Upgrading and Refining
An Upgrader processes bitumen and heavy oil into vacuum gas oil and a synthetic crude
oil. There are many different variations on upgrading technologies, but they generally fall
into one of two broad categories: carbon removal or hydrogen conversion. A refinery
provides further processing to produce final products including fuels, lubricating oils,
solvents and asphaltines.
Fuel combustion, CO2 venting by the hydrogen plant and flaring are the primary sources
of GHG emissions at refineries and upgraders.
There is only trace levels of CH4 in the crude oil and other hydrocarbon feedstocks to
these facilities; however, they generally also require significant amounts of natural gas
for production of hydrogen needed by their hydro-treating processes. Accordingly, the
fuel gas system will be a source of CH4 emissions due to fugitive equipment leaks. As
well, any tanks that are blanketed with natural gas will be potential sources of CH4