Investigating the causes of asphaltenes formation during visbreaking of deasphalted oil

Canadian bitumen has high viscosity compared to conventional crude oils which unable its transportation to upgraders and refineries by pipeline. In order to improve its fluidity, bitumen is submitted to high temperatures that will allow the break of chemical bonds. This process is called visbreaking. Nevertheless, the product is unstable due to the presence of asphaltenes which can precipitate and cause clogging of equipment and olefins that can further polymerize and form gums upon storage. BituMaxTM process (developed by Nexen Energy Inc.) integrates visbreaking with deasphalting process, i.e., the feed is first deasphalted before visbreaking. However, it is observed the formation of asphaltenes during the process. In order to mitigate asphaltenes formation during BituMaxTM, it is necessary to first understand the nature of molecules and the chemical conversions that take place during the process that will ultimately lead to an increase in asphaltenes content. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

Arno de Klerk


Glaucia Helena Carvalho do Prado


Nexen Energy ULC


Engineering - chemical / biological


Oil and gas




Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects