top of page

Partial refining of heavy oils to facilitate pipeline transportation

In the energy industry, boilers with supercritical parameters have been used for many years to increase efficiency. For high power capacities (600-1000 MW), established references are available.


In recent years, smaller-capacity (10-50 MW) boilers have also appeared, in a container-type, mobile designs, which can be easily transported to the place of operation. The equipment was designed for pressures greater than the supercritical steam pressures of 22.1 MPa (35-40 MPa) and higher water temperatures (600 to 650 ° C).


At the request of one of our oil industry partners, we are designing and developing a surface heavy oil conversion pipe reactor operating on the basis of these supercritical water boilers.


The purpose of the tube reactor is to convert the heavy oil extracted by a thermal method into a good quality lighter oil (API 24+) so that the resulting oil is suitable for pipeline transportation without the use of a solvents.


At a temperature of 475 ° C, and by using a suitable catalyst over a reaction time of 9.6 minutes in the tube reactor, the heavy oil mixed with supercritical water is converted to a lighter oil of transportable quality. The solution significantly reduces the carbon footprint of heavy oil transportation.


It is a great challenge to find materials that can withstand this high temperature even at such high pressures. In the case of steam parameters of 40 MPa and 650 ° C and above, this task can only be solved by cooperation with a reputable manufacturer. The Swedish company SANDVIK is our material supply partner for the tube reactor project.

bottom of page