I'm currently studying oil extraction and learned that the engines are powered by electricity or diesel. Probably there are other types of fuel used as well. By engines I mean the pumps that extract the oil from under the sea. My question is: Is the oil platform able to use the oil they are pumping to power their own engines? I believe it would need to be able to "transform" oil into fuel on site and use it, is that possible?

  • $\begingroup$ Sure it is...as long as you brought oil along with you to kick start your equipment and it refines more oil than it uses. The equipment probably runs off some really crude stuff though to minimize how much refining is needed. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ I doubt that many production platforms refine the oil for use for its energy $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Do you realize the crude oil without refining will ruin the engine rather than power it? $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ No. Crude can be used to power large diesel engines for propulsion. But to supply the 8 to 16 generators to generate the 12 to 20 MW of power a oil platform needs, diesel is used. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ It would be ReallyNice(TM) if oil platforms collected the natural gas they currently burn off or dump, and use that to power local generators. No processing required, for all practical purposes. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


Platforms are weight and space limited so there is generally no room for processing( and processing will require more crew and their facilities). Gas, oil and water are usually separated, often it is legal to dump the water, saves pipelining it to shore for processing. So a nat gas engine should be possible but I have not heard of them used on a platform. And it can require a complex of 2 or 3 platforms to separate gas, oil, and water. Especially in the US gulf, many platforms are unmanned and just send all production to shore. Some very productive deep water platforms will have a permanently anchored tanker which give more room for separating ,etc. They might separate out a diesel fraction, gasoline would be out of the question.

  • $\begingroup$ So I understand that the platforms have to be refueled in a timely manner so they don't stop the production, unless they are connected to the continent and there is a pipe that brings fuel back to them alongside the pipes taking oil and gas out of them? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ @AndréDias some apparently are hooked to shore power $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Most commonly supply boats bring fuel. But There are various situations such as , as noted, electric power from shore or another platform. A drilling platform uses more power than a production platform. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Natural gas engines (usually a modified jet engine core driving a pump) are certainly used on gas platforms and gas pipelines using fuel from the gas being pumped, but the OP's question was about oil extraction. Jet engines are pretty tolerant about fuel, but unrefined crude oil would be going too far. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ I meant a reciprocating gas engines. But gas turbines could be good with one large caution ; In a sea atmosphere they could suffer "hot corrosion". Salts , esp, sodium sulfate. can make molten deposits causing rapid oxidation. I believe coatings have been developed for resistance. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 16:10

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