Making light work of heavy oil

The V25 Test Rig at the Trondheim, SINTEF Research Institute
The V25 Test Rig at the Trondheim, SINTEF Research Institute
Using environmentally friendly methods to process crude and dirty oils, Fluid Oil has commissioned its first heavy to light oil processing technology at its new location on the Thames estuary.
Fluid Oil is a British enterprise that started over ten years ago in Norway as the result of a competition to create a new way of turning heavy crude oil into a lighter, higher quality product.
Now established and well-proven, the process takes bitumen, or heavy product of less than 6api, turning it into a cleaner, thinner oil for further refining or making into plastic feedstock.
The process also thins out very thick crude enabling it to be pumped through pipelines without the need for heating or special solvent additives.  Around 20% of the world’s known oil reserves are of the heavy type that currently requires expensive solvents or heating to make it transportable.
The only physical waste product from the process is sand that is clean enough to build with.
To take advantage of the engineering and management skills more readily available in the UK, in 2012 the company restructured into the UK from Trondheim. The technology is a game changing innovation on well tested fluid bed processes, meaning gas waste is minimised as a Rig produces the same carbon as a modern double decker bus.
Fluid Oil, which has the potential to handle thousands of barrels of oil a year at its new site, will begin processing product within the year.  Even with the reducing oil prices recently experienced, Fluid Oil can compete as it can process viably with prices as low as $15 a barrel!
The company is now building new Rigs in the UK for overseas customers and the analysis of their oil samples.