Uinta basin cat cracker project taking shape

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 24
-- The Uinta basin’s high pour point crudes may soon get a processing unit in the Vernal, Utah, area that would increase netbacks to producers and improve air quality in the federal attainment area.

Uintah Partners LLC, Park City, Utah, plans to start construction within 12 months of a cat cracker and associated units at a site 10 miles south of Fort Duchesne. There was no firm indication when the plant might start up.

The 40,000 b/d unit would upgrade yellow and black wax crudes from numerous fields in the basin and could be expanded to 90,000 b/d if successful.

The integrated project also involves talks with numerous producing and transportation entities that could result in the shift of large volumes of produced and upgraded crude to pipeline shipment and away from trucks.

Producers are drilling hundreds of oil wells per year in Monument Butte, Altamont, Brundage Canyon, and other fields (OGJ, Jan. 3, 2011, p. 47). Much of the upgraded crude would go by pipeline to North Salt Lake City refiners, which are at or near capacity, and Uintah Partners is exploring other pipeline links and markets for the burgeoning production.

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