The world’s reserves of light, sweet crude are depleted. Most new Crude Oil finds, as well as production in many countries is now of Heavy and Extra-Heavy (API below 10-grade) oil.
These heavy Oils pose a significant challenge to Oil producers and refineries. They are not only hard to extract, , but the increased specific weight and higher viscosity make the handling, transportation and refining of these hydrocarbons more difficult, thus impacting the Oil companies bottom lines.
Extra Heavy crude, for instance, although still a valuable resource, cannot be readily processed in refineries and many producers resort to blending this material with lighter fractions (naphtha or gasoline) in order to be able to sell it in international markets, as a lighter crude. This is a very expensive solution.
IONTEK has developed a process to increase the value of Heavy Crudes, that is based on our patent-pending Cavitation Reactors. The process acts in a similar way to Hydro-Cracking, but at much lower temperatures and pressures. The Cavitation reaction cracks the high molecular weight hydrocarbons, such as asphaltenes, to create lower molecular weight (oleofinic and aromatic) hydrocarbons. The process is permanent since molecular recombination is prevented by the use of proprietary additives that are added at the appropriate stage.
The process has been proven with 2 Oil operators in Mexico, where the API was increased from 9.2 to 16.5 with viscosity reductions in the order of 65%. The process is being implemented and will be industrially in operation in the second half of 2018.