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FSC 432 - Petroleum Processing

This is a sample syllabus.

This sample syllabus is a representative example of the information and materials included in this course. Information about course assignments, materials, and dates listed here is subject to change at any time. Definitive course details and materials will be available in the official course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.


FSC 432 is a study of physical and chemical processes to convert crude oil into desired products with an outlook from present to future. Petroleum provides the largest fraction of primary energy supply in the U.S. and in the world. Transportation of people and goods in many parts of the world depend almost completely on petroleum fuels, such as gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and marine fuel. Apart from the fuels, materials that are necessary for operating the combustion engines of cars, trucks, planes, and trains also come from petroleum. These materials include lubricating oils (motor oils), greases, tires on the wheels of the vehicles, and asphalt to pave the roads for smooth rides in transportation vehicles. All petroleum fuels and many materials are produced by processing of crude oil in petroleum refineries. Petroleum refineries also supply feedstock to the petrochemicals and chemical industry for producing all consumer goods from rubber and plastics (polymers) to cosmetics and medicine. This course addresses petroleum refining to review how a variety of physical processes and chemical reactions in separate refinery units are integrated to process compliant fuels and materials.


Students who excel in this course are able to:

  • explain the market drivers for the refining industry (ABET student outcome 2).
  • indicate what crude oils consist of and how crude oils are characterized based on their physical properties(ABET 1, 2);
  • express the objectives of petroleum refining and classify the processes used in petroleum refining (ABET 1, 2, 7);
  • demonstrate how a petroleum refinery works and sketch a flow diagram that integrates all refining processes and the resulting refinery products (ABET 2);
  • examine how each refinery process works and how physical and chemical principles are applied to achieve the objectives of each refinery process (ABET 1, 2, 7);
  • assess implications of changing crude oil feedstocks on refinery configuration and propose strategies to resolve conflicts with degrading crude oil quality and increasingly stringent environmental regulations on petroleum fuels (ABET outcome 4, 7);
  • discuss different sources of natural gas and explain how natural gas is processed at well sites and in processing plants with application of selected refinery processes and other physical operations (ABET 1, 2).

Required Materials

The materials listed here represent those that may be included in this course. Students will find a definitive list in the course syllabus, in Canvas, when the course begins.

Gary, J.H., and Handwerk, G.E, Kaiser, M. J. (2007) Petroleum Refining. 5th Edition. CRC Press N.Y., New York.


CHEM 202, or CHEM 210


We have worked hard to make this the most effective and convenient educational experience possible. How much and how well you learn is dependent on your attitude, diligence, and willingness to ask for clarifications or help when you need them. We are here to help you succeed. Please keep up with the class schedule and take advantage of opportunities to communicate with us and with your fellow students. You can expect to spend an average of 8 - 10 hours per week on class work.

Major Assignments

Exercises (30% of total course grade)

Quizzes (20% of total course grade)

Exam 1 (15% of total course grade)

Exam 2 (15% of total course grade)

Final Exam (20% of total course grade)

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
1Course Orientation
  • Course Orientation
2Lesson 1: Refinery Introduction and Crude Oil Composition
  • xxx
3Lesson 2: Physical Properties and Classification of Crude Oils    
  • Exercise 1
4Lesson 3: Overall Refinery Flow
  • Quiz 1
  • Exercise 2
5Lesson 4: Separation Processes 1-Distillation of Crude Oil
  • Exercise 3
6Lesson 5: Separation Processes 2- Distillation in Light Ends Unit, Deasphalting, and Dewaxing Processes
  • Quiz 2
  • Exercise 4
7Lesson 6: Thermal Conversion Processes
  • Exercise 5
8Lesson 7: Catalytic Conversion Processes 1: Catalytic Cracking and Hydrocracking
  • Exam 1
  • Exercise 6
9Lesson 8: Catalytic Conversion Processes 2 - Catalytic Reforming, Alkylation, Polymerization, and Isomerization
  • Quiz 3
  • Exercise 7
10Lesson 9: Finishing Processes: Hydrotreating and Blending
  • Exercise 8
11Lesson 10: Supporting Processes
  • Exam 2
  • Exercise 9
12Lesson 11: Past and Future of Petroleum Refining
  • Exercise 10
13Lesson 12: Natural Gas Processing
  • Quiz 4
15 - 17Study weeks and Final Exam
  • Final Exam