Crude Oil

A mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing through surface separating facilities. Depending upon the characteristics of the crude stream, it may also include:

  • Small amounts of hydrocarbons that exist in gaseous phase in natural underground reservoirs but are liquid at atmospheric pressure after being recovered from oil well (casinghead) gas in lease separators and are subsequently commingled with the crude stream without being separately measured. Lease condensate recovered as a liquid from natural gas wells in lease or field separation facilities and later mixed into the crude stream is also included.
  • Small amounts of nonhydrocarbons produced from oil, such as sulfur and various metals.
  • Drip gases, and liquid hydrocarbons produced from tar sands, oil sands, gilsonite and oil shale.

Liquids produced at natural gas processing plants are excluded. Crude oil is refined to produce a wide array of petroleum products, including heating oils; gasoline, diesel and jet fuels; lubricants; asphalt; ethane, propane and butane; and many other products used for their energy or chemical content.

Crude oil is considered as either domestic or foreign, according to the following:

  • Domestic: Crude oil produced in the United States or from its outer continental shelf’ as defined in 43 USC 1331.
  • Foreign: Crude oil produced outside the United States. Imported Athabasca hydrocarbons (tar sands from Canada) are included.