HYDROCARBON PUBLISHING COMPANY
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A member of the Hydrocarbon Analytics Group
OPPORTUNITY CRUDES: TECHNICAL CHALLENGES AND ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Publication date:May 2006
Comprehensive analysis on processing unconventional crudes at petroleum refineries.
For refiners around the world, processing the least expensive crudes (or opportunity crudes) is the "holy grail" to prepare them for any situations, as the refining business is cyclical and at the mercy of many uncontrollable factors such as oil prices, economic conditions, and governmental regulations. Since crude cost represents about 80% of an oil refinery's operational costs, it is imperative to have a good control in order to maintain healthy margins and stay competitive for the long term.
This 1,000-page study is the only in-depth report in the market identifying and analyzing the latest technologies to process high acid crudes (HACs) and bottom-of-the-barrel (BOB) derived from heavy sour crudes, and extra-heavy oil produced from oilsands in Canada and Venezuela.
What about HACs and BOB?
Major benefits of processing HACs and BOB are availability and cost. Acid crudes represent the fastest-growing segment of global oil production. Areas like California, Brazil, North Sea, Russia, China, India, and West Africa are known to supply high acid crudes. Also, oilsands-derived syncrudes are deemed highly acidic.
Over half of the world's oil supply nowadays is heavy and sour. Almost all of heavy oils produced in recent years have been either medium sour or fully sour. The trend of crude becoming heavier and more sour will remain the same in the longer term despite new discoveries in West Africa and the Caspian Sea.
Due to lack of HACs and BOB processing capacity by many refineries around the world and the need to produce light products, high-quality crudes are often in high demand resulting in abundant supply and significant discounts for opportunity crudes.
How to handle HACs and BOB
Opportunity crudes have the potential to provide significant economic benefits for refiners if they can overcome many technical challenges countering the adverse impacts of high acid crudes and improving conventional resid upgrading technologies.
Our new report identifies and analyzes the latest technologies and operational practices, and selects "technology winners" for various refinery environs. We also assess economic benefits according to projects for future supply of opportunity crudes, price discounts, residual fuel oil demand, refinery upgrading costs, and product demand mix and specifications of ultra-clean motor gasoline and middle distillates.
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Keywords: bitumen, bottom-of-the-barrel, catalysts and technology for resid or heavy oil processing, coking, coking, environment, extra heavy oil, extra heavy oil, heavy sour crude, high acid crude, oil sand, opportunity crude, refinery crude oil choice or selection, refinery handbook for processing heavy or high-acid crude oils, refinery processing units, resid, resid hydrocracking, resid hydroprocessing, resid hydrotreating, resid or residue fluid catalytic cracking or RFCC, solvent extraction and deasphalting, sources of unconventional crude oil, tarsands, visbreaking