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Report: Partially upgrading bitumen could be the new way to produce oil

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Report: Partially upgrading bitumen could be the new way to produce oil

A new report by the School of Public Policy is highlighting the potential importance of partially upgrading bitumen.

Co-Author of the report Kent Fellows tells Mix News exporting raw bitumen or fully upgrading to synthetic crude oil can be costly practices, so the idea is to find a nice compromise between the two ways the oilsands already produce their oil.

“You’re not sticking with exporting raw bitumen, which is costly and doesn’t have a high value as it could, but you’re not going all the way to synthetic crude oil, which has pretty high cost to get that high value,” said Fellows. “So, I think it’s potentially a good, very happy median.”

If oilsands use this new system, Fellows says the value of each barrel of bitumen could rise by $10 – $15 dollars. So, besides reducing costs it could also see them make a little extra revenue.

“It could save them a lot of money and it could make them a little bit of money as well so it’s odd to try and do both of them at the same time but we have a little bit of higher value product and we get a little bit of lower cost to ship it, so it’s kind of a win-win on both sides of that.”

Fellows notes the economy could also see a positive impact as it could bring more employment to Alberta and see $505 million increased to the GDP.

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