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An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is transformed and refined into more useful products such as petroleum naphtha, gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel and fuel oils. Petrochemicals feed stock like ethylene and propylene can also be produced directly by cracking crude oil without the need of using refined products of crude oil such as naphtha.Oil refineries are typically large, sprawling industrial complexes with extensive piping running throughout, carrying streams of fluids between large chemical processing units, such as distillation columns. In many ways, oil refineries use much of the technology, and can be thought of, as types of chemical plants.
The crude oil feedstock has typically been processed by an oil production plant. There is usually an oil depot at or near an oil refinery for the storage of incoming crude oil feedstock as well as bulk liquid products.
Petroleum refineries are very large industrial complexes that involve many different processing units and auxiliary facilities such as utility units and storage tanks. Each refinery has its own unique arrangement and combination of refining processes largely determined by the refinery location, desired products and economic considerations.
An oil refinery is considered an essential part of the downstream side of the petroleum industry.
Some modern petroleum refineries process as much as 800,000 to 900,000 barrels (127,000 to 143,000 cubic meters) of crude oil per day.
According to the Oil and Gas Journal in the world a total of 636 refineries were operated on the 31 December 2014 for a total capacity of 87.75 million barrels (13,951,000 m3).
Jamnagar Refinery is the largest oil refinery, since 25 December 2008, with a processing capacity of 1.24 million barrels (197,000 m3). Located in Gujarat, India, it is owned by Reliance Industries.