i mean.. it's all crude before it goes into the refinery

the refinery might be what makes the difference more than anything else


Not exactly. I attended a Chinese trade show back in the 1980's at Fort Mason where they were showing off some of their best. I was there to help set up a booth for the US Commerce Dept. SO I got to walk the halls and see the booths and displays going up before the crowds. Some amazing things on display like the Ivory Ship (Junk) from the Royal Palace ...

Among the displays was one fro China Oil. They had large clear display tubes (a couple of liters each) of the oils they got from various wells and where they were refined, etc. One of the displays was of a light sweet crude that was so pure, it went directly into stationary engines as generator fuel - zero refining. It looked, and apparently acted just like like, kerosene.

Sine I had been around refineries for decades by then in in capacity or another, I was shocked to see something like that come out of the ground. I had never seen anything like that. I assume it is rare; but, point being, there are definitely difference is crude quality.

There are a lot of capped wells drilled during WW-II in Nor-Cal. Up near Eureka is the town of Petrolia, home of the first commercial well in Calif. But none of these northern Calif fields have ever produced much. Not because they lack oil, far from it, but the oil is so heavy and so sulfur rich that it is not worth trying to refine. It would cause more pollution to refine than the final product would be worth ... All now "strategic reserve".

You need good crude to make good lubricants.


Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496930
08/24/17 12:22 PM
08/24/17 12:22 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,855
Idaho
CT8 Offline
CT8  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,855
Idaho
With todays hydrocracking ???


2015 Ford F150 2.7
2018 Ford F350 6.2
Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: CT8] #4496981
08/24/17 01:31 PM
08/24/17 01:31 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 121
Vienna, Austria
alex_at Offline
alex_at  Offline
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 121
Vienna, Austria
Originally Posted By: CT8
With todays hydrocracking ???


cost-benefit analysis

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496993
08/24/17 01:43 PM
08/24/17 01:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,090
Europe
SonofJoe Offline
SonofJoe  Offline
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,090
Europe
Today (especially in the US where Group I's are long since dead) by the time you've got engine oil in a can, it matters not a jot what crude oil the base oil was originally refined from.

If you start with a 'sour', high sulphur crude oil (eg Arab Light) virtually all of the sulphur is removed from the VGO by a combination of catalytic hydrocracking & hydrotreating. There is little advantage in starting off with a sweet, low sulphur crude (other than you will have less H2S or elemental sulphur to dispose of as a by-product).

If you start off with a very waxy crude (say Minas crude from Indonesia), the bulk of the n-paraffins that caused the waxiness in the first place, are zapped in a process called catalytic iso-dewaxing. If you start off with a less waxy crude, you end up will an almost identical product but the process severity is reduced a tad.

There are crude oils, particularly naphthenic crude (think Venezuela) which, if you tried to, would make very bad base oils for engine oils on account of their naturally low Viscosity Index (VI). I suppose you could put VGO from these 'bad' crudes through a modern hydrocracker/iso-dewaxing/hydrofinishing complex and make a passable base oil but given that there are so many other crudes to chose from, why would you?

As regards US crudes versus crudes from the rest of the world, there's really nothing that special about US crude from a lubricant point of view. You see huge variations in US crude depending on where they come from. On a blind tasting test, you would hard pressed to say where any crude comes from.

Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4496994
08/24/17 01:43 PM
08/24/17 01:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
Hydrocracking garbage is not cost effective. You'd still end up with a disproportionate amount of asphalt ...

Kinda like Canadian Tar Sands. If the energy to get them liquefied was not "free", there would be no way anyone would go near them. Put a carbon tax on the emissions from the liquefaction plant and they'll dry up asap ...

Last edited by BrocLuno; 08/24/17 01:45 PM.

Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: BrocLuno] #4497006
08/24/17 01:57 PM
08/24/17 01:57 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,090
Europe
SonofJoe Offline
SonofJoe  Offline
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,090
Europe
Originally Posted By: BrocLuno
Hydrocracking garbage is not cost effective. You'd still end up with a disproportionate amount of asphalt ...

Kinda like Canadian Tar Sands. If the energy to get them liquefied was not "free", there would be no way anyone would go near them. Put a carbon tax on the emissions from the liquefaction plant and they'll dry up asap ...


I've never really thought about trying to make lubricant base oil from tar sands. It's difficult enough to convert it into usable crude for making fuels!

However from a base oil point of view, I suspect the problem wouldn't be so much the energy required (although this would be very high) as much as the amount of hydrogen you would need. Hydrogen tends to be 'free' on a conventional oil refinery but it you have to make it at a remote (non-refinery) location, it gets hugely expensive. If you make it from methane say, from 16 tonnes of feed you're only going to get at most, 4 tonnes of hydrogen and vast amounts of useless CO2. Not really a sustainable or economic practice.

Last edited by SonofJoe; 08/24/17 01:59 PM.
Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4497022
08/24/17 02:04 PM
08/24/17 02:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,858
Kalifornia Kollective
Glad you dropped by. We need a carbon chemists input more often laugh


Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
Re: Does it matter where the oil comes from? [Re: AnarchyX] #4497095
08/24/17 03:28 PM
08/24/17 03:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 466
burlington ,ontario, canada
ndfergy Offline
ndfergy  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 466
burlington ,ontario, canada
In an article written by David Wood, "Consequences of a Heavier & Sourer Barrel" from David Wood & Assoc. circa 2007, he claims you need 2 BOE (Barrels of Oil Equivalent) energy to produce 3 barrels of usable oil from oil sands.

Here's a good article from Natural Resources Canada you all might find interesting

refinery_economics


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