Heavy Fuel Oil

Petroleum Products

Heavy Fuel Oil

The black substance that boiled out of the rocks which called rock oil was used medicinally by the American Indians with consideration of healing power.
Petroleum is a Latin word derived from Petra meaning rock and Oleum meaning oil. This word is used more or less in the same sense as oil.

Heavy Fuel oil indicators

Crude oil consists of carbon and hydrogen elements, which is one of the types of hydrocarbons, and it is classified into light and heavy, sour and sweet crude oil based on the hydrocarbon compounds and their sulfur content.

API index is usually used to show the lightness and heaviness of crude oil. Crude oil with an API higher than 30 is called light, 20 to 30 is called medium, and lower than 20 is called heavy fuel oil. There are crude oils with an API greater than 44, such as Ecofisk crude oil, which is called very light.

In this article, we are going to discuss the sale of heavy oil and some key points related to the trade of this type of oil.

Heavy fuel oil

Heavy fuel oil is a crude oil that has a high concentration and does not flow easily in the oil extraction well. This type of oil is called “heavy” because its density and relative density are higher than light crude oil. In 2010, the World Energy Council defined extra-heavy oil as crude oil whose API degree is below 10° and whose viscosity does not exceed 10,000 centipoises.

Heavy crude oil is closely related to bitumen or oil from oil sands. In petroleum geology, oil from oil sands is classified as extra heavy oil. Heavy and extra-heavy crude oil is similar to the residue left over from refining light crude oil.

The amount of heavy and extra heavy crude oil reserves in the world is more than twice that of conventional crude oil, and the largest reserves of heavy and extra heavy crude oil in the world are in Canada, Venezuela, and Iran.


Selling heavy fuel oil

The sale of heavy fuel oil is one of the important trade routes chosen by countries with oil capital. It should be noted that the extraction and refining of this product will result in a huge cost for the producing country.

Since the flow rate of this product is very low, in order to dilute and move them in the oil transfer pipes, expenses must be spent on purchasing diluents and hiring expert engineers.

As was mentioned, the sale of heavy oil will entail a lot of costs for the producing country. Another one of these costs is the construction of well-equipped and advanced refineries. The extraction of this type of oil is different from the extraction of other types of oil that are commonly used.

The cost of extracting heavy fuel oil and the cost of the wages of its expert technicians force the selling countries to increase the selling price of heavy fuel oil.

One of the questions that arise for many people is why, when selling heavy oil requires so much cost and effort, it is still considered a profitable business and many people are inclined towards it?

To answer this question, it should be noted that heavy oil has advantages that have attracted public interest and expanded its use among capitalist countries, especially European countries.

It is worth noting that according to the reports of the World Energy and Petroleum Organization, the usual oil reserves, which were used more before, are running out. This news caused the European and American countries, which have been the biggest buyers of crude oil from Asian and Arab countries, to think about providing the resources they need through the purchase of heavy oil.


Global heavy fuel oil trade

Heavy oil is mostly sold by oil-rich countries that have experience and proper equipment in this field. Venezuela, Iran and Canada are three of the biggest sellers of this substance around the world. Iran’s heavy oil has a very high rank in the world markets in terms of quality and purity of chemicals. Since the demand for heavy oil has increased in recent years, the mentioned countries and other producers of this valuable material have made a good profit from the sale of heavy oil.


Trading heavy fuel oil over time

Most people who are active in this field today believe that the sale of heavy fuel oil and its extensive trade has been common among people all over the world for years past. But the interesting thing is that this business has only been expanding for a few years.

In the past few decades, many countries and investors did not show much desire to buy and sell heavy oil due to the high cost of producing this material. Most of the focus of the activists in this field was on increasing the investment in crude oil and its derivatives.

In the past years, due to the presence of high viscosity in heavy oil, many people thought that the refining process would cost them a lot and it was not economical compared to the profit they got from selling heavy oil.

Some other countries thought that there is no customer willing to invest in heavy oil. But the key point was that it was nor the lack of customers or the unpopularity of heavy oil was the reason. The main issue was the lack of proper introduction and advertising.

