Achieving Maximum Value from Every Molecule of the Barrel in a Low-carbon Environment

2019 has been a pivotal year in the global movement for climate action. Widespread climate rallies have not only reached peak turnout in worldwide history, but have also pushed the climate crisis to the forefront of global dialogue.

A recent poll surveying citizens in the U.K., Canada, Germany, Italy, Brazil, France, Poland and the U.S. found that an overwhelming majority recognize the climate crisis as an emergency that calls for immediate action (The Guardian). Amongst the public outcry, climate advocates are demanding politicians to table policy to cut carbon emissions, while global institutional investors are scaling back their investments in highly carbon intensive industries.

Graphic Source: The Guardian

While it is fair to say that energy producers have played a role in the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental focus of society does not necessarily have to be at odds with the objectives of the oil and gas industry.

Technology is the path forward

As the demand for oil continues to grow and society remains dependant on oil and gas, investing in and scaling up low-carbon technologies is crucial to transition to a lower-carbon future.

At Well, we understand society’s changing attitude towards carbon emissions and are devoted to delivering clean energy solutions. Our petroleum residue treatment technology, SELEX-Asp, maximizes the yield and economics of producing clean oil from heavy oil, which can then be sent to lower energy-intensive refining processes to produce cleaner, low sulfur consumer grade fuels.

The novelty of SELEX-Asp lies in its unique ability to efficiently and selectively reject the highest carbon intensity molecules, known as asphaltenes, from heavy oil fractions in the form of solid granules. Overall, this is more environmentally friendly and economical than conventional residue treatment processes that require specialty catalysts or extreme operating conditions.

Furthermore, a recent discovery into understanding the properties of solid, dry, granular asphaltenes has led to non-combustion applications of asphaltenes. Granular asphaltenes have characteristics similar to activated carbon, and are an effective adsorption material and method for treating pollutants, and can also be used as feedstock for producing various carbon materials.

By implementing SELEX-Asp and turning its petroleum residue by-products into environmentally friendly and high value-added materials, we can truly maximize every molecule of the barrel while making a sustainable impact on the environment.

Commercial adoption of SELEX-Asp has been increasing throughout the Asia-Pacific as regulatory bodies propose low-carbon development strategies to reduce emissions. Meanwhile, major oil and gas giants have all committed to investing in low-carbon technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remain competitive.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, ultimately addressing a major challenge like climate change requires a united industry-wide effort and society-wide approach.

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What is
Take Control?

Take Control is Well's insight 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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