Also known as: distillation fractions, straight run streams
Distillation cuts are the output streams from a distillation tower.
They are called "cuts" because they are the result of separating the crude oil into its constituent parts based on the different temperatures at which they evaporate and condense (e.g., cut points).
The typical distillation cuts coming from atmospheric distillation and vacuum distillation are:
- Refinery gas - Made up of methane and ethane. This stream remains a gas and is sent to the fuel system
- Propane - Blended into LPG or used for refinery fuel
- Butane - Blended into LPG or used as refinery fuel
- Light straight run naphtha - Sold as a petrochemical feedstock, blended into gasoline, or upgraded through isomerization
- Heavy naphtha - Mostly upgraded through the reformer
- Kerosene - Used to make jet fuel or blended into diesel
- Atmospheric gasoil - Used to make diesel or converted to gasoline through the FCC
- Atmospheric bottoms - Contains all of the hydrocarbons that do not vaporize. It is typically fed to the vacuum distillation unit for further separation
- VGO or Vacuum gasoil - Typically sent to the FCC or hydrocracker to be upgraded into light products
- Vacuum resid - Literally the bottom of the barrel. Typically blended into residual fuel oil or upgraded through a coker or visbreaker