In this chapter, we describe petroleum-derived lubricant base oils along with their chemical composition, attributes, and drawbacks. The chapter also describes many of the refinery processes in some detail to explain the manner in which the hydrocarbon cuts from petroleum with suitable properties for use as lubricant base stocks are obtained. Commonly referred to as mineral oils, they are the cheapest and the most abundant base stocks available and therefore are often used to formulate lubricants. The base oil demand is a derived demand and depends on the demand of lubricants, which differs across various geographic areas, due to the size and composition of their automotive fleet, age of the fleet, lubricant-quality requirements, and governmental regulations related to fuel-economy and control of the undesirable emissions. The lubricants demand of the far-eastern countries and those of the developing regions of Indian-subcontinent, South America, and Africa are experiencing a higher growth-rate than the world's developed regions of North America, Europe, and Japan, which are going to see a lower growth rate. Discussion also encompasses physical, analytical, and tribological methods to assess the base oil's critical properties to identify the best candidates to formulate premium-quality lubricants.
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