Shale Oils such as Eagle Ford and Bakken are fast becoming a major feed source for US refineries. The rapid introduction of shale oils to the refinery crude slate has come with interesting consequences for the fluid catalytic cracking unit. While shale oils are generally light, sweet and easy to crack, quality can vary greatly, and shale derived feedstocks can contain sediments with high levels of iron and alkali metals. To aid refiners in understanding the implications of shale oil, this presentation provides a detailed feed analysis and cracking studies of a representative Bakken shale oil and its fractions compared to a typical Mid-Continent vacuum gasoil. These results aid in understanding how best to optimize operations and maximize FCC value. A key element in this optimization is appropriate catalyst selection to overcome some of the challenges commonly associated with processing shale oil.
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