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Version 0.13 adds flamethrower turrets to the game. They can be operated with crude oil, heavy oil or light oil. Does the choice of oil have any impact on their performance? Also, which one is the more economical choice regarding crude oil consumption (heavy and light oil are made from crude oil and light oil can be made from heavy oil)?

3 Answers 3

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Does the choice of oil have any impact on turret performance?

Yes. Heavy Oil gives 5% damage bonus, and Light Oil gives 10% bonus.
 

Which one is the more economical choice regarding crude oil consumption?

As Oil Processing produces large amounts of Petroleum (at least 40% of output), which is not useable in flamethrower turrets, and rate of fuel consumption does not change with fuel type, crude oil will be most economical choice.

What fuel should I use?

If you are interested in most economic choice, Crude Oil is the fuel of choice. If you want most DPS from your turret setup, use Light Oil. In most practical setups, there would be noneven ratio of production/consumption of different oil products, so you are probably want to use what you have in excess.

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  • Crude Oil is also more practical because: a) it can be directly piped from an oil well if defending an oil outpost with no processing required; b) it can be transported easily as an item (oil barrel) using either robots or trains from a centralized oil station.
    – Darkhogg
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 8:07
  • The second part of the comment by @Darkhogg is a bit outdated: Since version 0.15, every liquid (except steam) can be transported via barrels.
    – Philipp
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 14:07
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    @Philipp Liquid wagons were invented after my comment, too, making the different oil products equally practical to transport.
    – Darkhogg
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 14:36
  • If you compare crude / heavy / light in terms of how much petroleum they can be converted into, crude is actually the most valuable. This makes it the least economical choice for your flamethrower turrets.
    – JSQuareD
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 7:49
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    @JSQuareD yes, but there I compared "how much crude oil should you pump to deal X damage". Different metrics will give different results. Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:58
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What is the most cost effective fuel?

When trying to find the most economical fuel it is best to calculate how much it costs to convert one of the fuels to another.

The basic recipes as of v1.1.36:

Advanced Oil Processing:

100 CO -> 25 HO + 45 LO (+ ...)

Heavy Oil Cracking to Light Oil:

40 HO -> 30 LO

When using 3 * Tier 3 Productivity Modules the productivity rises to 130%, which means that we should multiply the outputs with 1.3.

So when put into one equation:

100 CO -> (25 * 0.75 * 1.3 + 45) * 1.3 LO
100 CO -> 90.1875 LO

That means that crude oil is the most economical fuel of them all. If you want the most DPS though, you should use light oil to get an extra 10% damage boost.

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  • You failed to include the petroleum produced by advanced oil processing. If you compare crude / heavy / light in terms of how much petroleum they can be converted into, crude is actually the most valuable. This makes it the least economical choice for your flamethrower turrets.
    – JSQuareD
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 7:50
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The other answers regarding which oil is the most economical choice are incomplete. Typically, most of your oil is ultimately consumed as petroleum. So it is natural to compare the oil types based on how much petroleum they can be converted into. Mr.Queequeg's answer only considers conversion to light oil but fails to include the petroleum produced from crude oil.

The recipe for light oil cracking is 30 light oil to 20 petroleum. So 1 light oil is worth 2/3 = ~0.667 petroleum. If you use productivity modules for a 30% bonus then 1 light oil is worth ~0.867 petroleum.

For heavy oil cracking it's 40 heavy oil to 30 light oil. So 1 heavy oil = 0.75 light oil = 0.5 petroleum. With productivity modules that becomes 1 heavy oil = 0.845 petroleum.

Advanced oil processing is 100 crude oil to 25 heavy oil, 45 light oil, and 55 petroleum. So 1 crude oil = 0.25 heavy oil + 0.45 light oil + 0.55 petroleum = 0.975 petroleum. With productivity modules that becomes 1 crude oil = 1.496625 petroleum.

So without productivity modules heavy oil is the least valuable and crude oil the most valuable. Though with productivity modules light oil comes very close to being as valuable as heavy oil.

If you use 1 light oil in your turrets you lose out on ~0.667 (or ~0.867 w/ productivity modules) petroleum and you'll need to pump ~0.684 (or ~0.579) crude to replace that. If you use 1 heavy oil in your turrets you lose out on 0.5 petroleum (or 0.845) and you'll need to pump ~0.513 (or ~0.565) crude oil to replace that. If you use 1 crude oil in your turrets then obviously you'll need to pump 1 crude oil to replace that.

The there's also the damage bonus to consider. Putting it a in a table:

Oil type Petroleum equivalent Crude equivalent (via petroleum) Damage multiplier Crude / damage
Light oil ~0.667 ~0.684 110% ~0.622
Light oil w/ prod 3s ~0.867 ~0.579 110% ~0.526
Heavy oil 0.5 ~0.513 105% ~0.488
Heavy oil w/ prod 3s 0.845 ~0.565 105% ~0.534
Crude oil 0.975 1 100% 1
Crude oil w/ prod 3s 1.496625 1 100% 1

So purely from an economical perspective, heavy oil is usually ideal. If you have tier 3 productivity modules in all of your refineries then light oil comes out just ahead of heavy oil once you account for the damage bonus. That being said, since the damage dealt by flamethrowers is somewhat unpredictable (due to splash damage and fires that stay on the ground) the 'crude per damage' metric is not very accurate. So it's possible that heavy oil still comes out ahead. Either way, it's very close between the two. These conclusion holds even if you care only about crude oil production, not petroleum consumption, as long as your crude oil production is primarily determined by your petroleum consumption (as it is in most bases).

From a logistical perspective, crude oil is the easiest to use since you don't have to refine it first. Moreover, if you move heavy or light oil to remote outposts for defence (using trains) that might in some cases cause a shortage of heavy/light oil in your main base while your petroleum is full. If this happens your oil processing is blocked and you are unable to produce more heavy/light oil to fuel your turrets. This is probably a rare edge case, but if flamethrower turrets are your main defence it is worth considering.

So in conclusion:

  • Heavy oil is the most economical in the early game.
  • Light oil is probably slightly more economical than heavy oil if you have full level 3 productivity modules in all of your oil refineries once you account for the damage bonus. Though heavy oil is still a very close second. And given that damage output from flamethrowers is somewhat unpredictable, heavy oil might still come out ahead sometimes.
  • Cruse oil is the least economical and does the least damage but is the simplest in terms of logistics.
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  • Under different cost metrics, the best is different. OP asked for least crude, not least petroleum equivalent.
    – Caleth
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:15
  • @Caleth assuming your crude production is primarily determined by petroleum consumption (which it is for most factories), then using the least petroleum equivalent will lead to using the least crude.
    – JSQuareD
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 17:05

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