Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes

 Category:   Petroleum Refining & Processing
 Topic:   Downstream Processing of Fresh Feed Input


Key Terms Definition
Barrel A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons.
Catalytic Cracking The refining process of breaking down the larger, heavier, and more complex hydrocarbon molecules into simpler and lighter molecules. Catalytic cracking is accomplished by the use of a catalytic agent and is an effective process for increasing the yield of gasoline from crude oil. Catalytic cracking processes fresh feeds and recycled feeds.
Catalytic Hydrocracking A refining process that uses hydrogen and catalysts with relatively low temperatures and high pressures for converting middle boiling or residual material to high-octane gasoline, reformer charge stock, jet fuel, and/or high grade fuel oil. The process uses one or more catalysts, depending upon product output, and can handle high sulfur feedstocks without prior desulfurization.
Delayed Coking A process by which heavier crude oil fractions can be thermally decomposed under conditions of elevated temperatures and pressure to produce a mixture of lighter oils and petroleum coke. The light oils can be processed further in other refinery units to meet product specifications. The coke can be used either as a fuel or in other applications such as the manufacturing of steel or aluminum.
Fluid Coking A thermal cracking process utilizing the fluidized-solids technique to remove carbon (coke) for continuous conversion of heavy, low-grade oils into lighter products.
Fresh Feed Input Represents input of material (crude oil, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, other hydrocarbons and oxygenates or finished products) to processing units at a refinery that is being processed (input) into a particular unit for the first time.

  • Unfinished oils coming out of a crude oil distillation unit which are input into a catalytic cracking unit are considered fresh feed to the catalytic cracking unit.
  • Unfinished oils coming out of a catalytic cracking unit being looped back into the same catalytic cracking unit to be reprocessed are not considered fresh feed.
  • Fresh Feeds Crude oil or petroleum distillates which are being fed to processing units for the first time.
    Petroleum Administration for Defense (PAD) Districts Geographic aggregations of the 50 States and the District of Columbia into five districts by the Petroleum Administration for Defense in 1950. These districts were originally defined during World War II for purposes of administering oil allocation. Description and maps of PAD Districts and Refining Districts.
    Recycled Feeds Feeds that are continuously fed back for additional processing.
    Refinery An installation that manufactures finished petroleum products from crude oil, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, other hydrocarbons, and oxygenates.

    For definitions of related energy terms, refer to the EIA Energy Glossary.


    Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-810, "Monthly Refinery Report".
  • EIA Forms & Instructions .
  • Background, Survey Methodology and Statistical Details .

  •   Explanatory Notes

  • Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.
  • Description and maps of PAD Districts and Refining Districts from the Petroleum Supply Monthly.