V. Oil: II. Refining: The Work of Chemist and Engineer

A. B. Cox

Abstract


In its natural state petroleum as it comes from the interior of the earth has little usefulness At best it can only be used for fuel, heavy cheap fuel, to burn in industrial plants in competition with coal and natural gas. The research and inventive genius of the "refining man " of the oil industry, chemist and engineer, were brought into full play to discover methods whereby this valuable resource - crude petroleum - could be turned into products of use to the world (in innumerable ways) and, as a result, the refining industry, or that part of the petroleum industry dealing with the treatment of crude petroleum from the time it is brought from the earth until it is ready for the consumer, has developed to a point where the value of its plants and processes amounts to more than £8,000,000 in investments in the United States alone. There, this branch of the industry employs more than 100,000 men, in some 600 refining plants with a capacity sufficient, if necessary, to refine more than 4,000,000 barrels (one barrel equalling 35 imperial gallons) of raw crude oil per day.

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