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Oil Processing

Oil Processing is a huge part of progression in GregTech 5, it includes obtaining oil, distilling it, performing various chemical recipes with oil products and finally creating different plastics used in higher tier machinery in the mod.

The following article provides detailed information on every stage of Oil Processing as well as general recommendations and setup suggestions on each stage.

Stage 1: Obtaining Oil[edit]

In order to process oil, it requires first to be obtained. There are many different ways to obtain oil but the fastest and the most efficient is to use Oil Drilling Rig.Depending on the current oil deposits in each chunk the production rate significantly varies. The amount of oil obtained also decreases as the oil deposits in the chunk deplete.

However, using Oil Drilling Rig requires some progress done and therefore not possible in early game. In early game the best oil source is the centrifugation of Oilsands Ore Oilsands Ore commonly found in the world.

There are 5 different types of fluid which can be obtained at this stage and used in Oil Processing later:

  • Oil Oil - the most common type of oil, it can be obtained by different means not counting Oil Drilling Rig usage.
  • Raw Oil Raw Oil - slightly less common, 2 times less efficient than normal oil.
  • Heavy Oil Heavy Oil - with greater amount of heavy fractions, can also be obtained by different means not counting Oil Drilling Rig usage.
  • Light Oil Light Oil - with greater amount of light fractions.
  • Natural Gas Natural Gas - can also be obtained by Oil Drilling Rig, cannot be distilled straight away, needs to be processed starting from Stage 3.

Stage 2: Primary Distillation[edit]

On this stage each of the first 4 fluids have to be distilled in order to split them in fractions. At first, the player has to perform the distillation in Distillery, and this will only allow to obtain 1 of 4 possible outputs depending on the Programmed Circuit.

After some time with more progressing the player is able to construct Distillation Tower, and performing the same distillation in this multiblock will give all 4 of the resulting fluids. It is highly recommended to aim towards the Distillation Tower construction as soon as possible, as this greately boosts the efficiency of Oil Processing.

The fluids obtained at this stage are:

  • Sulfuric Gas Sulfuric Gas - The lighest fraction, fully equivalent to Natural Gas Natural Gas from the first stage. Its presence in the 4 former fluids is: 41%, 41%, 16%, 80% respectively.
  • Sulfuric Naphtha Sulfuric Naphtha - The heavier gas. Its presence in the 4 former fluids is: 14%, 14%, 4%, 10% respectively.
  • Sulfuric Light Fuel Sulfuric Light Fuel - The lighter liquid. Its presence in the 4 former fluids is: 34%, 34%, 12%, 7% respectively.
  • Sulfuric Heavy Fuel Sulfuric Heavy Fuel - The heaviest fraction. Its presence in the 4 former fluids is: 11%, 11%, 68%, 3% respectively.

This information can also be organized in the following wikitable, which is sortable by every column. Every output fluid is calculated based on 1000 mb of input fluid:

Natural Fluid Sulfuric Gas Sulfuric Gas Sulfuric Naphtha Sulfuric Naphtha Sulfuric Light Fuel Sulfuric Light Fuel Sulfuric Heavy Fuel Sulfuric Heavy Fuel
Oil Oil 1200 mb 400 mb 1000 mb 300 mb
Raw Oil Raw Oil 600 mb 200 mb 500 mb 150 mb
Heavy Oil Heavy Oil 600 mb 150 mb 450 mb 2500 mb
Light Oil Light Oil 1600 mb 200 mb 133 mb 67 mb

Note that processing the fluid in Distillery does not yield more resulting fluid of the desired type than in Distillation Tower.

Stage 3: Desulfurization[edit]

In the previous stages these 5 fluids were obtained:

All these fluids require desulfurization before further processing. This stage deals with this.

Desulfurization is done in Chemical Reactor or in Large Chemical Reactor. At first only the former machine is available. Processing the fluids in it requires Hydrogen Cell Hydrogen Cell which is mixed with fluid and takes sulfur, turning into Hydrogen Sulfide Cell Hydrogen Sulfide Cell. Another option is to put fuel in cells and to pump Hydrogen Hydrogen directly as gas. The fluid is then desulfurized.

