Processing Challenges with Tight Oil

AIChE Webinar
Originally delivered Jun 4, 2014

This presentation provides insight into processing challenges with tight oil. Opportunity crudes from shale are more readily available in North America with incentives on cost. However, these typically lighter tight oil crudes don’t come without some processing challenges.

Some of the challenges include high variability in API gravity, H2S entrained in the crude, paraffin waxes, filterable solids, crude incompatibilities from blending, and balancing the intermediate cut point yields for downstream utilization.  Fouling and heat exchanger monitoring is one of the biggest changes in operations.

Many refiners use a spreadsheet with monthly calculations, and then manual checks on individual bundles prior to a turnaround to determine if cleaning is required.  The traditional approach to monitor heat exchanger fouling through spreadsheets with manual entry of temperatures that are not in the DCS makes it difficult to identify which crude blends are incompatible, thus the same condition for accelerated fouling may likely be repeated in the future.  

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