The Oil Process: From Exploration, Refining, Storage & Delivery to Your Vehicle

Posted on Nov 4 2016 - 12:04am by Candy Visser

Extracting OilThe fuel that powers your car was not made in a factory, although science is probably making some strides in inventing a process that could make that possible in the future. Gasoline and diesel actually come from deep beneath the earth, in deposits of fossils that have degraded thousands of years ago.

Exploring for Oil

To find out where these deposits are, huge oil companies have complex processes involved in exploration. The sole intention of exploration is to show scientists and engineers where they can mine the oil. This also gives them an idea what kind of digging and boring they should do to get to the crude oil as efficiently and quickly as possible, without going over-budget. This could go up to the billions of dollars.

Refining the Oil to Make It Usable

When the company is successful in mining the oil, the large pipelines they have installed will deliver the oil to a refinery. This is where the oil goes through processes that turn it into usable fuel — gasoline, diesel, etc.

Storing in Terminals

But this is not where the process ends up delivering oil through the pump to your car. The processed fuel products are then delivered to their terminals, which are closer to communities than refineries. The presence of terminals near a community is safer and more acceptable than the presence of refineries.

Some refineries use pipelines underground or even under bodies of water to deliver the fuel to the terminals, where they store them in large welded tanks. An API 650 tank is the kind of tank that can hold such products.

Some Exceptions

Refineries may also use tanker trucks to deliver some fuel to their terminals. In the case of many major airports, the refinery delivers jet fuel through pipes to the airport’s own storage facility.

Terminals have truck off-loading facilities, which is where smaller tankers fill up with the products they need to deliver to the gas stations across the country. These are the same pumps that take the fuel directly to your vehicle’s gas or diesel tank, thereby completing the process.