Using Large Chemical Reactor does not increase efficiency or output amount, but it has 2 significant advantages:

  1. Pure fluids are used in recipes, not cells. This allows to skip Fluid Canner and directly pump fluids in and out. Hydrogen Hydrogen turns into Hydrogen Sulfide Hydrogen Sulfide.
  2. One Large Chemical Reactor can be used to automate desulfurization of all 5 fluids. For this 6 Input Hatches need to be placed, one for each of the sulfuric fluids and one for hydrogen. As soon as the amount of any sulfuric fluid reaches the amount stated in the recipe, this amount is immediately processed and resulting fluids appear in 2 Output Hatches (provided that there is space for them). Screwdriver or Electric Screwdriver can be used on Input Hatch or Input Hatch with fluid to lock it to this specific fluid, making it not accept any other fluid.

After this stage is completed, these fluids are obtained with 1:1 conversion rate:

Stage 4: Primary Oil Cracking[edit]

After the 4 desulfurized fluids are obtained, they have to be distilled into hydrocarbons. But as they are already distilled products of oil, this requires additional cracking before distillation in order to soften the fluid structure a bit, so it is able to be broken into fractions. This stage deals with cracking. Note that specific hydrocarbons can be obtained from fuels directly with Distillery without the requirement of cracking. So the cracking is only required to process the cracked fuels to their full potential and to obtain the full variety of hydrocarbons.

There are 2 types of cracking the player can perform.

The first is Hydro-Cracking. As the name implies it requires Hydrogen Hydrogen. The fluids cracked this way will only give the output fluids lighter than the input fluid. The variety of resulting fluids is therefore decreased, the obtained fluid amount varies from 2 for Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas to 6 from Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel. None of the fluid is lost as solid items, but the decreased variety makes this method not preferrable for advanced chemical setups, as it requires additional processing before being able to create plastics. However, this method of cracking works best for obtaining fuels.

The second is Steam-Cracking. As the name implies it requires Steam Steam. It is more severe cracking variant compared to the former one. The fluids cracked this way are easily broken into many different fractions, perfect for plastic production, but not as efficient as some of the fluid is lost as Solid Carbon. This is not a big loss compared to overall output, therefore this method is more often used by players, but it requires more advanced setups to work with. It is also not preferrable to create good fuels, for that reason Hydro-Cracking is better.

Refinery Gas Refinery Gas can be distilled straight away, it does not require to be cracked, but the outputs of such distillation are somewhere inbetween two types of cracking. This makes this recipe not preferrable in any of the setups as there always is a better alternative in one of the cracked variants for every situation.

All the cracking has to be done in Oil Cracking Unit with the usage of Hydrogen Hydrogen or Steam Steam for the chosen method. One Oil Cracking Unit can be used to crack all fluids, so it is not required to build several of these multiblocks for automation.

Input Fluid Hydro-Cracking Steam-Cracking
Refinery Gas Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas Steam-Cracked Refinery Gas Steam-Cracked Refinery Gas
Naphtha Naphtha Hydro-Cracked Naphtha Hydro-Cracked Naphtha Steam-Cracked Naphtha Steam-Cracked Naphtha
Light Fuel Light Fuel Hydro-Cracked Light Fuel Hydro-Cracked Light Fuel Steam-Cracked Light Fuel Steam-Cracked Light Fuel
Heavy Fuel Heavy Fuel Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel Steam-Cracked Heavy Fuel Steam-Cracked Heavy Fuel

Stage 5: Secondary Distillation[edit]

Secondary distillation is required to obtain the useable hydrocarbons from the cracked intermediary materials. Only 1 oil product - Refinery Gas Refinery Gas - can be distilled without cracking, but it is not preferrable. Like in stage 2, this distillation can be performed in Distillery and in Distillation Tower, and once again the second method is a lot more worthy, as it allows to obtain all the hydrocarbons, not just one.

Below is the spreadsheet with the percentage gain of each of the secondary distillation outputs from each of the fluids which can be distilled. Each distilled input fluid is taken in the amount of 1000 mb. The table can be sorted.

