The Science Behind Light Cycle Oil: Where to Buy LCO Oil

Light Cycle Oil

In today’s ever-evolving industrial landscape, the demand for efficient energy sources and high-performance lubricants has never been greater. Enter Light Cycle Oil (LCO), a versatile and invaluable resource that plays a pivotal role in multiple industries, from power generation to manufacturing and transportation. This article delves into the depths of LCO, unraveling the science behind its composition and applications. Additionally, we’ll guide you on where to source this essential commodity.

Understanding Light Cycle Oil (LCO)

Defining LCO

Light Cycle Oil, often abbreviated as LCO, is a product of the refining process in the petrochemical industry. It occupies a unique space in the spectrum of petroleum products, characterized by its distinct chemical composition and remarkable properties.

The Production Process

LCO is primarily produced through the fractional distillation of crude oil in refineries. During this process, crude oil is heated, and its various components are separated based on their boiling points. LCO emerges as a valuable product from this intricate process.

Key Properties and Characteristics

One of the remarkable features of LCO is its chemical makediup. It consists of hydrocarbon molecules with specific characteristics that make it ideal for a wide range of applications. Notably, LCO boasts a high calorific value, which translates to efficient energy production. Its low sulfur content is also significant, as it contributes to environmental benefits.

Viscosity and Stability

LCO’s viscosity, a measure of its thickness, plays a critical role in its application. It provides adequate lubrication for engines and machinery, ensuring smooth operation. Moreover, LCO’s stability is crucial for long-term storage and use, making it a reliable choice for various industries.

Applications of LCO

A Multifaceted Commodity

LCO finds application in numerous industries, making it a versatile resource for businesses worldwide. Some key sectors that rely on LCO include power generation, manufacturing processes, and marine and transportation.

Real-World Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at how LCO benefits these industries:

  • Power Generation: LCO serves as a vital fuel source for power plants, producing electricity efficiently and reliably.
  • Manufacturing Processes: In manufacturing, LCO is used as a feedstock for producing plastics and other essential materials.
  • Marine and Transportation: LCO’s low sulfur content makes it an eco-friendly choice for marine and automotive fuels, reducing harmful emissions.

Sourcing Light Cycle Oil

Light Cycle Oil Price Variation


Light cycle oil price per MT

The LCO price in the domestic market jumped 18% to Yuan 5,150/mt ($107.33/b) May 19 from around Yuan 4,500/mt on May 14, market sources said.


2023 Light cycle oil price 

Between $100.50 – $112.93 per barrel

Today’s light cycle oil price 

Average ($107.33/b)

Platts light cycle oil price


Light cycle oil price per barrel

Around $100.50 – $112.93 per barrel


Light cycle oil refinery

The production of LCO depends on the type of crude oil processed and the specific configuration of the refinery. Changes in refinery operations can affect LCO production and pricing.

Where to Begin

If you’re in the market for LCO, you’re in the right place. Sourcing this valuable resource begins with finding reputable suppliers or exporters who specialize in connecting buyers with trusted sources of LCO.

Due Diligence Matters

It’s imperative to exercise due diligence when selecting LCO suppliers. Quality, quantity, and pricing are key factors to consider. Be sure to work with suppliers who adhere to industry standards and regulations.

Networking with LCO Suppliers

The Value of Experienced Exporters

One effective way to connect with reliable LCO suppliers is through experienced exporters specializing in the field. Here’s why it matters:

  • Access to a Wide Network: Exporters have established networks of trusted LCO suppliers, ensuring a variety of options.
  • Market Insights: They possess valuable expertise in LCO market dynamics, helping you make informed decisions.

Light Cycle Oil (LCO) is a vital product derived from Fluid Catalytic Cracking Units (FCCUs) in the world of oil refining. However, on its own, LCO isn’t the ideal component for diesel fuel blending; it requires further processing to reach its full potential. Let’s dive into the intricacies of oil refining, FCCUs, and how LCO fits into this complex industrial puzzle.

The Role of FCCUs in Oil Refining

Oil refining is a multifaceted industrial process that involves separation, conversion, and finishing. Within this vast landscape, the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) takes center stage as a major conversion unit. FCCUs play a pivotal role in producing essential petroleum products, including gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and our focus here, Light Cycle Oil (LCO).

The Importance of Diesel

Diesel fuel holds a special place in the world of automobiles due to its remarkable efficiency. In recent times, the global demand for diesel has been on the rise, surpassing that of gasoline. However, many older refineries have historically optimized their operations for gasoline production, resulting in a surplus of gasoline and a shortage of diesel. This is where Light Cycle Oil comes into play.

LCO: A Key Diesel Boiling Range Material

LCO is a product of the FCCU, coexisting with gasoline and gas production. It falls within the diesel boiling range, making it a valuable resource for diesel production. However, before it can be used as a diesel fuel blending component, LCO undergoes a crucial transformation in the diesel hydrotreater (DHT) unit. This process reduces sulfur content, making it an eco-friendly diesel option.

Enhancing LCO Production

To meet the growing demand for diesel, FCCUs are increasingly adopting a medium conversion mode rather than the traditional low conversion mode. This strategic shift not only maintains gas quality and quantity but also enhances the octane rating of the gasoline produced. Additionally, it reduces the production of low-valued slurry oil, which contains LCO-range materials. To recover LCO from slurry oil, a dedicated slurry oil stripping tower is employed.

The Complexity of FCCU Control

Controlling a Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit is no simple task. It involves monitoring and managing numerous parameters. To streamline this intricate process, Distributed Control Systems (DCS) are employed, automating various aspects of the FCCU operation.

Upgrading LCO: The Path to Optimal Diesel

Economically upgrading LCO is crucial to meet the stringent requirements of modern diesel fuels. Several methods exist, including hydrotreating and high-pressure hydrocracking, which convert LCO into high-quality products such as Naphtha. An optimized partial conversion hydrocracking process offers flexibility and effectiveness in transforming LCO into very-low-sulfur diesel and high-octane, high-aromatics naphtha.

In the dynamic world of oil refining and FCCUs, Light Cycle Oil serves as a critical link in the chain of energy production and sustainability. Its journey from FCCUs to eco-friendly diesel highlights the innovation and technological advancements that drive the industry forward. With Distributed Control Systems and optimization techniques, we are better equipped than ever to unlock the full potential of LCO and meet the evolving demands of the modern world.


In conclusion, understanding the science behind Light Cycle Oil (LCO) is essential for businesses and industries seeking efficient energy sources and lubricants. LCO’s unique properties and versatile applications make it an invaluable commodity. When sourcing LCO, it’s crucial to connect with reputable suppliers through experienced exporters who can guide you through the process. The synergy between science and sourcing ensures that your business has access to the high-quality LCO it needs to thrive.

If you’re ready to explore reliable sources of Light Cycle Oil or have questions regarding its application, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to assist you in sourcing top-notch LCO for your business needs. Contact us today to embark on a journey towards efficiency and sustainability.

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