MANUAL Published: 29 April 2013

Heavy-Oil Processing


With the prospects of declining conventional crude oil reserves and large reserves of heavy crudes scattered around the world, there is increasing interest in efficient processing of heavy oils defined with respect to API gravity, viscosity, and mobility at the field conditions. Because of these properties and the complexity of their chemical constitution, heavy oils present challenges for analysis and upgrading into light distillates that have large demands. A common approach for analyzing the heavy oil to guide selection of the optimum processing paths and processing conditions calls for integrated schemes in both tracks. For analysis, an integration of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques helps in obtaining as detailed information as possible generating data ultimately on the molecular composition of heavy oils. On the processing side, an integration of carbon rejection (solvent separation and thermal treatment) and hydrogen addition (catalytic hydrogenation and hydrocracking) and heteroatom removal (hydrotreating) offers viable means of upgrading for transportation over long distances and conversion into light distillates. This chapter provides an overview of current analytical techniques and upgrading processes used to address the formidable challenges of bringing the heavy oils into the refineries and to the marketplace.

Author Information

Eser, Semih
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, US
Guitian, Jose
Repsol S. A., Madrid, ES
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Developed by Committee: D02
Pages: 177–195
DOI: 10.1520/MNL5820131212008
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-8681-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7022-3