July 2013

Special Report: Refinery of the Future

Innovative solutions for processing shale oils

New monitoring protocols can provide advance warning of any negative aspects of shale oil processing, thus enabling the refiner to take corrective measures early.

Sandu, C., Wright, B., Baker Hughes

The refining of shale oil (also known as tight oil) extracted through fracturing from fields such as Eagle Ford, Utica and Bakken has become prevalent in many areas of the US. Although these oils are appealing as refinery feedstocks due to their availability and low cost, processing can be more difficult. The quality of the shale oils is highly variable. These oils can be high in solids with high melting point waxes. The light paraffinic nature of shale oils can lead to asphaltene destabilization when blended with heavier crudes. These compositional factors have resulted in cold preheat train fouling, desalter upsets, and fouling of hot preheat exchangers and furnaces. Problems in

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