Pennsylvania grade crude = superior base stock?

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An oldtimer confided to me (after a few drinks) that oil refined from Pennsylvania grade crude has an inherent natural ability to resist oxidation and a robust viscosity index. He went on to mention that these characteristics make for a better Motor oil. I am inclined to believe that the modern additives negate the need for PA grade crude oil. However, if Pennsylvania grade crude is best, which oils have it? Do Quaker State and Pennzoil include it as their name implies? I suspect that this may be an urban myth with some truth to it many many years ago.
 
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Pennsylvania crude is rich in what chemists call normal alkanes. These are a wide range of straight chain molecules that lubricate well but do not react easily with oxygen or much else. Once set on fire, they do burn well. In the early days, it was relatively simple to distill out a fraction that worked as a motor lube. As other oil fields started producing, They often had more complex components that were neither as stable nor made as good of a lube. Modern refining methods allow the production of the alkanes in the right range from almost any crude. You can get there, but not as easily. I note current Pennzoil labels state made from Purebase. I might add, I grew up where our big football rivals were Titusville and Oil City. I even had a tour of the QS refinery in Emeleton
 
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This thread has made me curious...I would have guessed that the PA oil fields were probably not producing any more (or at least not producing much) because the econmomically feasible resources had been tapped...in other words the only oil left is the stuff that is tough--and therefore expensive--to extract. Am I way off-base? The reason I am curious is because if I am right, there could only be PA grade equivalents, not real PA sourced crude.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by pscholte: This thread has made me curious...I would have guessed that the PA oil fields were probably not producing any more (or at least not producing much) because the econmomically feasible resources had been tapped...in other words the only oil left is the stuff that is tough--and therefore expensive--to extract. Am I way off-base? The reason I am curious is because if I am right, there could only be PA grade equivalents, not real PA sourced crude.
It has been estimated that there is still plenty of crude left in the Penn and surrounding oil fields. The problem is that in the early days of drilling, little was known of the hydraulics at work that actually allowed you to extract the oil from the ground. As a result, no attention was paid to pressure depletion, with many wild caters drilling as many wells as they could possibly fit on their oil leased land. That coupled with many of them letting their wells run full tilt night and day, and some just letting them blow off "for the fun of it," led to the early demise of the Penn oil fields. When the oil finally quit flowing, they thought the fields had gone dry, but more often than not, all that was gone was the underground pressures that were pushing the oil to the surface. Pumps were devised to try to pull the oil out of the ground, but this has never been as efficient as the natural hydraulic pressure of a well maintained field. Wells that could produce hundreds of barrels a day under pressure would only yield a couple of barrels a week on the pump. Technology has come a long way as far as reclaiming pressure depleted oil fields. Systems that utilize gas presurization as well as water are used today, even though you'll still see oil pumps dotting the landscape in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. Reclaiming a pressure depleted field is expensive, but if an oil company ever decides that the cost/benefit ratio is low enough, we could one day see the Penn fields producing again.
 
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I had always heard about the superiority of Pennsylvania crude when I was growing up 40 plus years ago. However, I don't think Pennzoil or QS use Pennsylvania oil any more. Besides, improved refining has probably made any superiority a thing of the deep dark past.
 
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I used to use Kendall GT 20W-50 in my turbo charged Saabs. I never had it analyzed, but once when I had head problems (the old 8 valve heads were notorious for developing cavitation and holes in the jackets surrounding the exhaust valves if the pressure in the cooling system wasn't up to snuff) and had the head removed, the valve train assembly was very clean. The virgin oil had a very beautiful green-gold color. If I could still find the stuff at a reasonable price, I'd consider using it in my '98 engine (Saab B234R). This is anecdotal, but I've been told by friends of people that work at the Saab plant in Sweden that they consider one of the better motor oils to use in their transaxles is a PA crude - Quaker State 10W-30.
 
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At today's prices, many fields in Pennsylvania are still producing, but no big volume. It is possible that some of the smaller brands like Wolves Head and Amilie may still be using Pennsylvania crude. With consolidation, I do not know if any of the small refineries in Pennsylvania are still operating.
 
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Originally posted by zeke: The virgin oil had a very beautiful green-gold color. If I could still find the stuff at a reasonable price, I'd consider using it in my '98 engine (Saab B234R).
I think all Kendall's offerings now have the GT-1 nomenclature, so it is not "special" any more. They do make a synthetic (don't know if it is actually Grp IV/V oil or Group III) that is Mercedes 229.3 approved, but alas the green-gold color is gone.
 
