Talk:Petroleum refining processes/Draft

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 Definition The chemical engineering processes used in petroleum refining. [d] [e]
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This is the first article I have created in Citizendium

Some of this article may resemble content in the Wikipedia article "Oil Refinery", to which I made some significant contributions.

However, I started from scratch on this article and I deliberately named it Petroleum refining processes because I wanted this article to explain what unit processes a refinery contained and how the unit processes in a refinery were arranged. I did not intend this article to include material that detracted from explaining the technology of petroleum refining. For example, including the environmental aspects of a refinery such as air pollution control or wastewater control only leads to possibly argumentative content that has nothing to do with the actual technology of petroleum refining. I firmly believe that such content should be the subject of other articles on "Air pollution", "Water pollution", "Noise pollution", etc.

The two photos in this article are not the same as those in the Wikipedia "Oil refinery" article or anywhere else in Wikipedia or Commons. One of the two flow diagrams (the flow diagram of a typical complete refinery} was in the Wikipedia article and the other is original to this article. However, I am the original author of both diagrams.

I still intend to add another section to the article entitled "Refinery end-products".

This article includes a number of red links to non-existing CZ articles as yet. Given time, I intend to write a great many of those red-linked articles.

Since this is my first article here, I invite any and all constructive criticism. - Milton Beychok 02:08, 22 January 2008 (CST)

Overall, this looks like an excellent article. I can (later) get nitpicky about minor issues, but I like the overall structure. Some history of the technology may be appropriate to add here - when, and why, were the various processes developed?
I think there would be a place for an Oil refinery article which had a brief summmary of this article and "see Petroleum refining processes", then discussed the historical evolution of refineries, the pollution control issues, the economics of refining, and the worldwide distribution of refineries, and all that. I also hope that the articles on the various individual processes will contain somewhat more technical detail. Anthony Argyriou 10:30, 22 January 2008 (CST)


Looking over this article, it's close to ready for approval. I've got a few comments and questions, and I think I'd like to invite a non-engineering editor to look this over for comments before actually nominating this for approval.

Comments & questions:

  1. Last paragraph of Brief history of the petroleum industry and petroleum refining, there's consisted simply of atmospheric crude oil distillation and perhaps some refineries also had vacuum distillation as well as visbreakers. The first part should be explained - what is "atmospheric crude oil distillation"? The second part should be clarified. Either a few did, or none did, for both vacuum distillation and visbreakers. (And visbreaker should be explained a little. Perhaps call it "thermal cracking unit" in this instance.)
  2. Were there any significant technological developments after World War 2, or was adoption of more advanced technology driven more by economic pressure?
  3. As a matter of interest, some modern petroleum refineries are processing as much as 800,000 to 900,000 barrels (127,200 to 143,100 cubic meters) per day of crude oil. This sentence may be better in the introduction section, preferrably without the first 5 words.
  4. The Refining end-products section needs more wikilinking.

Anthony Argyriou 17:36, 4 February 2008 (CST)

Anthony, if I may chip in, all of your points are valid and easily implemented. For example, I propose to revise the last paragraph of the history section to read:
Prior to World War II in the early 1940s, most petroleum refineries in the United States consisted simply of crude oil distillation units (often referred to as atmospheric crude oil distillation units). Some refineries also had vacuum distillation units as well as thermal cracking units such as visbreakers. All of the many other refining processes discussed below were developed during the war or within a few years after the war. They became commercially available within 5 to 10 years after the war ended and the worldwide petroleum industry experienced very rapid growth. The driving force for that growth in technology and in the number and size of refineries worldwide was the growing demand for automotive gasoline and aircraft fuel.
In the United States, for various complex economic reasons, the construction of new refineries came to a virtual stop in about the 1980's. However, many of the existing refineries in the United States have revamped many of their units and/or constructed add-on units in order to:
  • Increase their crude oil processing capacity.
  • Increase the octane rating of their product gasoline.
  • Lower the sulfur content of their diesel fuel and home heating fuels to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Comply with environmental air pollution and water pollution regulations.
[Note that I have linked crude oil distillation units to the section of the article that describes those unit and which includes a flow diagram of those crude oil distillation units.]
I also agree that the sentence Some modern petroleum refineries are processing as much as 800,000 to 900,000 barrels (127,200 to 143,100 cubic meters) per day of crude oil. could be moved to the lead-in introductory section.
A for more linking of the Refinery end-products , I could also do that quite readily.
If it is agreeable to you, I could implement the above changes in less than an hour. Please let me hear from you. Milton Beychok 21:56, 4 February 2008 (CST)
Certainly, go ahead with the changes. Some I'd have done myself, but I'm not as certain of the facts, and I'd prefer it to stay in one writing style, since it's primarily one author. Anthony Argyriou 10:47, 5 February 2008 (CST)
The changes have been made. Milton Beychok 13:17, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Why not petroleum refining instead of delimiting it to just the processes? We need an article petroleum refining, the main article on the matter, and all this article is going to be is redundant. Splintering off portions like this is artificial. Note that the Encyclopedia Britannica article on petroleum refining (almost 14,000 words total) includes a section, "Environmental concerns". It does not distract. It provides complete coverage. Moreover, the bulleted sections here should not be such and provide no where near adequate coverage. Each should have a narrative paragraph at the least (e.g., compare the EB article on petroleum refining which provides six paragraphs on Naptha reforming, seven paragraphs on Catalytic cracking, etc.). Stephen Ewen 01:38, 5 February 2008 (CST)

