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Scotford Upgrader

The Shell Scotford Upgrader is a facility which processes crude bitumen (extra-heavy crude oil) from oil sands into a wide range of synthetic crude oils (syncrude). The process uses hydrogen addition to convert the bitumen from Shell's Muskeg River Mine in the Athabasca oil sands into refinery-ready sweet, light crude oil. The Muskeg River Mine is the first commercial unit using Shell's Enhance froth treatment technology — a process for removing sand, fine clay and water from oil sands froth to make clean bitumen suitable for upgrading via hydrogen addition.[1]

According to Shell, the hydrogenation process is well suited to the very clean bitumen produced at the Muskeg River Mine, and results in the upgrader producing more light crude oil than it inputs in the form of heavy bitumen. It also produces lower levels of sulfur dioxide emissions than the alternative coking method which removes carbon to produce petroleum coke as a by-product. The Scotford Upgrader has its own hydrogen manufacturing unit and produces most of the hydrogen required for the hydrogen-addition process

The upgrader is owned by Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP), a joint venture of Shell Canada Energy (60%), Marathon Oil Sands L.P. (20%) and Chevron Canada Limited (20%). It is located outside of Fort Saskatchewan.[2] It has a rated processing capacity of 155,000-barrels-per-day (bpd), but has at times pumped out more than 200,000 bpd.[3] It was shut down after being damaged in a fire 19 November 2007. The production was resumed in December 2007.[4]

The Scotford Upgrader is located next to Shell's Scotford Refinery, forming the Scotford Complex 40 km northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. Much of the output of the Scotford Upgrader is sold to the Scotford Refinery. Both light and heavy crudes are also sold to Shell's Sarnia Refinery in Ontario. The rest of the synthetic crude is sold to the general marketplace.

The Scotford Upgrader will capacity will be expanded by 100,000 bpd by March 2010, an increase of 60% in capacity. In May 2007, the US$9 billion to US$11.3 billion expansion contract was awarded to KBR. KBR will build 160 modules and perform construction work for the atmospheric and vacuum unit and sulphur recovery unit.[5]


  1. ^ "Shell Canada Announces Innovation in Oil Sands Processing", Downstream Today, 2006-11-21. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 
  2. ^ "Shell: Repairs Underway at Scotford Upgrader After Gas Leak", Downstream Today, 2007-11-20. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 
  3. ^ "Athabasca 'may produce 1 million bpd'", Upstream Online, 2007-06-12. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 
  4. ^ "Shell digging again at Athabasca", Upstream Online, 2007-11-23. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 
  5. ^ "KBR wins giant Athabasca contract", Upstream Online, 2007-05-14. Retrieved on 2008-01-03. 

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Scotford_Upgrader". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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