Shell International Exploration and Production Inc., and Western Research Institute (WRI) of Laramie, Wyoming have entered into a three-year, $1.12 million applied research and development program to advance WRI technologies for characterizing asphaltene components in heavy oil.
Asphaltenes, which have been called the “cholesterol of heavy oil,” can cause deposits and fouling during production, pipeline transport and refinery processing. WRI’s new Asphaltene Determinator is a patented automated technique that rapidly identifies and separates the asphaltenic components of oil into subfractions to improve heavy oil properties and market value.
“We are pleased and proud to embark on this important work with a global industry leader like Shell” said WRI’s vice president for Transportation Technology Jean-Pascal Planche. “This is a research success story that started in the laboratory and is moving into commercial use.”
WRI’s technologies provide insights that can help improve production and processing efficiencies, which in turn can maximize the output of marketable petroleum product. “This should help our partner, Shell, meet some of its long-term strategic goals,” said Planche.
WRI is a nonprofit research and technology development organization that works with commercial, government, and university research partners to develop energy technologies such as clean coal, valued-added coal conversion, power plant emissions control, hydrogen and heavy oil technologies, and new methods to characterize and extend the life of asphalt highway materials.
Shell is a worldwide provider of innovative energy technologies, catalysts, research and development expertise, and business and operational consulting services to the oil and gas, petrochemical production, and other processing industries.
Representatives of Shell and WRI gathered at WRI headquarters to discuss a new three-year cooperative research program. Pictured (left to right) are Frans Van den Berg (Shell), Joe Rovani (WRI), Don Collins (WRI), Carl Mesters (Shell), John Schabron (WRI), Jean-Pascal Planche (WRI), and Jeramie Adams (WRI).