However, today we are witness that after years of reduction or stability in the price of heavy oil, in the last few months the selling price of heavy oil has increased in international forums.


Preferably heavy fuel oil

Today, when the sale of heavy fuel oil has increased all over the world, one of the questions that arise for many people, both those who are active in this field and those who are experts in examining the conditions of the heavy oil market, is that why is buying heavy oil sometimes preferred over light oil?

Today, the sale of heavy oil is increasing due to various economic and environmental reasons. Heavy oil is a kind of fossil fuel that is kinder to nature. According to the extensive research of scientists on this material, it can be claimed that heavy oil is much more environmentally friendly than other conventional oils and causes less damage to it.


Comparison of heavy and light fuel oil

Increasing the level of need for oil cuts that are less harmful to the environment and more economically priced has increased the sales of heavy oil in the world. In this article, we are going to have a discussion about the difference between heavy and light oil.

Heavy oil contains more bitumen, so its global price is lower than light oil. In the sale of heavy oil, buyers pay much attention to the percentage of bitumen in crude oil. The sulfur content of heavy oil is higher than that of light oil. Sulfur, nitrogen, heavy metals and oxygen are other compounds whose amount is higher in heavy oil than in light oil.


Heavy fuel oil fields in Iran and the world

America, Mexico, Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Canada are considered to be giants of heavy oil. About 27% of Iran’s oil resources consist of heavy oil. North Pars, Ko, Soroush, Ramshir, Zaghe, Mond, Sosangerd and Paydar Gharb are among the important heavy oil fields of Iran. In these fields, there are refineries that produce heavy oil with special equipment and tanks.


Heavy fuel oil and shipping fuel

In the maritime industry, various types of fuels are used by ships and vessels. Considering that all vessels must receive fuel during the bunkering operation, it is necessary that the bunkering stations can supply them with fuel according to the needs of the ships. Although the fuels have significant differences from each other in terms of technical specifications, all of them are actually a type of fuel oil and gas oil. The types of petroleum products that are used as fuel for ships in bunkering operations can be categorized as follows:

  • (MGO – Marine Gas Oil): It is a fuel similar to the fuel of diesel engines, which is also called type 2 fuel oil, which is gas liquids resulting from the heat of crude oil.
  • (MDO – Marine Diesel Oil): a type of heavy gas oil that does not need to be heated in order to use as engine combustion fuel. This fuel has a significant amount of heavy fuel oil, which other diesel fuels do not have this characteristic.
  • (IFO – Intermediate Fuel Oil): It is a combination of gas oil and heavy fuel oil, the amount of gas oil is lower than the diesel oil of the MDO ship.
  • (Marine Fuel Oil): It has precisely the characteristics of HFO heavy fuel oil and is its other name. This fuel is also mixed in some petroleum products that are considered waste (such as used engine oil).
  • (HFO – Heavy Fuel Oil): The last cut of crude oil is grade 6 fuel oil.


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Comments (2)

  • Philip Liu Reply

    I am looking for supply of HFO #180 of sulphur content 3.5% / 2% respectively.
    Kindly help to make us offer base on long term contract price for 1 – 3 years.

    Demand : Phase 20,000 ton/month ; Phase 2 : 40,000/month
    Discharge port : Yangon, Myanmar.

    We may pay thro China Petroleum or equivalent or your suggested way.

    October 23, 2023 at 3:08 pm
    • Iran Petroleum Reply

      Dear client,
      Thank you for your email to Iran Petroleum.

      Please kindly answer the following questions:
      1- Please clarify your exact position as a trading company or a production/manufacturer company;
      2- Please provide us with the exact information of your company including the Registration Certificate and any licenses you have achieved during your company’s lifetime;
      3- Please provide us with the exact LoI of your current request.
      After analyzing the above information/documents we will revert to you shortly if we recognize you as an eligible customer.

      Thank you so much for your attention and participation,
      Iran Petroleum

      December 17, 2023 at 12:59 am

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