How is oil transported to different places

OMV Group

It's long, it's complex: before diesel or gasoline arrives at filling stations, they have already come a long way. In our example from North Africa to Austria.

More than 1.5 million OMV customers visit our filling stations every day and refuel for their next stage. Modern everyday life as we know and live it would be inconceivable without oil.

Exactly how the oil is transported from the country of origin for further processing, how it is converted into finished products in the refineries, in order to finally reach the tank, is a different story.

Today ask yourself the question: where does that come from?

This video answers some small questions and this one big question: where does the crude oil come from and what stages does it travel before it can be refueled.

From crude oil to petrol stations using the example of North Africa to Vienna in eight steps. Embark on an exciting journey with us:

1) crude oil

First there is drilling: If OMV does not do this itself, the crude oil will be bought by our traders in London. We currently purchase oil from almost 20 countries worldwide - from Kazakhstan to Norway to Austria. Or, as in our example, from an oil well in Algeria, North Africa, where the “Sahara Blend” variety is obtained.

2) pipeline

The crude oil is sent on directly from the production sites in a network of pipelines. The largest pipelines lead from the oil wells to refineries or ports. In our case, the pipeline leads to the Algerian port of Bejaia.

3) oil tankers

When it arrives at the port, the crude oil is pumped into an oil tanker, from which point it also becomes the property of OMV. The Algerian crude oil is pumped into a so-called Aframax tanker with a capacity of 600,000 barrels. Depending on the current crude oil price, this corresponds to around USD 20 million (as of February 2016) - and that is still one of the smaller tankers.

4) port

After about four to five days, the tanker reaches its destination - the seaport of Trieste, one of the most important ports for oil in Europe. Around 12 tankers with OMV crude oil arrive here every month. However, not all of the crude oil ends up in the Schwechat and Burghausen refineries; some of it is resold. The tanker is now pumped dry - with this amount, this takes 24 hours.

5) Transalpine Pipeline

After a short interim storage in the Trieste tank farm, the journey continues via the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL) to Carinthia, Austria. The Adria-Wien-Pipeline (AWP) branches off from here. The crude oil flows through this at an average speed of 6.5 kilometers per hour for more than 420 kilometers to the Schwechat refinery.

6) refinery

When it arrives at the refinery, the crude oil is further processed.
To put it simply, this happens in a distillation column. This is where the individual mixing components for the production of gasoline, diesel
or obtained from aircraft fuel.

7) Tank farm

But the journey is still not over. The fully refined mixed components are transported from the refinery to the Lobau tank farm near Vienna and “blended” as required - in other words, mixed into the actual finished product. One liter of the Sahara Blend crude oil yields around 20 percent gasoline, around 30 percent diesel and just under 20 percent of the jet fuel Jet A1. Petrochemical products (some of them also from the gasoline itself) and heating oil are obtained from the rest.

8) gas station

Petrol and diesel then stay in the tanks until they get to other tank farms or finally to petrol stations in trains, ships or tankers - and end up in the cars via the faucet. The other products, such as heating oil or aviation fuel, are also transported across Europe by trains, ships or pipelines.