GregTech 5 Unofficial adds a new source of fuels and crafting materials in the form of oil and natural gas. Crude oil and gas must be extracted using an Oil Drilling Rig, and then processed and refined using various machines before it can be made into plastics or used as fuel.
Before you begin
An oil refinery may be started early in the MV era, and the components are somewhat costly to craft. Be sure you have a full suite of LV crafting machines, a sizable hoard of Steel, a small stash of Aluminum, a handful of Empty Cells, and one or more extras of each of the following machines:
- Fluid Solidifier
- Chemical Reactor
- Electrolyzer (MV)
- Fluid Canner or Fluid Tank (Ender IO) for filling/emptying cells
It is also a good idea to have some power cables, transformers, fluid tanks, and your favorite item and fluid pipes on hand.
The first step in building an oil refinery is to locate a source of oil or gas. Initially, this is done by building an Oil Drilling Rig and seeing what comes out. Sources of oil usable by the Drilling Rig are distributed throughout the world; see Drilling Rig Usage for details about finding oil sources. Oil may also be obtained by placing Oilsands Ore into a Centrifuge. Most kinds of oil added by other mods including BuildCraft, Galacticraft, and Magneticraft may also be refined. All of these are equivalent to twice the amount of GregTech's Raw Oil.
When a source of oil is located, it will produce Light Oil, Raw Oil, Heavy Oil, or Natural Gas. The three kinds of oil are roughly similar in the way they are processed. By contrast, Natural Gas has a much shorter processing chain and a narrower range of uses, but is immediately useful as fuel for the Gas Turbine and as a source of Hydrogen for the oil refinery, so we'll cover it first.
All kinds of oil and gas contain sulfur, which must be removed at some point in its processing. With Natural Gas, removing sulfur is the very first step. First, obtain some Hydrogen. This can be done by processing Water in an Electrolyzer of any tier, or by processing Yellow or Brown Limonite in any Centrifuge. Also you can get 4,000L of Hydrogen by processing 500L of Methane.
Insert 16,000 L of Natural Gas, one Hydrogen Cell, and one Empty Cell into a Chemical Reactor of any tier. This will produce 16,000L of Refinery Gas and two Hydrogen Sulfide cells. Refinery gas may be burned as-is in any Gas Turbine, producing 128,000 EU for every 1,000L of gas. Alternately, it may be further processed by inserting 2,000L of Refinery Gas and an empty cell into a Centrifuge of any tier, producing 1,000L of LPG. The LPG may also be burned in a Gas Turbine, producing 256,000 EU for every 1,000L of LPG. This is the same amount of energy contained in the original 2,000L of Refinery Gas.
Light Oil, Raw Oil, and Heavy Oil are each composed of Gas, Naphtha, Light Fuel, and Heavy Fuel in varying proportions. Light Oil contains a larger fraction of Gas and Naphtha, Heavy Oil contains a large fraction of Heavy Fuel, and Raw Oil is somewhere between the two. To distill the crude oils into fractions, the Distillery must be used initially, since the superior Distillation Tower requires oil-based plastics to craft. Pipe some crude oil into the Distillery and insert an Integrated Circuit to choose which fraction to distill:
|2||Sulfuric Light Fuel|
|3||Sulfuric Heavy Fuel|
To process Heavy Oil, a Distillery of at least MV tier must be used, otherwise any tier will be sufficient.
The resulting Sulfuric fraction must be processed in a Chemical Reactor along with a Hydrogen Cell and Empty Cell to remove the sulfur and produce a usable fraction. The sulfur is removed as Hydrogen Sulfide cells, which may be processed into Sulfuric Acid and then used to fill Acid Batteries or to make TNT or ITNT from Toluene.
- Sulfuric Gas becomes Refinery Gas. It is identical to the gas produced by refining Natural Gas. It can be used as Gas Turbine fuel and as a source of Hydrogen and Carbon.
- Sulfuric Naphtha becomes Naphtha. It may be burned for 256,000 EU in a Gas Turbine, but is more useful in the early game as a precursor to plastics.
- Sulfuric Light Fuel becomes Light Fuel. It may be burned for 256,000 EU in a Diesel Generator, or processed into Nitro-Diesel through a five-step process to more than double its energy yield.
- Sulfuric Heavy Fuel becomes Heavy Fuel. It may be burned for 192,000 EU in a Large Boiler, modified by the boiler's efficiency and the EU/steam conversion ratio. It may also be further distilled into Toluene for making explosives, or Lubricant to supply a Cutting Machine or Advanced Miner II.
Nitro-Diesel is a very concentrated fuel made by combining Light Fuel with Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon in several chemical reactions. Nitro-Diesel will burn for 512,000 EU in a Diesel Generator, or 640,000 EU per bucket of Light Fuel.
First, obtain Nitrogen from the air. Create Compressed Air Cells in the Compressor and decant them to fluid Air using the Fluid Canner. Pipe five cells worth of fluid Air into a Centrifuge and insert one empty cell. This will produce 3,900L of Nitrogen and one Oxygen Cell. (Wondering where the missing 100L went? To fully break air down into all of its components and get those noble gases, you'll need to use a Vacuum Freezer, which is outside the scope of this guide.)
Pipe Nitrogen and Light Fuel into Fluid Canners to pack them into Cells. Pipe Water into a Chemical Reactor and insert a Nitrogen Cell and Carbon Dust to produce Glyceryl Trinitrate. Finally, pipe the Glyceryl Trinitrate into a second Chemical Reactor and insert Light Fuel cells to create Nitro-Diesel.
