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API gr avi t y - Wi ki pedi a, t he f r ee encycl opedi a

API gravity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The American Petroleum Institute gravity, or API gravity, is a measure of how heavy or light a petroleum liquid is compared to water. If its API gravity is greater than 10, it is lighter and floats on water; if less than 10, it is heavier and sinks. API gravity is thus an inverse measure of the relative density of a petroleum liquid and the density of water, but it is used to compare the relative densities of petroleum liquids. For example, if one petroleum liquid floats on another and is therefore less dense, it has a greater API gravity. Although mathematically, API gravity has no units (see the formula below), it is nevertheless referred to as being in "degrees". API gravity is gradated in degrees on a hydrometer instrument. The API scale was designed so that most values would fall between 10 and 70 API gravity degrees.

1 History of development 2 API gravity formulas 3 Using API gravity to calculate barrels of crude oil per metric ton 4 Measurement of API gravity from its density 5 Direct Measurement of API gravity (Hydrometer method) 6 Classifications or grades 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

History of development
The U.S. National Bureau of Standards in 1916 accepted the Baum scale, developed in France in 1768, as the U.S. standard for measuring the specific gravity of liquids less dense than water. Investigation by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found major errors in salinity and temperature controls that had caused serious variations in published values. Hydrometers in the U.S. had been manufactured and distributed widely with a modulus of 141.5 instead of the Baum scale modulus of 140. The scale was so firmly established that by 1921 the remedy implemented by the American Petroleum Institute was to create the API Gravity scale, recognizing the scale that was actually being used.

API gravity formulas

The formula to obtain API gravity of petroleum liquids, from specific gravity (SG), is:

Conversely, the specific gravity of petroleum liquids can be derived from the API gravity value as
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API gr avi t y - Wi ki pedi a, t he f r ee encycl opedi a

Thus, a heavy oil with a specific gravity of 1.0 (i.e., with the same density as pure water at 60F) would have an API gravity of:

Using API gravity to calculate barrels of crude oil per metric ton
In the oil industry, quantities of crude oil are often measured in metric tons. One can calculate the approximate number of barrels per metric ton for a given crude oil based on its API gravity:

So, for example, a metric ton of West Texas Intermediate (39.6 API) would contain about 7.6 barrels.

Measurement of API gravity from its density

To derive the API gravity from the density, the density is first measured using either the hydrometer, detailed in ASTM D1298 or with the oscillating U-tube method detailed in ASTM D4052. Density adjustments at different temperatures, corrections for soda-lime glass expansion and contraction and meniscus corrections for opaque oils are detailed in the Petroleum Measurement Tables, details of usage specified in ASTM D1250. The specific gravity is then calculated from the formula below and the API gravity calculated from the first formula above.

Direct Measurement of API gravity (Hydrometer method)

There are advantages to field testing and on-board conversion of measured volumes to volume correction. This method is detailed in ASTM D287.

Classifications or grades
Generally speaking, oil with an API gravity between 40 and 45 commands the highest prices. Above 45 degrees the molecular chains become shorter and less valuable to refineries.[1] Crude oil is classified as light, medium or heavy, according to its measured API gravity. Light crude oil is defined as having an API gravity higher than 31.1 API (less than 870 kg/m3) Medium oil is defined as having an API gravity between 22.3 API and 31.1 API (870 to 920 kg/m3) Heavy crude oil is defined as having an API gravity below 22.3 API (920 to 1000 kg/m3)
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API gr avi t y - Wi ki pedi a, t he f r ee encycl opedi a

Extra heavy oil is defined with API gravity below 10.0 API (greater than 1000 kg/m3) Not all parties use the same grading.[2] The United States Geological Survey uses slightly different definitions.[3] Crude oil with API gravity less than 10 API is referred to as extra heavy oil or bitumen. Bitumen derived from the oil sands deposits in the Alberta, Canada area has an API gravity of around 8 API. It is "upgraded" to an API gravity of 31 API to 33 API, and the upgraded oil is known as synthetic crude.[4]

See also
Density Specific gravity Specific weight

1. ^ Louisiana Department of Natural Resources ( 2. ^ Crude oil grades,, web PDF file: CMonitor-Gr-PDF ( 3. ^ USGS FS2006-3133_508, web PDF file: USGS-508-PDF ( 4. ^ Canadian Centre for Energy Information. "What is crude oil?" ( . Retrieved on: 2012-09-10.

External links
Link to hydrometer ( Comments on API gravity adjustment scale ( Instructions for using a glass hydrometer measured in API gravity ( API Degree history ( Retrieved from "" Categories: Units of density Physical quantities Petroleum geology Petroleum production This page was last modified on 21 March 2013 at 06:36. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

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