Diluent is an essential part to the Canadian heavy oil industry. It allows oil companies to get their heavy oil out to market for export, it allows oil profits to flow to investors and allows for continued growth and investment in the Alberta energy industry.
“Diluent is a diluting or thinning agent and it’s vital to the health of the Alberta oil sands. That is because the bitumen that makes up Canada’s oil sands is too viscous or thick to be pumped through a pipeline. At cold temperatures, bitumen has the viscosity that would be comparable to a thick molasses. By heavily diluting the bitumen with diluent, the oil can more easily flow through pipelines to be refined and sold.
The typical or primary diluent for the oil sands is natural gas condensate, though some midstream companies, or those shipping the product, can use refined naphtha or synthetic crude oil as a dilutent. Condensate is the product of choice due to its abundance in North America, as many energy companies have focused on drilling for higher value natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane. These higher value gas liquid wells typically produce a fair amount of condensate, which is also known as natural gasoline. However, even though condensate is plentiful, it is very expensive relative to the sale price of a heavy barrel of oil.
Without some form of dilutent Alberta`s heavy oil cannot get to market. Heavy oil producers are required to purchase condensate or find a different way of diluting the oil or making the oil better suited to be transported by pipeline
Enter Expander Energy Inc., a private Alberta based technology company providing innovative solutions for the energy industry. Expander has engineered the patented FT Crude process to upgrade heavy oil and bitumen into a synthetic heavy crude which is able to be transported via pipeline without the requirements of a diluent blend. In addition, the Expander technology can convert the remaining bottom ends, or left-over bi-product from the upgrading process, into a more valuable synthetic diesel.
To learn more about Expander Energy:
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