Raffinerie Heide transforms mineral oil into high-quality products used in your day-to-day life Mineral oil – the most important raw material for refineries
Refineries practically form the backbones of our lives, ensuring that these many end productsare always of identical quality. This is a complex task given that mineral oil is a natural commodity which varies greatly in composition depending on its place of origin.
In essence oil is made up of carbon and hydrogen. However, in addition to these, it always contains compounds of sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen and various trace elements. Oil can be runny or viscous, and it ranges in colour from pale-yellow honey tones to as black as the proverbial night.
Mineral oil quality
Different oils have differing product yields and are therefore traded on world markets at differing prices. One yardstick for the quality of oil is its viscosity, and another is its sulphur content: the lower the better. From ‘light’ and ‘sweet’ low-sulphur crude oil, refineries can produce lighter products, such as petrol, diesel, aviation turbine fuel and heating oil.
The refining process is correspondingly lengthier and more expensive where ‘heavy’ and ‘acidic’ types of crude oil are involved. Around the world there are dozens of different types of crude oil with differing properties and prices. However, standardised products known as benchmark oils are traded on the futures markets of Rotterdam, London and New York.
It depends on the composition
To ensure the consistent quality of our productswe blend semi-finished products in the refinery as necessary in order to achieve the standardised target products more easily. Just as a whisky distillery will combine wheat from several years’ harvests in order to achieve a consistent flavour, semi-finished products are also blended in a refinery to achieve consistent quality.
The blends produced vary depending on the time of year. Since there is more construction work in summer, demand for bitumen is higher on the German and European markets during this season, and for the experts at the refinery this means adding more ‘heavy’ oil into the mix.
Our handling of the environment and resources
We use energy and raw materials carefully.
We continuously measure and optimise our production and work processes as well as our energy flows in order to reduce the consumption of resources, waste and emissions. .
We inform our staff about energy and resource efficiency to raise conscious awareness of our individual behaviour. We take an interest in recycling and the reasonable use of energy.
Our goal is to use raw materials optimally while also reducing their impact on the environment.