Stephen - this brings up an interesting philosophical question: What do we want in an approved article? This article is well-referenced, and factually correct, and it provides a good overview of the subject, with links to articles about more specific topics. (Even if some of those links are red.) So the question is, do we want to be like the Encyclopedia Britannica, and have a 100kb article here, with little need for sub-articles, or do we want to make more use of the linking offered by the hypertext medium, and have big topics contained in shorter survey articles with lots of well-fleshed-out sub-articles?
Regarding the economics and environmental impacts, I understand Milton's concerns - over at Wikipedia, environmental sections end up overwhelming the rest of the article, because it's a particular bugaboo of a certain class of editors, who can always find sourced material to add, and because there's no real enforcement of WP's "undue weight" part of their NPOV policy. So far, Citizendium seems to not suffer from that problem, and it may be worth having those sections in this article, though I don't know if Milton, or anyone else currently here, knows enough about the economics of petroleum refining to really add a good section on it. Anthony Argyriou 10:47, 5 February 2008 (CST)
I strongly tend to want to mercilessly shoot bulleted lists on sight. And I am sure we don't have to deal with WP-type gangs to include a brief, neutral section on environmental concerns. I could write such a section. Stephen Ewen 11:09, 5 February 2008 (CST)
Stephen, my intention here was to write an article, not a book. There are many books about refining included in the article's references and the Bibliography subpage. As I said earlier on this Talk page, I will write individual articles about a good many of the refining processes listed here. As you can see on my CZ user page, I have already written Catalytic reforming and Hydrodesulfurization. This article also includes the first and most important important process in a refinery, crude oil distillation units.
I have written and published two books and I know that writing a good engineering book takes me about 2 years. Trying to write a complete book here is not something I would not even want to attempt. Given time, I will write CZ articles (as I said before) about many of the individual refining processes. If you will also look at my user page in Wikipedia (User:Mbeychok), you will note that I have already written many of them. I have only been on Citizendium a few weeks, but I have learned that bringing one of my Wikipedia articles to Citizendium (including their images and/or photos) takes me about 20 to 30 hours. Given that I also have a life to live, it will take a good number of weeks for me to bring all those articles over to CZ. - Milton Beychok 12:16, 5 February 2008 (CST)
As for changing the name to Petroleum Refining, why not just a redirect page for that purpose? - Milton Beychok 12:16, 5 February 2008 (CST)
Hyperbole is not helpful, Milton. I maintain that it is superior to replace the bulleted lists with a narrative and some expansion. Moreover, redirecting petroleum refining to here, which should be a section in the main article, is exactly what should be avoided. There is no need to posture article titles to avoid a tribe of Wikipedians. They're not here. Stephen Ewen 13:17, 5 February 2008 (CST)
I't not entirely clear who you're responding to here, Stephen. Anthony Argyriou 14:06, 5 February 2008 (CST)
I stated that a narrative should replace the bulleted lists with around a paragraph devoted to each item. That's not "writing a book" by any means. Stephen Ewen 14:28, 5 February 2008 (CST)
BTW, if you want help importing articles as starting points, feel free to ask me. Stephen Ewen 13:18, 5 February 2008 (CST)

APPROVED Version 1.0

This article approval is following the individual editor approval process. The article was written by editor User:Milton Beychok. The article was version that was initially approved was this version. The approving editor was User:Paul Wormer with support from editor User:Anthony Argyriou. Subsequent changes were made and considered copy type edits.

Congratuations! --D. Matt Innis 01:03, 10 February 2008 (CST)

Excellent! You are off to a great start! Some of Anthony's suggestions and numerous other possibilities seem logical candidates for the exhaustive CZ Subpages capabilities. (History of refinery technology and Oil Refinery on Related Pages, for example, along with pollution control, economics, etc. Lots of pictures and diagrams might fit in Galleries as well as Catalogs of major refinery components, etc. Once you get the hang of them, the Subpages are almost limitless in terms of what you can do with them, and hopefully will be a match for what you have yet to say on the topic. Keep up the good work! (Sorry this is late, but I'm just catching up with this one after seeking it posted as an article of the week!)
Roger Lohmann 14:47, 9 March 2008 (CDT)