The possibility of relaxing basic sediment and water (BS&W) limits in pipelines has been gaining the interest of some Canadian producers. Some of this interest was engendered by comparing pipeline regulations in Canada to those in the United States. Currently in Canada. crude oil to be pipelined must contain Less than 0.5% by volume of BS&W In the United States, however, BS&W Limits in crude oil vary with each pipeline company, usually from 0.5% to 3%. American companies were surveyed as to whether they experience any more pipelining or processing difficulties than do their Canadian counterparts. Canadian producers. pipeliners, and upgraders/refiners were surveyed about their separate targets for and concerns about water and solids in crude oil. In all. 55 representatives from 45 sites participated in the survey. This paper is a brief non-confidential excerpt from the contract report done for Husky Oil. Petro-Canada, Wascana Energy and Saskatchewan Research Council.
Crude oil must meet a number of specifications for pipeline transportation. Pipeline companies and refineries frequently set maximum limits on basic sediment and water (BS&W) and salt content. While maximum limits on solids and salt are necessary to prevent downstream problems for pipelines and refineries. stringent limits on water may not be so crucial.
In Canada, crude oil to be transported must contain less than 0.5% by volume of water and solids. In the United Slates. BS&W limits in crude oil vary with each pipeline company. usually from 0.5% to 3%. The question of whether these American companies experience any more pipelining or processing difficulties than do their Canadian counterparts was a fundamental part of the survey. The second aim of the sludy was to assess the perceived advantages and disadvantages to the Canadian stakeholders. Producers, pipeliners. upgraders. and refiners were asked for their views on separately regulated. higher water limits for pipeline crude.
The survey contacts were largely chosen on a random basis. although an effort was made to reach American refiners processing higher amounts of water. Most contacts were interviewed by telephone. Approximately 80% of those called were willing to participate.
Twelve producers from Western Canada were surveyed by telephone on the quality ofcrude oil they produce, and practices that impact downstream users. The producers were fairly evenly split between heavy oil producers in the Lloydminster area, and producers ofmedium crude in more southerly regions.
Producers were, for the most part, well able to treat oil to the 0.5% BS&W standard. Producers reported an average BS&W of 0.35%, with solids ranging from a trace to 60% of the BS&W.
Most producers were in favour of relaxing the water limit of pipeline specifications. Even producers who had little dewatering difficulty, said that they could save substantial amounts in demulsifier and fuel gas costs. This is partly due to the fact that the "finishing" aspect of treating exhausts a disproportionally large amount of demulsifier.