The Oil Sands Separation Process Explained

Published October 30, 2020

the oil sands separation process

There is a lucrative industry trend that you may want to know about that is projected to grow at an annual rate of 5% over the next five years. The valve industry is developing at a phenomenal rate, and the use of industrial valves is expected to grow, especially in the power and chemical industries. That’s where the oil sands separation process got its start, and it’s the industry process that is gaining global interest because of all that it provides.

If you’re interested in learning how the valve market is crucial to the oil sands separation process, please read on. The guide below is an excellent place to start understanding this developing market and how you and your company can benefit.

Oil Sands Contain a Thick Petroleum

Loose sand deposits that contain thick petroleum are described as a very viscous form of oil which is known as bitumen. You can find oil sands or bitumen all over the world. The thick petroleum oil sands have other names like tar sands or bituminous sands. No matter what, the oils sands are made up of and contain solids and clays, albeit in a refined form that ranges from 10% to 30% by weight.

There are three steps involved with turning oil sands into a usable petroleum product.

#1 Extraction

It would be best if you had a dependable and robust way of extracting the bitumen from the oil sands. The extraction must also remove the sand’s solid and water elements.

#2 Upgrading

It would also help if you had a way of upgrading the heavy bitumen so you can create a lighter crude oil. This crude oil is usually referred to as being in the intermediate stage.

#3 Refining

You finally are able to refine the crude oil you now have. The three most common product refineries produce gasoline, lubricants, and diluents.

The components that make up oil and sand are a little bit of bitumen, sand, and water. While you are dealing with crude oil, it doesn’t flow as you envision with oil wells. Instead, this conventional crude oil has to be heated underneath the surface of the ground to be mined.

Oil Sands Separation Process

Only after the above has occurred can the oil sands separation process begin. This heating and mining are performed by steam injection technologies that help recover the bitumen on the surface and upgrade it to conventional refinery-ready crude oil products. The oil sands separation process involves a need for new flow control solutions when using steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD).

Valves will be needed in SAGD due to the horizontal wells that need to be drilled from a central well pad. Valves are also needed in a host of other processes. When used in SAGD, it is within the horizontal wells that recovery of the heavy oil is found and processed.

Once the steam generators in a nearby plant transform water into steam, it is injected into the walls where oil production begins. As oil production continues, it is separated and treated. The components needed to do the separation and treatment include valves, pumps, and chokes that can produce oil even though it handles highly abrasive materials, extremely high temperatures, and a very corrosive environment.

Tar and Extraction Process

When you’re dealing with extracting tar, bitumen, and oil from sands, you need refinery valves that don’t die after a short life. That’s what happens when most refinery valves are handling what’s called fluid-catalytic-cracker (FCC) units or continuous catalytic reformers (CCRs). For the extraction to be optimized you need to use a valve that can handle severe and highly abrasive materials like that which is in the tar and extraction process.

Every value you use or choke you need must be able to handle the corrosive environment it’s working in and the high temperatures that are required in order to make the extraction process work correctly. Remember, this is a multiphase fluid process with entrained sand, so there’s no easy way to perform the tar extraction process. While there’s no easy way to achieve the tar extraction process, there is the right way to accomplish it.

That’s by using specially engineered valves that work with your flow control process instead of fighting it and then breaking down. These valves have coating and alloys that give it extra stability and strength to do the job it’s meant to do. The more reliable engineered valves do what you need them to do while performing the oil sands separation process. The most constant, durable, and consistent valves are provided by the Everlasting Valve Company.

Your Next Step In The Oil Sands Separation Process

Reach out to Everlasting Valve Company when your goal is to use the valves and equipment you need to perform the oil sands separation process most effectively and efficiently. Even when you’re working on a site where oil sands exist, the oil sands separation process usually requires surface mining and sending the oil sands to a bitumen processing plant. Or you drill for deposits below the surface when bitumen is extracted in place or in-situ.

Every step of the extraction process requires valves and equipment for mining, refining, and transportation. Everlasting Valve Company stand alone in their high-quality, long-lasting lifespan and durability benefits. When you purchase from Everlasting Valve Company one time, you’ll find it very difficult to go back to what you used to use.

The long-term benefits to the company’s valves cannot be overvalued. You are paying for an upgraded valve for your oil sands extraction process and receiving a lifetime investment that provides your company with something that brings you benefits, reliability, and continuous durability. There’s no substitute for using valves that are even tougher than the application or process it was designed to assist.

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