February 2015

Special Report: Clean Fuels

Consider the pros and cons when importing heavy oil for cokers

The recent shift to lighter crudes has starved many US heavy oil units of feed. Maximizing asset use makes importing heavy oil for vacuum distillation and delayed coking attractive.

Economics continue to strongly favor refining light crudes in the US. However, over the last 20 years, US refiners invested in heavy oil conversion capacity. These investments included improved vacuum distillation capability and increased delayed coking capacity. The recent shift to lighter crudes has starved many US heavy oil units of feed. Maximizing asset use makes importing heavy oil for vacuum distillation and delayed coking attractive. While attractive, heavy oil imports must be properly evaluated for economics and technical requirements. Many of the heavy oil streams have lower delayed coker yields and cause more coking problems. Unloading and handling facilities must be able to hand

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