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WRI Hosts International Heavy Oil Upgrading Symposium

Western Research Institute joins the National Centre for Upgrading Technology (NCUT) in co-hosting the fourth Upgrading and Refining of Heavy Oil, Bitumen and Synthetic Crude Oil Conference September 25-27, 2006, in Edmonton, Ontario, Canada.

Every three years since 1997, NCUT has organized the conference on technology related to the development of Canada's oil sands bitumen and extra heavy crudes. This is the second year WRI and the U.S. Department of Energy have co-hosted with NCUT.

Since the last conference in 2003, however, rising crude oil prices and uncertainty about secure supplies from traditional producer countries has led to an explosion of proposed projects in Canada. With successful implementation, these developments will likely place the Canadian oil sands in the forefront of major world resources, with production reaching 5 million barrels daily or more.

The conference brings together experts from industry, government, universities and technology providers to discuss new developments and future needs in the upgrading of heavy oil, bitumen and synthetic crude oils. Interest this year has been high, and registration for attendance reached maximum capacity nearly a month before the event.

The conference will be opened by Dr. Soheil Asgarpour, Oil Sands Business Unit Leader from the Alberta Department of Energy and the director of the Strategic Centre for Natural Gas and Oil. From the U.S. Department of Energy will be Dr. Brad Tomer of the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

At the first session, "New Technologies for Bitumen Upgrading," Dr. Lee Brecher of WRI will summarize recent test results and present a plan to advance towards a demonstration plant for the WRITE (WRI Thermal Enhancement) Process. Dr. John Schabron of WRI will address the application of different techniques for monitoring the fouling tendency of different feedstocks during thermal treatment. Dr. Schabron will also serve as co-chair for the Day 3 sessions on processing equipment fouling.


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