Current economics, variations in the price of crude oils and shifting demand for distillates have forced refineries to reduce the cost of their distillation feedstock. Commonly, this is achieved by blending high-value light crude oils with heavy (unconventional) crude oils of inferior quality. The additional cost of processing high TAN crude is within the range $1.15-10.73/bbl, but the savings compared to conventional crude processing are $43.54-62.7/bbl. Utilizing these crude oils in any way possible is therefore very attractive to refiners.
Different blending options exist to upgrade unconventional crude oil into synthetic crudes of higher values. An automatic crude blending station integrates LP with on-line NMR process analytics. It can be used either by traders who offer blending services, or directly by refiners. Cost, market value, availability and choice of technology are the main factors to be considered in planning a configuration to be used for upgrading unconventional crude oil.