As noted in previous E&MJ reviews of the oil sands industry, transport systems for both synthetic crude oil
and diluted bitumen ("dilbit") from northern Alberta to refineries in the USA and in other parts of Canada have the potential to place constraints on output, especially as production capacity continues to grow.
In the final stage, the refining unit, the wax can either be converted to a liquid synthetic crude oil
, which can be shipped and refined elsewhere, or made into finished fuels like ultra-clean diesel, gasoline, and aviation fuel with additional refining units.
Byron Elton, CEO of Carbon Sciences, said, 'The company's CarbonCrude solution was developed for a small scale GTL operation that can convert oil field natural gas into CarbonCrude, our version of an ultra-clean and environmentally friendly synthetic crude oil
. CarbonCrude can then be blended with natural crude oil from the field and transported to market using existing oil pipelines.
Agri-Plas takes discarded and unwanted plastic and converts it into synthetic crude oil
. Plastic products include dirty agricultural film, greenhouse cover, mixed nursery and jug material, prepackaged food containers and lids, and other low- or zero-value plastics too dirty to economically bring to a higher value through normal recycling efforts.
Neither author confronts the fundamental insanity and immorality of burning so much natural gas to steam out and upgrade the tarlike bitumen into synthetic crude oil
, where further expansion of the tar sands would require all the Arctic natural, gas from the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline in the Northwest Territories and eventually all the Arctic natural gas from the Alaska gas pipeline.
If the bitumen is upgraded to synthetic crude oil
, the GDP contribution doubles to $50 billion.
Tar sands production "is incompatible with meeting (Canada's) Kyoto commitments to reduce greenhouse gases," said the Kairos study, adding that the process of extracting oil and upgrading bitumen into synthetic crude oil
"consumes a huge amount of water and natural gas."
After bitumen is extracted, it will be processed in Edmonton to produce 130,000 barrels of light sweet synthetic crude oil
per day before 2015.
Once separated from the sand, the bitumen is still a low-grade, heavy fossil fuel that must undergo an energy-intensive process to upgrade it into a synthetic crude oil
more like conventional crude, either by adding hydrogen or removing carbon.
The process involves the conversion of natural gas into synthetic crude oil
and other hydrocarbon products.
Also, the shortage of high quality cobalt and thorium catalysts for the conversion of the starting materials to synthetic crude oil
led to the use of low activity nickel as a catalyst.
The operation will produce extra-heavy crude oil from the Zuata region of the oil belt, transport that crude to a facility to be constructed at Jose, and transform it into synthetic crude oil
with associated by-products of LPG, sulfur, petroleum coke, and heavy-gas oil.