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Oil Refining

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FC: Oil Refining

1: What is oil refining? | Oil refining is to refine crude oil to make products like petrol, kerosene, diesel etc.

2: How does Oil Refining Work? | Crude oil is oil from the ground that is taken by a pump jack and stored. | The oil is then taken to an oil refinery to be refined.

3: The crude oil is then heated up and evaporated and taken to a distillation tower. | In the tower there is water at different temperatures. When the evaporated crude oil meets the water it condenses as the heat is taken away because the water is cooler than the gas. When the gas condenses then it becomes different products. In the diagram it shows at what temperature the gas condenses to a specific product.

4: Petrol condenses at the lowest temperature while fuel oil (diesel) condenses at a much higher temperature. In the tower the water temperatures become lower as the gas goes up the tower. | The different products made are: residue, diesel, kerosene, naphtha, petrol and refinery gas (gas that couldn't be condensed). The products made are then stored and sold to companies. | A real life example of a refinery would be the Anacortes Refinery (owned by Tesoro) in Anacortes, Washington

5: Impacts on Environment | Many gases are released into the air during oil refining and so harms the air. | Waste gases like methane are burned (called flaring) and are released into the air. | Ships that carry crude oil to be refined can spill and harm the oceans.

6: Oil refineries have a high chance of exploding as they are working with highly flammable products. | The noise created by the oil refineries might cause discomfort for the wildlife. | Oil refineries use lots of land that could be used for something else like houses

7: Long Term Effects of Impacts | Flaring methane causes methane to be released into the air. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps heat 25 times more than carbon dioxide. This will cause more global warming which will lead to glaciers melting, the home of many animals. If this continues than the homes of many plants and animals could be destroyed | The oil spills that happened have really affected many innocent animals that live in the ocean. The oil sticks on them and causes them severe pain that they can't handle. The oil spills could cause some animals to be endangered. or even extinct.

8: Noise pollution causes many animals discomfort. Some animals, like dolphins, are really sensitive to sound and if things like explosions happen then along with pollution noise will cause many animals to die like that. This will affect the biodiversity of the area. | Oil refineries such as this one takes a whole lot of space. Right now the world's population is going up and now we need more space to build communities. If we do not get a better oil refining unit then huge chunks of land will be lost. Also since most oil refineries take an animal's habitat, the animals in the area might have no home to go to. Shelter is one of their basic needs.

9: How Does it Affect Wild Life and Us? | About 75% of TRI (Toxic Release Inventory) created by oil refining is released into the air. Trying to stop global warming is going to be tough for us because of the oil refineries built. The pollutants that are released are carried away by the wind to other area. This pollution to the air could cause acid rain which causes many crops to die. Since we harvest the crops we won't get good food because the crops will be dead. | About 24% TRI is released in to the water. Because of this many of the animals in the waters are disturbed and contaminated by these toxic pollutants. The water that we get might be from some of these areas and if it is contaminated then this will lead to us getting sick and to animals dying.

10: Gas flaring is the main problem when refining oil. Gas flaring affect all organisms around the whole world because of the ability to trap heat. Some oil refineries have tried to capture these emissions released and have tried to use it as energy. Refining oil takes a lot of energy and if we capture this waste gas then the energy won't be wasted. Plants and animals will benefit from this by not breathing polluted air. | Before even refining the oil, just getting it from the oceans or oil sands affects us and other organisms. When getting oil from the ocean oil platforms drill into the the bottom of the ocean. This causes many problems for the animals living there as their space is being taken up and it is also causing noise pollution. Some scientists believe that oil drilling can also cause earthquakes which could disrupt the life in the ocean and on shore.

11: How Safe Is Oil Refining | Oil refining is not the safest method because of how the refinery has stored the very flammable products like kerosene. This can lead to many explosions and the people who work in the refinery could lose their lives. Not to mention the pollution that will be caused if the refinery explodes.

12: An oil refinery close to an urban area will be very unsafe. Many pollutants are released into the waters and air. If people breath the air or drink the water they they might die from it. Waste gas such as methane is highly toxic to plants, animals and people.

13: What About Disposing? | Disposing the gases like methane is huge problem as methane traps heat 25 times more than carbon dioxide can. This leads to more global warming in the world. | The oil spills and waste disposed in the water happens frequently. The disposing of waste in the ocean will result in many organisms dying and contaminated water that we drink.

14: Texas City Refinery Explosion | Texas refinery was the third largest refinery in the US. In March 23, 2005,15 people were killed and 170 people were injured in the explosion. | The refinery had over 700 safety issues resulting in the explosion. BP owner of the refinery was charged $87 million. In addition, families of those who died filed law suits against them.

15: Rio de Janeiro Oil Spill | In November, 2011 an oil spill happened off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.The oil spill was 120km long. | Chevron, one of the worlds biggest oil company, was held responsible. Brazilian officials sued Chevron for the oil spill.

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