Heavy Oil Upgrading Process by KBR

Application: Process designed for upgrading heavy oils including the Athabasca bitumen into a easily transportable synthetic crude oil.

Description: This process uses various proven and established refining technologies.

Bitumen with diluent is brought to the upgrader. The diluent is recovered in the diluent recovery unit (DRU) and returned to the production site. The bottom of the DRU is sent to a high deasphalted oil lift ROSE solvent deasphalting unit. The DAO is then sent to a special purpose Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU). The FCCU operates at low conversion, normally between 30% and 60% and uses low cost low activity catalyst.

The metals in DAO are rejected with the spent catalyst. The carbon (CCR) is burnt in regenerator to produce steam. The FCCU products can be blended into synthetic crude oil. Alternately the products can be hydrotreated to produce low-sulfur synthetic crude oil. Steam produced in the FCCU is used within the complex. The asphaltenes from ROSE unit can be pelletized using KBR’s AQUAFORM pelletizing technology for ease of transportation to end users. Alternately the asphaltenes can be gasified to produce hydrogen, steam and power for bitumen production and upgrading.

Applications: This scheme can be used for upgrading of bitumen and other heavy and very heavy oils.

KBR has performed extensive pilot plant testing to confirm the viability of the scheme. Given below are pilot test results for KBR’s ROSE portion of the scheme.

ROSE pilot results:
Feed: Athabasca Bitumen
Feed Solvents DAO yield, vol.% CCR in DAO, wt.%
Full nC4 to C6 70–82 7–10
ATB C3 to nC5 40–87 1–9
VTB iC4 to nC5 17–65 5–14

The synthetic crude oil of following composition can be produced by the above scheme:
C5-350°F: 15–30 vol.%
Distillate: 40–65 vol.%
Gas oil: 20–30 vol.%

Licensor: KBR.