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From Twitter 09-08-2010



Tweets copied by twittinesis.com



Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kengr
Sep. 9th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
# 18:44:56: "Why all the dependence on foreign oil!?!" Because US's oil is full of sulfur. Without a lot of extra processing, 90% of it is asphalt...
# 18:45:21: ...what we need is light, sweet crude. USA doesn't have much of that; foreign countries do.
# 18:46:02: So it's actually cheaper to import foreign oil than to process USA's crappy sulfurous oil.


You got the details wrong again.

There are a bunch of "types" of oil (as found in the ground).

The two major sets of properties are light/heavy and "sweet"/"sour".

Light crude has lots of the "lighter" (more volatile) fractions. It produces a lot of gasoline without extra refining steps. Heavy crude has mostly the heavier compounds. So you won't get much gasoline and in extreme cases (like a lot of wells in one part of Texas) about all it's good for is asphalt and "Bunker C" (used as fuel in ships and some power plants.You have to heat it to get it to flow. At room temp, it's like tar). And yes, I believe there's also "medium" crude.

Now, you *can* "crack" heavy crude to produce more light fractions (gasoline, kerosene, etc). This involves expensive catalysts and the use of cracking towers.

This is also where the "sweet"/"sour" bit comes in. A "sweet" crude has little sulfur. A "sour" one has lots of it.

Not only does high sulfur oil release sulfur dioxide when burned (thus adding to acid rain), but it also "poisons" the catalysts used to crack oil.

So if you have a heavy or even medium crude, and it has a high sulfur content, you have to process it to remove the sulfur before you can crack it. Making it even more expensive to process.

So light, sweet crude is the ideal and heavy, sour crude is the least useful.

The stuff in Alaska and out in the Gulf is apparently pretty decent, but there are all those pesky environmental concerns. Most the wells in the continental US that produced light, sweet crude were used up a long time ago.

Thus, the need for foreign oil (that and the fact that nobody wants oil rigs near them)


fayanora
Sep. 9th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
I was using language best suited for Twitter.

Oh, and Los Angeles solved the "NIMBY" thing, concerning oil rigs. There's a fuckton of oil rigs in that town and almost no one knows about it because they're all housed in ordinary-looking buildings, hidden from view.
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