• Crude Oil
  • Mines Producing Crude Oil

Often referred to as “black gold,” crude oil consists of hydrocarbons that can be refined to produce energy producing products such as; petrol, dieselene, lubricating oil, kerosene, gas and other useful petrochemicals. The by-products of the refining process include such things as coke, waxes, tar, asphalt and starting materials that are used to make other products.

Crude Oil is Found in Buried Ancient Sea Beds
Not all crude oil is black as its colour can range from black to yellow and many shades in between. Its colour depends on its hydrocarbon composition. Different crude oils also have varying viscosity levels, some crude oils can be as fluid as water whereas others can be that thick they are close to being solid. Crude oil is what is known as a fossil fuel, this means it has evolved naturally from decaying plants and animals that once lived in an ancient sea many millions of years ago. Most places where crude oil is found were once sea beds.

Hydrocarbon Molecules of Crude Oil Make it an Important Substance
The secret behind crude oil being so useful is that it can be the starting point for many substances because of its hydrocarbon content. Hydrocarbons are molecules that exist of carbon and hydrogen that come in various structures and lengths . They can be in the form of straight chains to branching chains and rings. The two main reasons why hydrocarbons are so important are that:
1. They contain a lot of energy when refined into products such as petrol, diesel, paraffin wax etc.
2. They can exist in many forms, for instance, the smallest hydrocarbon is methane gas which is lighter than air. Longer chains exist as liquids and very long chains are solids, such as tar or wax. When these hydrocarbon chains are cross linked it is possible to make them into products such as nylon, synthetic rubber, tupperware plastic etc.

Crude Oil has to be Refined to Make it Useful
To make crude oil useful you have to separate the many different hydrocarbons that are all mixed together. This is achieved by refining, with the first stage being distillation, a process whereby the crude oil is heated and the different molecules separated as different components.

The different hydrocarbon molecule chain lengths have progressively higher boiling points. This means they can be separated by distillation with the different chain lengths pulled out as they reach their differing vaporisation temperatures. Each different chain length has its own individual property that makes it useful in a different way to another.

Refining of crude oil separates the different molecule chain lengths that results in the separation of the following products:
Petroleum gas that is used for cooking, heating and making plastics. Petroleum gas is known as methane, butane or propane. It liquifies under pressure to form liquid petroleum gas (LPG) Liquid petrol
Liquid kerosene, a jet engine fuel and a fuel for certain tractors as well as lighting and heating Dieselene distillate that is used as diesel fuel and heating oil, as well as being a starting material in the manufacturing of other products
Lubricating oil such as motor oil, grease etc.
Heavy fuel oil which is an industrial fuel and also used as a starting material in the manufacturing of other products
Residuals, a starting product in the making of other products as well as being useful in the form of waxes, tar, asphalt and coke.

Australian Mines that produce Crude Oil

West Seahorse ( VIC )

The West Seahorse oil field in the Gippsland Basin off the Victorian coast, is being developed by Carnarvon Hibiscus, a Malaysian petroleum company

Kwinana Oil Refinery ( WA )

The Kwinana oil refinery is the largest in Australia. It is located 30 kilometres south of Perth and is the only crude oil refinery in Western Australia.

Lytton Oil Refinery ( QLD )

The Lytton Oil Refinery supplies up to 60 percent of Queensland's total fuel requirements by refining up to 109,000 barrels of crude oil each day.

Barrow Island ( WA )

The Barrow Island oil field off the coast of Western Australia, has been producing crude oil since 1967 and is the largest onshore oil field in Australia.

Coniston Novara ( WA )

The Coniston- Novara off shore oil field development off northern Western Australia in the Exmouth Basin is due for completion in 2014.

Moran Png ( PNG )

Oil was first discovered within the Moran oil field in PNG in 1996. It commenced production via an extended production test in 1998 from Moran PDL's 1, 2 and 5.

Kutubu ( PNG )

The Kutubu oilfield that was the first to be developed in the PNG Southern Highlands Province in 1992, has had its licence extended to December, 2035.

Gobe ( PNG )

The Gobe oil field in PNG comprises the Gobe Main oil field and the South East Gobe oil field. The South East Gobe field was discovered in 1991.

Se Mananda ( PNG )

The SE Mananda oil field in Papua New Guinea has become difficult and costly to maintain although the Mananda 6 and Mananda 7 discoveries are promising.

Png Lng Project ( PNG )

The PNG LNG Project is being developed on schedule to produce its first liquified natural gas in mid-2014 for export to customers in China and Japan.

Kupe ( NZ )

The New Zealand Kupe gas project is important to the country's domestic gas and LPG needs as well as the condensate crude oil export market.The Kupe gas field is located in New Zealand, 30 kilometres

Fletcher Finucan ( WA )

Santos developed the Fletcher-Finucan oil field in the Carnarvon Basin, off the Western Australian coast, ahead of schedule and under budget.

Montara ( NT )

The Montara oil field in the Timor Sea, west of Darwin, is owned and operated by Thai owned PTTEP AA.

Ceduna Aviation Base ( SA )

The Ceduna Aviation Base will be constructed during 2015 and be available to service the BP Great Australian Bight offshore drilling program in 2016.

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