Variations in the average gravity, sulphur content, and distillation character1stics of indigenous crude oil are summarized. The requisite data base is developed from individual pool, pipeline, and synthetic plant sources. The forecast interval begins in 1978 and ends in 1990.

Results are discussed in the light of a documented forecast of refined product demand and the existing Canadian refinery structure. It is concluded that the quality of Canadian crude will change. Forecasts indicate refined product demand is also changing. Therefore, modifications to existing refinery structure will have to be considered.


Our indigenous crude oil supplies come from a great variety of reservoirs located mainly in Western Canada. The development of these energy resources included the construction of a network of pipeline systems, each gathering for the marketplace a supply of crude oil. These crude oils are blended together or shipped in batches to refining centres through transmission lines. Refineries are designed and constructed to utilize these feedstocks and supply local product demands. Each refinery has a limited capacity to respond to changes in product demand or available feedstocks. Altering the design of an existing refinery is capital intensive and viable only in a secure market and feedstock supply environment.

This paper presents a study of the changes in indigenous crude oil quality which are likely to occur. A forecast was assembled to study the effect that new or changing sources of crude oil would have on refinery feedstocks. Changes in crude oil sources include the effect of expanded heavy oil development and the increased production of synthetic crude oil.

Parameters of quality are calculated for each pipeline stream and source of crude oil. Averaging techniques provide a description of total refinery feedstocks for a forecast interval commencing in 1978 and ending in 1990. The implications of the results are studied by reviewing forecast changes in product demand. A hypothetical refinery is modelled to demonstrate that changes in refinery structure will be necessary.


The hydrocarbon liquid analysis of crude oil flowing in a pipeline system reflects an average of the properties of the production from the various pools tied into the pipeline. Documents published by agencies of governments (1),(2),(3),(4),(5) were utilized to identify a representative analysis for major pools in each pipeline system. Crude properties were aggregated for some 35 pipeline systems. In addition, the analysis included eight significant miscellaneous crude oil streams which cannot be associated with a particular conventional producing area. These include synthetic crude oil, experimental heavy crude oil, upgraded heavy crude oil, reserves additions of light and heavy crude oil, and pentanes plus production. Crude oil analyses for these streams were identified where available, 15), (7), (8), (9) or parameters were assigned by analogy with similar crude sources.

Initially, API gravity and sulphur content were used to define crude oil quality for the purpose of studying variation during a forecast interval. Subsequently, a more complete definition of the variation in crude quality was obtained by studying the distillation characteristics.

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