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Originally posted by labman: At today's prices, many fields in Pennsylvania are still producing, but no big volume. ---snip
It's not just oil from Penn. it's also from Tex., La., Okla., among some others, and it's not just the region, it's the actual well, some are Sweeter than othrs. and the cream of the crop (for motor oil) as far as I know are listed above.
 
I do know that the Kendall name was sold a few years back leaving the refinery in Bradford, PA without a product to produce. At that point they started producing and marketing their own oil, BradPenn. The rumor is that this is the same formula used in the old Kendall. There is also a Rumor that this refinery is once again producing Kendall oil also. I'm not that BradPenn is the same stuff considering the newer API requirments. I can tell you that this stuff is made from Pennsylvania Crude. I'll check into this, considering I live 20 miles away, and let you know what I find out.
 
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Originally posted by Jelly: http://www.amref.com/
Wow! The BradPenn 5w30 has vis of 11.3 @ 100°C and a pour point of -45°C. [Eek!] Edit: If you dig around on the site, you'll note that they say the last time actual Pennsylvania crude (not "Pennsylvania Grade Crude") was refined at the Bradford refinery was in 1969. [ September 01, 2003, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: G-Man II ]
 
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Incredibly informative thread guys...thanks...maybe they will bring the REAL Kendall GT-1 back; I'm looking forward to what medic finds out.
 
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Originally posted by novadude: Are these BradPenn oils group one???
Looking at the MSDS sheets for the SL GF-3 oils would indicate they are all Group II.
 
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Originally posted by medic:
quote:
Originally posted by G-Man II: If you dig around on the site, you'll note that they say the last time actual Pennsylvania crude (not "Pennsylvania Grade Crude") was refined at the Bradford refinery was in 1969.
Is you read what is there, they still use "100% pure Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil". They used local crude oil from the Bradford area until 1969. Bradford is a small city of about 15,000 or less people. This covers a very small area about 2 miles south of the western New York / Penn line.

Do you honestly think all (or even any) of the crude they refine comes from the Penn oil fields? "Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil" is not the same thing as crude oil from Pennsylvania.
 
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I know there are producing oil wells in Pennsylvania. I doubt the oil is hauled to New Jersey or Texas to be refined. I also wonder about the economics of transporting Middle East oil to Bradford to be refined. Bradford is not an easy place to get to. Nor many of the other old Pennsylvania refineries. Any attendees of the old Watkins Glen Gran Prix? I can see a niche market producing fuels for the local area and specialty lubes for a wider market from locally produced crude. One semi could haul away 20,000 quarts of real Pennsylvania motor oil. Not a run most drivers would look forward to. Maybe North to I 86 might not be to bad. Note, my wife grew up in Warren Pennsylvania, but doesn't remember where the old United Refinery got itss feedstock. She seems less interested in this subject.
 

MolaKule

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From Ray H, "So, how relevant is the notion of "Pennsylvania Grade Crude" in an era dominated by hydrogen isomerized Group-II and Group-III base stocks?" Essentially, none. Oil wells in Chanute Kansas once produced an oil so rich in alkanes and natural wax isomerates that the oil was simply filtered to make motor oil, and was naturally green in color (about 35 weight). So the Penn. myth continues, even though there were other oil fields producing much better quality oils. An oil well near Coffeyville Kansas (near the Oklahoma border) produced oil so rich in Kerosene that it only needed a low temp fractionization to produce consumer grade kerosene (coal oil), gasoline, and a light yellow-colored motor oil.
 
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Crude oils are either paraffinic base or asphaltic (napthenic) base, or a combination. Paraffinic based oil produces the best lubricants for most purposes. The Appalachian Basin crude oil, the so-called Pennsylvania grade crude, has a very high paraffinic proportion. Paraffinic (or paraffin) based oils have a naturally higher viscosity index and resistance to oxidation. Napthenic based oils have a lower gel point and better demuslibility, but these attributes can be additized into paraffinic based oil. Asphaltic crude oil has a higher fuel yield than paraffic crude, so the asphaltic crude has a higher value to integrated oil refiners. 100% paraffin (or paraffinic) base oil is the best conventional base oil, but is expensive. Most conventional base oils are a mixture of parafinic and napthenic base oil, because that's what's coming from the refineries. Kendall is now just another brand name owned by an oil major, ConocoPhillips Corp. Some of the Kendall products have an identical data sheet with some other ConocoPhillips brands, 76 for one, and probably more to follow. The word "paraffin" has multiple related meanings. Paraffin wax is a product of oil refining. Paraffin also can mean oil with saturated hydrocarbon chains. Here's more info on oil and refining: http://www.wetestit.com/Crude_101.htm Ken
 
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