Olive residues were pyrolysed in a fixed bed reactor under different pyrolysis conditions to determine the role of final temperature, sweeping gas flow rate and steam velocity on the product yields and liquid product composition with a heating rate of 7 degrees C/min. Final temperature range studied was between 400 and 700 degrees C and the highest liquid product yield was obtained at 500 degrees C. Liquid product yield increased significantly under nitrogen and steam atmospheres. Liquid products obtained under the most suitable conditions were characterised by elemental analyses, FT-IR and H-1-NMR. In addition, column chromatography was employed and the yields of the sub-fractions were calculated. Gas chromatography was achieved on n-pentane fractions. The results show that it is possible to obtain liquid products similar to petroleum from olive residue if the pyrolysis conditions are chosen accordingly. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.