December 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm #2439
Heavy oil could significantly increase refinery emissions: study
Washington (Platts)–30Nov2010/533 pm EST/2233 GMT
Switching to heavy oil or oil sands could significantly increase refinery emissions because more must be consumed to process the oil, according to a study released Tuesday.
Crude quality “is driving differences in processing intensity and energy intensity per barrel and emissions per barrel,” Greg Karras, the study’s author, said in an interview.
“It’s pretty clear there are limits to conventional, easy to find crude,” and that a significant percentage of crude “is coming from tar sands and heavy sources,” said Karras, senior scientist with the California-based Communities for a Better Environment.
The study was published in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology.
“Fuel combustion increments predict that a switch to heavy oil and tar sands could double or triple refinery emissions and add 1.6-3.7 gigatons (billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually,” the study said.
The physical and chemical properties of the lower quality, heavier, more contaminated oil “predict the combustion of more fuel for the energy necessary to convert them for product slates dominated by light hydrocarbon liquids,” it said.
The study analyzes refinery crude inputs, processing, fuel combustion supplying energy for that processing and resultant emissions among the four largest US refining regions from 1999-2008.
“Crude feed density and sulfur content could predict 94% of processing intensity, 90% of energy intensity and 85% of CO2 emissions intensity differences observed among regions and years, and drove a 39% increase in emissions,” the study said. In other words, the heavier and more contaminated the crude going into refineries, the more energy that is needed for processing, and the greater the emissions.
Preliminary estimates from fuel cycle analysis suggest that a switch to “heavy oil and tar sands could increase the greenhouse gas intensity of petroleum energy by as much as 17-40% with oil extraction and processing rather than tailpipe emissions accounting for the increment,” the study said. “This raises the possibility that a switch to these oils might impede or foreclose the total reduction in emissions from all sources that is needed to avoid severe climate disruptions.”
Estimates of process-by process allocations among emissions from the various factors that affect emissions have not benefited from observations of operating refineries because “industry does not publicly report material input quality,” the study said.
“Better facility-level oil quality data could improve local-scale pollution assessment,” it concluded. “Better crude quality predictions could improve energy and climate protection forecasts. Assessment of the need, scope and timing for transition to sustainable energy should account for emissions from lower quality oil.”
December 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm #5376
Do you buy the estimate heavy oil raises Energy cost by 17-40% for oil recovery phase? I thought SAGD was at or below the 17% number because of all truck fuel backed out as well as the heat that was needed to remove the tar…..and the additional energy needed to move all rock back to minesite via slurry?? Also they seem to be factoring in the higher heat level that is needed for heavy vs conventional crude processing – most balances there is substantial amount of that that gets recaptured in the heat exchangers just like in coker unit compared to other processes and so the net increase isn’t as high (would be lot lower if coker gas had better BTU control and Nat Gas could be backed out critical Coker furnace to avoid higher level coking).
The way they write this crap up is as though there was an alternate to use conventional oil (although think lot of Bakken fits closer to WTI than Bitumen blend). Maybe with at least one house conserative it can break this log-jam that the environmental’s, EPA & Liberal’s have put in place to kill off Heavy oil production & movement into US.
The other stupid belief the environmental’s have is that if US doesnt get it then it wont get processed – they are just shoving more jobs out US & increasing the downturn in capacity because it will go to China/Asia if it doesnt and at a hell of lot more energy waste & environmental emissions than if it was processed in US.
Why do Oil industry continue to let crap like this go thru unchallenged? It is an obvious call for more “environmental study on energy cost/funding on unit by unit basis’ by anti-industry environmental groups …. so they can have better data to kill off process one by one like the MTBE & HF Alky unit and drive gasoline production cost even higher!
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