Two kinds of plastics are required to progress through the HV and EV tiers and beyond. A third plastic, Polycaprolactam (or Nylon) is only used to create String from petroleum products and will not be covered here.
Formerly known as just "Plastic", Polyethylene is a valuable crafting component required to build Advanced Circuits and is needed to progress into the HV Era. It may also be used to cheaply craft Machine Hulls, Battery Hulls, and lower tier Circuits. Polyethylene is created in a Chemical Reactor using a Compressed Air Cell and 144L of Naphtha. This produces 72L of Molten Plastic, which may be piped into a Fluid Solidifier to be made into Polyethylene Sheets. These sheets are used to craft Basic and Advanced Circuits using a Forming Press and an Assembly Machine. Molten Plastic may also be piped directly into an Assembly Machine to craft Machine Hulls or Battery Hulls. Alternately, store the plastic in the form of sheets and use a Fluid Extractor to melt it for use in those recipes.
Polyethylene sheets are your key to the HV era. Upgrade your Blast Furnace and build an HV tier Chemical Reactor. After Titanium becomes available, much more Polyethylene can be created from the same amount of Naphtha, using tiny piles of Titanium dust as a catalyst.
Oil Cracking (Detour)
After unlocking HV technology, you will have the option to build an Oil Cracking Unit. This machine allows Light or Heavy Fuel to be further distilled into the lighter fractions, or into the secondary products Toluene and Lubricant more efficiently. If you are distilling Heavy Oil, you may process it into Heavy Fuel, Cracked Heavy Fuel, and then Naphtha or LPG to obtain more than twice as much Naphtha or LPG per unit of crude oil as you would get by distilling the Heavy Oil directly.
The Oil Cracking Unit costs a great deal of Stainless Steel to craft, which may be better spent on building the Distillation Tower.
Polytetrafluoroethylene is better known by its trade name Teflon, or by the abbreviation PTFE which we will use here. PTFE Sheets are required to progress into EV tier machinery and to eventually craft the Distillation Tower. The first step of creating PTFE is to make its precursor Epichlorohydrin. Obtain some Chlorine by processing Salt or Rock Salt in an Electrolyzer of any tier. Pipe 432ml of LPG into a Chemical Reactor of any tier and insert one Carbon Dust and one Chlorine Cell to produce 432ml of Epichlorohydrin.
Make sure to use an HV tier Chemical Reactor for the next step. If you insert the Epichlorohydrin into the wrong tier of Reactor, you will be disappointed. Also obtain some Fluorine by processing Lepidolite dust (from a Rock Salt vein) or the uncommon Bastnasite dust in an Electrolyzer of at least MV tier.
Pipe the 432ml of Epichlorohydrin into the HV tier Chemical Reactor along with three Naphtha Cells and one Fluorine Cell to produce 432ml of Molten PTFE. Use the Fluid Solidifier to turn the fluid into PTFE Sheets, which are required to craft Data Control Circuits for EV tier machinery and to craft Energy Flow Circuits for the Distillation Tower.
Craft 320 ingots of Stainless Steel. (In fact, craft 884 of them - that's how many you will need for two Distillation Towers and an Oil Cracking Unit.)
These will form the casing of the Distillation Tower. Also craft the Distillation Tower's controller block and all of the required hatches and buses. Assemble and repair the machine. Pour yourself a drink.
The Distillation Tower is the ultimate oil processing machine and will be the centerpiece of your oil refining installation. Each of its Output Hatches will yield a different fraction of the crude oil. Each fraction will need to be purified of sulfur using a Chemical Reactor as noted above. It is almost mandatory to build one Chemical Reactor for each of the different fractions. Supplying the reactors with Hydrogen and Empty Cells, managing the Sulfur output, and storing and using the processed fractions is a logistical puzzle whose solution I will leave to the reader. Different solutions may be optimal depending on what kinds of item and fluid transport are available to you; a solution involving Itemducts or Item Conduits may look nothing like one involving Logistics Pipes, ProjectRed Pressure Tubes, Steve's Factory Manager, or even GregTech's own Item Pipes, Chest Buffers, Regulators, and machine covers.
Heavy and Light Fuel, after desulfuration, may be sent into the Oil Cracking Unit and the resulting Cracked Fuel sent into the Distillation Tower again. This will produce even more of the same four fractions of oil, and will also produce Toluene, Lubricant, and Hydrated Coal Dust. The fractions resulting from the second distillation will not contain any sulfur, since it had already been removed after the first distillation.
The various crude and cracked oils will distill into fractions as follows:
|Crude (per 1000L)||Gas||Naphtha||Light||Heavy||Toluene||Lubricant||Tiny Hydrated Coal Dust|
|Cracked Heavy Fuel||800||100||400||300||50||10|
|Cracked Light Fuel||2400||300||100||100|
Distilling Heavy Oil requires HV energy input; all other distillations may be done with MV.
Note that Cracked Heavy Fuel produces Light Fuel, and Cracked Light Fuel produces Heavy Fuel. It is possible to create a recirculating system that continually refines all of the Heavy and Light Fuels into the lighter Gas and Naphtha fractions. This allows you to convert all of your crude oil into fuel suitable for a Gas Turbine. Toluene may also be distilled into Light Fuel.
Of course, the Distillation Tower may even be used to create Distilled Water incredibly quickly.