Delayed coking schemes are most economical for heavy-oil upgrading

A recent study evaluated different processing schemes to produce synthetic crude oil (SCO) from heavy crudes, such as Canadian oil sands. The price spread between SCO and heavy oil can vary depending on the upgrading scheme-from more than $10/bbl to almost $37/bbl.The study found that schemes involving delayed coking show the best economics. Hydrogen-addition schemes give a combination of high product rates and good quality. As expected, at higher fuel costs hydrogen generation through gasification of coke or pitch becomes attractive, especially for the lower-SCO value cases.When planning for capital expenditures on heavy-oil upgrading projects, one must properly account for the product v...

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