Technology: Upstream

FlexUp™ is a novel, catalytic process that offers the disruptive ability to upgrade heavy-sour crude oil, providing an increase in value as high as 5% -20%. FlexUp is an innovative leap in upgrading technology that operates at much lower costs than existing upgrading processes. Because FlexUp has a small footprint, oil producers can field upgrade heavy-sour oil while drastically improving their economics. FlexUp has been proven to be effective on many heavy-sour crude oils as well as bitumen and coal liquefaction products.

Increase API gravity. Increasing API gravity can increase the value of a crude by 5% to 20%. For example, raising oil sands bitumen API from 10 to 20 eliminates the need for diluent and can provide a revenue boost of $10-$20/bbl. Other heavy crudes will see benefits closer to the 5%-10% range.

Sulfur Reduction. Sulfur levels above 1% get discounted 2%-5% depending on many factors. FlexUp can target and achieve specific sulfur levels depending on the desired quality of crude oil, increasing the overall value of the oil.

TAN Reduction. For heavy-sour feeds that have naphthenic acid levels in the 3%-4% range, producers are forced to sell their crude at a discounted rate. Removing TAN not only increases value but allows crudes to be sold to a larger portion of the refinery market, not just complex refineries that are able to process high TAN.

Metals and nitrogen reduction. Crude with high metals and nitrogen content is discounted along with other entrained contaminants. While the life of the FlexUp catalyst is not reduced by contact with these heteroatoms, metals and nitrogen have an adverse effect on other catalytic processes downstream. FlexUp™ treated crude oil will allow the refiners to achieve longer catalyst life and reduced process intensity, thus increasing the value of the crude oil.

FlexULS™ is a derivative of the FlexUp process but delivers superior sulfur and nitrogen polishing. Crudes or transmix inventory with sulfur levels as high as 2,000 parts per million (PPM) can be reduced to below 10 PPM sulfur through this simple adsorption process. Unlike other technologies, no hydrogen infrastructure is required.

Naphthenic acid removal. Some crude oils suffer only from high naphthenic acid levels but have low sulfur where the full upgrading capability of FlexUp is not beneficial. For those feeds, Auterra has developed TANFree™ which will reduce naphthenic acidity down below low TAN specifications. The process was originally developed for bitumen but is readily used on other high TAN oils.

Please contact Auterra to learn more about these processes.