SELEX-Asp: The Commercially Proven Process for Removing Oil Impurities


The first commercial SELEX-Asp unit, which was commissioned in 2009 with a capacity of 500 bpd. (Well Resources Inc.)

This article is intended to provide a high-level overview of SELEX-Asp: Well Resources' commercially proven process for removing impurities from oil.


While this article focuses primarily on the application of SELEX-Asp from the Canadian perspective, 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 the additional valuable product.

As a result, at least 50% more oil can be transported in already existing infrastructure.

Asphaltenes are undesirable for refiners because they cause operational problems.

Refiners require expensive, specialized equipment to process crudes with high asphaltenes content.

Canadian bitumen is sold at a steep discount to offset high processing costs.

​Once asphaltenes are removed via the SELEX-Asp process, the remaining oil can be processed in conventional refineries.

As a result, processing costs dramatically decrease and the remaining clean oil can be sold at a premium.

Only select refineries in the US Midwest and Gulf Coast are configured 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, allowing Canadian crude to better compete globally.

About Well Resources

Well Resources is an Alberta-based technology company with local offices in Calgary and Edmonton. Its areas of focus are in the energy and life sciences sectors, where Well Resources develops and licenses green technologies that promote effective resource utilization.


What is
Well Insights?

Well Insights is a series that addresses subjects relevant to civil society, governments, and industry. The discussions focus on rethinking the way we approach difficult issues and providing transformative solutions as they all relate to the topic of effective resource utilization.

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