This article is intended to provide a high-level overview of SELEX-Asp: Well's commercially proven process for removing impurities from oil. This article focuses primarily on the simplified SELEX-Asp value proposition from the Canadian perspective, but the benefits of the technology are not limited to those listed below. In this article, we aim to further improve the public understanding of SELEX-Asp's breakthrough impact on a threefold scale:
Bitumen is a complex mixture of oil and asphaltenes. Asphaltenes make the oil sticky and difficult to flow.
For bitumen to be transported by pipeline, it needs to be mixed with 30-40% diluent.
By selectively removing asphaltenes using the SELEX-Asp process, the remaining oil can be transported by pipeline using less than 10% diluent.
The pipeline space previously occupied by asphaltenes and diluent can be used to transport additional valuable product.
As a result, at least 50% more oil can be transported in already existing infrastructure.
Asphaltenes are bad for refiners because they cause operational problems.
Refiners need expensive, specialized equipment to handle crudes with high asphaltenes content.
Canadian bitumen is sold at a heavy discount to offset high processing costs.
Once asphaltenes are removed using the SELEX-Asp process, the remaining oil can be processed in conventional refineries.
As a result, processing costs dramatically decrease and the oil can be sold at a premium.
Only select refineries in the US Midwest and Gulf Coast can handle Canadian bitumen.
By removing asphaltenes early in the value chain using the SELEX-Asp process, Canadian producers are no longer constrained in only exporting to refineries that have specialized equipment.
New markets are unlocked which allows Canadian crude to better compete in the open market.
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