January 2006

Refining Developments

Convert oil sands into distillate cost-effectively

New hydrocracking methods upgrades bitumen into low-sulfur diesel

Okui, T., Shigehisa, T., Tamura, M., Yasumuro, M., Kobe Steel Ltd.; Yui, S., Syncrude Canada Ltd.

Demand for energy remains robust even at high crude oil prices. Oil sands are new hydrocarbon resources that can be converted into high-quality (low-sulfur) distillates for refining and petrochemical applications. With crude oil prices above $60/bbl, oil sands bitumen is a viable resource that can be refined. New slurry phase hydrocracking and two-step hydrotreating developments have proven to be very successful in upgrading Athabasca oil sands bitumen into low-sulfur, high-cetane distillates. The produced refinery-grade naphtha and heavy gasoil can be readily used as a feed to the catalytic reformer and fluid catalytic cracking unit. Slurry-phase hydrocracking. This new methodology is well

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