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Heavy Oil and the Downstream–Beyond API and Sulfur


Earnest, Neil K.1, Ken Cowell2 (1) Muse, Stancil & Co, Addison, TX (2) Muse, Stancil & Co, London, United Kingdom


In several regions of the world, there are real prospects for significantly higher pro­duction volumes of heavy crude. By its very nature, heavy crude is much more difficult for refiners to process than the lighter grades that comprise the bulk of the world’s crude pro­duction. Accordingly, issues arise concerning the capability of the refiners in these regions to process the higher production volumes of heavy crude.

The presentation will introduce the topic by briefly characterizing the key differences, from a refiner’s perspective, of heavy crude from its lighter competitors. Next, the crucial refinery processing issues concerning heavy crude will be discussed. These issues include managing the higher sulfur, nitrogen, and metals content of heavy crudes as well as other concerns that frequently apply when processing heavy crude. In addition, the implications for the refiner of processing heavy crude on their desired refined product slate will be examined. Finally, observations will be offered regarding the potential to inte­grate upstream and downstream heavy oil projects to optimize capital and operating cost across the total value chain.