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Crude Oil Assay

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The crude oil assay

The crude oil assay is a compilation of laboratory

and pilot plant data that define the properties of
the specific crude oil.
At a minimum the assay should contain a
distillation curve for the crude and a specific
gravity curve. Most assays however contain data
on pour point (flowing criteria), sulfur content,
viscosity, and many other properties. Engineering
companies use the assay data in preparing the
process design of petroleum plants they are
bidding on.

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The crude oil assay
The true boiling point curve
This is a plot of the boiling points of almost pure components,
contained in the crude oil or fractions of the crude oil.
In earlier times this curve was produced in the laboratory using
complex batch distillation apparatus of a hundred or more
equilibrium stages and a very high reflux ratio.
A typical true boiling point curve (TBP) is shown

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The crude oil assay

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True boiling point
1. Gas, boiling range: <15.5°C
2. Gasoline (light naphtha), boiling range:
3. Kerosene (medium naphtha), boiling range:
4. Gas oil, boiling range: 232–343°C
5. Light vacuum gas oil, boiling range: 343–
6. Heavy vacuum gas oil, boiling range: 371–
Residuum, boiling range: >566°C

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The crude oil assay
The ASTM distillation curve
While the TBP curve is not produced on a routine
basis the ASTM distillation curves are. This type of
distillation curve is used however on a routine basis
for plant and product quality control. This test is
carried out on crude oil fractions using a simple

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How is D-86 important ?

• D 86 is used to
determine fuel
volatility across
the entire boiling
range of fuel.
• A = Front End (0–20%
• B = Mid-range (20-90%
• C = Tail End (90-100%
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The crude oil assay
There is a correlation between the ASTM and the
TBP curve .
Because only one equilibrium stage is used and
no reflux is returned, the separation of
components is poor. Thus, IBP for ASTM is higher
than the corresponding TBP point and FBP of the
ASTM is lower than that for the TBP curve.

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The crude oil assay

Cut point
A cut point is defined as that temperature on the
whole crude TBP curve that represents the limits
(upper and lower) of a fraction to be produced

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Crude Assay



Cut points
Tb vacuum gas

heavy gas
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%

kerosene light gas

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The crude oil assay

End points
While the cut point is an ideal temperature used to
define the yield of a fraction, the end points are the
actual terminal temperatures of a fraction produced
commercially. Thus, the actual IBP of the fraction will
be lower than the initial cut point, and its FBP will be
higher than the corresponding final cut point.

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