Output Refinery Gas Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Refinery Gas Hydro-Cracked Naphtha Hydro-Cracked Naphtha Hydro-Cracked Light Fuel Hydro-Cracked Light Fuel Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel Hydro-Cracked Heavy Fuel Steam-Cracked Refinery Gas Steam-Cracked Refinery Gas Steam-Cracked Naphtha Steam-Cracked Naphtha Steam-Cracked Light Fuel Steam-Cracked Light Fuel Steam-Cracked Heavy Fuel Steam-Cracked Heavy Fuel
Helium Helium 20 mb 20 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 20 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb
Methane Methane 750 mb 1500 mb 750 mb 200 mb 75 mb 750 mb 600 mb 450 mb 300 mb
Ethylene Ethylene 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 100 mb 600 mb 450 mb 300 mb
Ethane Ethane 100 mb 0 mb 750 mb 200 mb 75 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb
Propene Propene 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 70 mb 600 mb 450 mb 300 mb
Propane Propane 70 mb 0 mb 750 mb 400 mb 100 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb
Butadiene Butadiene 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 60 mb 400 mb 300 mb 200 mb
Butane Butane 60 mb 0 mb 750 mb 400 mb 100 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb
Benzene Benzene 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 400 mb 300 mb 200 mb
Toluene Toluene 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 200 mb 150 mb 100 mb
Octane Octane 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 100 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb
Naphtha Naphtha 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 800 mb 400 mb 0 mb 0 mb 100 mb 100 mb
Light Fuel Light Fuel 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 800 mb 0 mb 100 mb 0 mb 100 mb
Heavy Fuel Heavy Fuel 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 0 mb 100 mb 100 mb 0 mb
Carbon Carbon 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1

Naphtha Naphtha, Light Fuel Light Fuel and Heavy Fuel Heavy Fuel obtained can be recursively cracked and distilled to further be processed again.

Stage 6: Hydrocarbons Preparation for Plastics[edit]

After the last stage the following hydrocarbons can be obtained, they can all be used as fuel, however some of them can be used to create plastics, and some cannot.

This stage focuses on not useful hydrocarbons and how to turn them into useful ones.

Note that not useful hydrocarbons are only obtained from Hydro-Cracked oil fractions. Steam-Cracking does only give useful hydrocarbons, therefore it is a desired variant as it saves resources spent on hydrocarbon conversion.

Lets focus on not useful hydrocarbons and how to process them. They can be dehydrogenated in Chemical Reactor or Large Chemical Reactor into similar hydrocarbon with negligible loss. Each can be Hydro-Cracked and further distilled, but this gives not useful hydrocarbons once again (apart from Methane). Or they can be Steam-Cracked into useful hydrocarbons.

The following wikitable contains the resulting outputs of each of not useful hydrocarbons processed each way from 1000 mb of input hydrocarbon.

Hydrocarbon Dehydrogenation Hydro-Cracking Steam-Cracking
Ethane Ethane 750 mb Ethylene Ethylene
250 mb Hydrogen Hydrogen
2000 mb Methane Methane 500 mb Methane Methane
1000 mb Ethylene Ethylene
1 Carbon Carbon
Propane Propane 800 mb Propene Propene
200 mb Hydrogen Hydrogen
1000 mb Methane Methane
1000 mb Ethane Ethane
500 mb Methane Methane
1000 mb Ethylene Ethylene
500 mb Propene Propene
1 Carbon Carbon
Butane Butane 857 mb Butene Butene
143 mb Hydrogen Hydrogen
1000 mb Methane Methane
1000 mb Ethane Ethane
1000 mb Propane Propane
500 mb Methane Methane
1000 mb Ethylene Ethylene
1000 mb Propene Propene
500 mb Butadiene Butadiene
1 Carbon Carbon

Stage 7: Oil Processing Benefits[edit]

After all the useful hydrocarbons are obtained, they can be used to create great fuel and plastics. Below is each of the useful hydrocarbons and what they can be used for. Note that default easy chemistry is used to create these relations. When hard mode chemistry is enabled, this stage becomes significantly harder, and has to be broken into different other stages. The detailed information about this chemistry mode is available Petrochemistry page.

If the player runs low on a certain hydrocarbon, there are several conversion recipes, which allow for 1:1 conversion between Ethylene Ethylene and Propene Propene and between Ethylene Ethylene and Butene Butene.