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Honeywell Licenses Slurry Hydrocracking Technology to Upgrade Oil Sands Bitumen and Heavy Crude

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has expanded its portfolio of technologies to help refiners produce clean gasoline from heavier crude oil with a new slurry hydrocracking process based on a technology licensed from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

The new process is designed to upgrade bitumen, a heavy, tar-like, highly contaminated oil derived from oil sands commonly found in Canada, Venezuela and the United States, as well as other heavy, highly contaminated feeds found in other parts of South America and the Middle East.

Oil sands, also known as tar sands, are a mixture of sand, water, clay, and bitumen. The bitumen extracted from oil sands is nearly in solid form, making it difficult and expensive to process into gasoline, diesel fuel and other products, and many of these heavy crude oils contain high concentrations of metals such as nickel and vanadium as well as complex hydrocarbons that make conventional processing methods uneconomic. UOP’s slurry hydrocracking process utilizes a slurry catalyst to upgrade bitumen and heavy crudes to lighter distillates that can then be used to produce clean gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel.

UOP’s slurry hydrocracking technology is based on a technology originally developed by NRCan. It was further developed and proven commercially viable at the Petro-Canada facility in Montreal over a 15-year period starting in 1985. High availability of cost-effective lighter crudes at that time left little demand for the technology, but feedstock availability is now shifting. The volume of non-OPEC heavy crude supplied to the market increased 23% between 2000 and 2004 while the volume of light crude oil dropped 10% over that same period.

According to the US Energy Information Association, roughly 80% of the world’s bitumen is located in Canada. Independent energy industry consultant Purvin & Gertz predicts that bitumen-derived synthetic crude oil production will increase from the approximately one million barrels per day (bpd) produced today to four million bpd by 2015.

UOP’s residue upgrading portfolio currently includes a wide range of solutions to convert petroleum residues to ultra-clean gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. UOP has licensed more than 200 hydrocracking units and residue hydrotreaters worldwide, with more than 120 in production today.



great, more CO2 from our neighbor Alberta! As if their hulking big suv's and trucks weren't hurting enough.

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