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North West Upgrading awards KBR LCFining prefab

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 30 -- Privately owned North West Upgrading Inc., Calgary, has awarded KBR a $275 million (Can.) contract to construct and fabricate an LCFining processing system for the heavy-oil upgrader it is building 45 km northeast of Edmonton in Sturgeon County, Alta.

KBR will prefabricate 40 modules to be assembled later. This phase of the project is expected to take 30 months.

The LCFining technology is being supplied by Chevron Lummus Global LLC (CLG)—a 50-50 joint venture of Chevron USA Inc. and ABB Lummus Global. CLG is providing the engineering package, including reactor design, follow-up technical support during detailed engineering design, training prior to start-up, ICR catalysts, and start-up support during commissioning of the upgrader (OGJ, Nov. 27, 2006, Newsletter).

The upgrader, which will produce light, low-sulfur products such as ultralow-sulfur diesel and diluent, will have a total processing capacity of 231,000 b/d of blended feedstock over three phases. It will have an initial design capacity to process 77,000 b/d of bitumen blend, with two subsequent 77,000 b/d expansions planned for the future.

Site preparation has begun for the $2.4 billion first phase. All three phases are expected to be operating by 2016.

UOP LLC, Des Plaines, Ill., was awarded design and licensing of a hydroprocessing unit for the facility (OGJ, Aug. 15, 2005, Newsletter). This integrated distillate Unionfining and Unicracking unit will produce a synthetic crude oil blend. It will have parallel reactors for hydrotreating naphtha and distillate-range feedstock and partial conversion hydrocracking of distillate and vacuum gas oil-range feedstock. A common section will stabilize reactor effluent and compress recycle gas.

"An important element of [the upgrader is its] use of gasification to make hydrogen from the heaviest components of the bitumen, and its carbon capture-ready design," said North West.

The company also said it has concluded a commercial arrangement to sell carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery, thereby sequestering most of its greenhouse gas emissions.


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