Transportation of Heavy Crude Oils through Heated Pipeline-Assessment of Relative Economics
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After stagnation of domestic crude oil production for many years, findings of crude oil in Rajasthan oil fields provided a new source of crude oil for Indian Refining companies. However, crude oil from Rajasthan Oil Fields is having high wax content, with pour point in 40ºC-45ºC range and viscosity in the range of 93.5-288 Cp (centi-poise) at 42oC temperature. It poses challenges not only for processing such crude oils in old refineries, but, also in transportation of such crude oils to refineries situated far away from Rajasthan oil fields through conventional pipelines. Transportation of Rajasthan crude oil is feasible, without any quantity restrictions, through heated oil pipeline; however, such pipelines require higher capital as well as operating costs. An attempt has been made in this paper to compare economics of heated oil pipeline vis-à-vis regular pipelines, so as to estimate additional margins for processing heavy crudes to account for higher transportation costs.
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