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Refining: Learn What It Is and How It Works - Petrobras


We turn crude oil into products that are essential to the entire population's everyday life, working to meet the growing demand for oil products in Brazil. We currently have 13 refineries, spread nationwide, and a shale processing unit in Paraná. Our refining park produces several oil products per day, such as diesel, gasoline, naphtha, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas, and lubricants, among other substances used as feedstock for many other products.

Over the last few years, we have invested in revamping our refineries to improve product quality, increase productivity, and reduce our operations’ environmental impact. All this has always been based on the best Brazilian and international industry practices and principles of safety, environment, and health that guide our actions.

Understand the refining cycle

Producing oil products from oil involves, basically, three main processes:

  1. Distillation - the process of separating oil products: The oil is heated at high temperatures until evaporating. This vapor returns to a liquid state as it cools at different levels within the distillation tower. At each level there is a container that collects a particular oil product.
  2. Conversion - the process that transforms the heavier, lower value oil parts into smaller molecules, giving rise to the noblest oil products. This increases oil utilization.
  3. Treatments - processes aimed at adjusting oil derivatives to the quality required by the market. In one such process, for example, sulfur is removed.

Get to know this cycle better based on the cycle of gasoline, one of the oil products: