Where does all our oil go?
When we mention Oil, most people think "gasoline". While it is true that about half of the crude oil we use every day gets refined into gasoline, that is only half of what we use. What does the other half do ?
The purpose of this exercise is to figure out where all that oil goes, and what it is used for. All crude oil has to be refined before it is used, so we will look at what came out of our refineries. We will use October of 2009 as an example.
US refineries supplied 543,158,000 barrels of products in October 2009. That is about 17,521,000 Barrels per day . We're gonna see what those products were, but first, a short word from the bean counter (me).
Tracking every single barrel of oil through the complex network of imports, exports, in and outs, processes and transportation is a daunting task. Even for one as smart as me. Every effort was made to make sure all of the figures here, and throughout this blog, add up. And, they come awful close. But they are not quite perfect. There are losses, leaks, and slight inconsistencies in all of the numbers, facts and data used. What follows is certainly close enough for all but an IRS Tax assessor. Most of my data is from the EIA (Energy Information Agency)
One other note. A refinery experiences something called refinery gain. Due to various things such as additives, the output of a refinery is approximately 5-8% more than the crude oil inputs. This is why, while refineries used 504,607,000 barrels of crude (16,277,000 bbl per day), they produced 543,158,000 (17,521,000 Barrels per day) of product in October 2009.So, lets now take a look at what came out of those US refineries in October of 2009.
These numbers are the total for the month of October 2009.
- Finished Motor Fuel (Gasoline): 271,299,000 bbl
- Distillate Fuel Oil (mostly No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 diesel fuel ): 123,509,000 bbl
- Residual Fuel Oil (No. 5 and No. 6 fuel oils, includes Bunker C fuel oil): 20,851,000 bbl
- Jet Fuel (Kerosene): 40,036,000 bbl
- Petroleum Coke (Similar to Coal): 23,823,000 bbl
- Still Gas (Gaseous byproducts of refining): 19,096,000 bbl
- Propane/Propylene: 16,392,000 bbl
- Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG): 15,074,000 bbl
- Asphalt: 9,043,000 bbl
- Lubricants: 5,536,000 bbl
- Aviation (non jet) Gasoline: 494,000 bbl
- Kerosene: 587,000 bbl
- Many, Many other things: 22,418,000 bbl
- Refinery losses: -30,000,000 bbl (That's a minus, stuff that didn't turn out quite right).
Petroleum coke is almost pure carbon. It is used to manufacture things like anodes for batteries, and furnaces, or as a fuel to heat things like forges. It is not an ingredient in soft drinks. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petroleum_coke)
Still gas is NOT used to power a moonshine factory. It is gas that is emitted from the refining process. Since refineries use heat for many of their operations, in a move of thoughtful conservation, most of this is used to provide heat for the process.OK. Ignoring those minor refinery losses, lets do the statistical thing, and create some quotable figures.
- 49% of our crude oil went into our gas tanks as gasoline.
- 22% of it went into trucks, farm and construction equipment, etc - Diesels.
- 7% went into our fleet of airplanes.
Seventy Eight percent of the oil we used in October 2009 was used for transportation.
But, 22% of the oil we used in October went to non transportation use. In industry, making plastics, pharmaceuticals, lubricants, roads, and a thousand other products.
Some of it went to our propane gas grills, and that is good.