Carbon dioxide emissions from heavy oil production are typically higher than that of producing conventional crudes. Ultimately, carbon dioxide emissions can make heavy oil production less competitive if regulated. Carbon dioxide emission regulations will affect the overall economics of heavy oil production and upgrading. The additional carbon dioxide gas emissions from heavy oil production, when compared to conventional crude oils, come from the additional energy that is typically needed for heavy oil extraction processes. A heavy oil upgrading process test facility, currently in operation at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), has the capability to extract and upgrade heavy oil while producing a capture ready concentrated stream of carbon dioxide gas. The heavy oil upgrading process being demonstrated is a thermal cracking process, which is capable of directly providing the energy needed for extraction. Extraction will be done by steam assist gravity drain (SAGD). This process utilizes a fluidized bed process similar to that of a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC). Using oxygen combustion in the regeneration step, it is possible to generate a concentrated stream of capture ready carbon dioxide.
This presentation will examine and describe an alternative heavy oil upgrading process, currently being demonstrated, for carbon dioxide capture. It will also evaluate similar traditional heavy oil upgrading processes from literature that utilize oxygen combustion techniques.
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