The high-conversion soaker cracking (HSC) process, an advanced continuous thermal cracking, has been used commercially for more than 20 years at a refinery converting heavy oil to valuable lighter distillates. The residue from the process is the heaviest liquid fuel in the world and is used for a boiler at the refinery. The application of HSC was studied as a partial upgrader at a SAGD wellsite to improve the transportability of bitumen using thermal cracking for the reduction of diluent volume and replacement of natural gas with the cracked residue from the HSC process for steam generation at the boiler. The advantage of HSC was examined by conducting thermal cracking tests using Athabasca bitumen. Material balances of the integrated SAGD and HSC for different SORs were calculated to obtain blended oils with API 21 for pipeline transportation. The calculated values were compared with the material balance of the standalone SAGD, based on the results of the test. The economic study of SAGD/HSC integrated process compared with the standalone SAGD showed that the IRR of the integrated SAGD/HSC was less volatile to the WTI and the natural gas market price. The economic benefit of partial upgrading of bitumen at the wellsite was more pronounced for higher prices of WTI and natural gas.

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