Assay

Also known as: Crude assay

A crude assay is a detailed chemical analysis of a crude oil that can be used to predict the volume and quality of refined products that will result from processing the crude in a refinery.

The assay includes an estimate of the volumes of different distillation cuts or fractions that will result from processing a crude through a crude distillation unit. This is described in terms of the volume of crude that evaporates at different temperature ranges (or boiling points). Typically, an assay contains nine distillation cuts ranging from refinery gas to vacuum residuum.

For each distillation cut, the assay will also provide a number of quality characteristics. These include properties that affect how the cut will perform when processed through a conversion unit (e.g., density, concarbon, N+2A) and properties that affect the quality of any product that the cut is blended directly into (e.g., cetane, octane, sulfur).

The Refinery Reference Desk includes content derived from our industry experts as well as from public data sources such as company websites. Nothing herein is intended to serve as investment advice. This material is based on information that we believe to be reliable and adequately comprehensive, but we do not represent that such information is in all respects accurate or complete. McKinsey Energy Insights does not accept any liability for any losses resulting from use of the content.



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