Nexen's upgrader turns out sweet crude oil

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Jan. 26 -- Nexen Inc.'s Long Lake, Alta., oil sands upgrader has started production.

The upgrader is expected to reach its full design production rate of 60,000 b/d of sweet crude within 12-18 months, Nexen said. As the upgrader ramps up to full capacity, the company expects routine downtime periods as it works through early production stages.

Sour crude is upgraded to light sweet crude oil and the asphaltenes are converted to a synthetic fuel gas. This gas is available as a low-cost fuel source and as a source for hydrogen required in the hydrocracker.

The gas will be burned in a cogeneration plant to produce steam for the oil sands assisted gravity drainage operations and for electricity to be used onsite and sold to the electric grid.

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