Engineering News

Russia Registers Heavy Crude Upgrading Patent - Pemex
Monday, July 14, 2008

Russia has become the first country to register a Mexican patent for a new technique to upgrade heavy grades of crude oil, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said in a statement.

The technology, developed by the Instituto Mexicano del Petroleo, or IMP, adds hydrogen to heavy grades of crude and removes contaminants such as sulfur and metal particles. The IMP has also asked Venezuela, Australia, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Japan, Singapore, the European Union and Mexico to register the patent.

"The result of the petition in these countries is still pending," Pemex said in the statement.

The IMP has named the technology Catalytic Hydrotreating of Heavy Petroleum Hydrocarbons, and says it is more efficient than competing technologies for upgrading heavy crudes.

The IMP says its technology can turn 100 barrels of extra-heavy 13 API crude into 104 barrels of lighter, upgraded crude. Meanwhile, a similar technology known as delayed coking turns 100 barrels of 13 gravity API crude into 80 barrels up upgraded oil.

The gravity of crude oils is measured according to the American Petroleum Institute's formula, where lower numbers mean a heavier blend.

Mexico is looking to install crude upgrading facilities in its domestic refining network, which can only process crudes with a gravity of 21 API or higher at present. Much of Mexico's new production from Ku-Maloob-Zaap, a group of offshore fields that produces around 25% of total Mexican production, has and API rating of 13 or lower.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires

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