What is difference between Sweet, Brent and Sour Crude Oil?

The oil which contains sulphur amount less than 0.5% is called Sweet Crude Oil. If the Sulphur content is more than 0.5%, it will be called Sour Crude Oil. The Brent crude oil is having around 0.37% Sulphur and that is why Brent Crude Oil is a Sweet crude Oil.

Sweet Crude Oil

  • Type of petroleum.
  • Contains < 0.5% Sulphur compared to Sour Crude Oil
  • Contains small amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • High quality, low sulfur crude oil used for processing of gasoline
  • “Light sweet crude oil” most preferred edition of crude oil since it has a unduly large amount of these fractions that are used to process gasoline (naphtha), kerosene, and high-class diesel.
  • The word “sweet” since a gently sweet taste and pleasing aroma due to the little level of Sulfur gives the oil with.
  • Producers include:
    • The Appalachian Basin Eastern North America: Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil.
    • Saskatchewanand Manitoba, the Bakken Formation of North Dakota, Montana,.
    • Some Mid-Continent Oil Field United States
    • The North Sea area of Northern Europe: UK (Brent Crude) and Norway, Iraq
    • North Africa: Algeria and Libya .
    • Western Africa: Ghana , Nigeria
    • Central Africa: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola.
    • The Far East: Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam.
    • South America: Guiana basin, Saudi Arabia and Suriname

Brent Crude Oil

  • Largest of the several key classifications of crude oil comprising of Ekofisk, Brent Crude, Forties, Brent Sweet Light Crude and Oseberg.
  • Source: North Sea.
  • Manufacturer also known as London Brent, Brent petroleum and Brent Blend.
  • Used to price 2/3 of the world’s traded crude oil supplies.
  • The name “Brent” from the identification strategy of Shell UK Exploration and Prod., working in lieu of ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, which at first named all of its fields after birds (in this case the Brent Goose).
  • Production of Petroleum from Africa, Middle East and Europe flowing West tends to be priced relative to this oil, i.e. it forms a benchmark.
  • Though, large parts of Europe now obtain their oil from Russia.
  • Characteristics:
  • Light crude oil
  • Contains approx 0.37% of Sulphur (S) which classifies it as a Sweet Crude Oil
  • Appropriate for production of gasoline.
  • Usually refined in NW-Europe.
  • API gravity of ~38.06 and a specific gravity of ~ 0.835.
  • The Trading symbol for Brent crude is LCO

Sour Crude Oil

  • Contains the impurity Sulfur (S) > 0.5%
  • The impurities are to be removed before this low quality crude can be refined into gasoline, thus increasing the cost of processing.
  • This results in a higher-priced gasoline than that made from Sweet Crude Oil
  • Thus Sour crude is generally processed into Heavy Oil such as Diesel and Fuel Oil instead of gasoline to decrease processing cost.
  • Can be toxic and corrosive, particularly when it contains high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
  • At low concentrations has the odor of rotten eggs.
  • At high concentrations the breathing of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is right away fatal.
  • At even higher concentrations, the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can spoil the Olfactory Nerve, making the gas in fact odorless and undetectable, whilst paralyzing the respiratory system.
  • Its effects on the human body may be alike to that of Gulf War Syndrome (including headaches, dizziness, chronic fatigue, memory problems, birth defects, skin problems and breathing problems viz. asthma).
  • Major producers of sour crude oil:
    • North America: U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Alberta (Canada) and Mexico.
    • South America: Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
    • Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Syria and Egypt.
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