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Challenges in transportation of oilsands bitumen

Abstract: The growing production of bitumen from the Alberta oilsands has exceeded the demand in Canadian and Northern US refineries, leading to increased use of railways and proposals for new pipelines to reach new markets. Much of the growth in production has been exported from Canada as diluted bitumen, a mixture of bitumen and solvent that can flow through pipelines. The constraints on transportation out of Alberta have led to new technologies for shipping bitumen, including new approaches to the upgrading of bitumen and new products that are easier and safer to ship by rail. Partial upgrading of bitumen requires a smaller volume of solvent to allow pipeline transportation, reducing the cost to producers and using existing pipelines more efficiently. Several partial upgrading technologies are in the demonstration stage, and are planned for commercial production within five years. A completely different approach is to package or solidify bitumen so that it can be transported in open railcars and bulk carrier ships. This presentation will focus on the technology, market and safety aspects of transport, and inform discussion of social and environmental issues.



Biography of Dr. Gray

Murray R. Gray, BSc, MEng, Ph.D. has over 25 years of research experience in upgrading of heavy oil and oil sands bitumen. He is currently Director of the Centre for Oil Sands Innovation, Vice-Provost (Academic), and Associate Vice-President (Research) at the University of Alberta. His success in collaborative research with industry on the development of Canada’s oil sands has been recognized by numerous awards and prizes including the Centennial Award from the professional engineering association in Alberta (2011), and the Industrial Practice Award of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (2003).  In 2005, he was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. In 2006, he was awarded a Canada Research Chair and an Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Upgrading.


Dr. Gray's expertise is on the relationship between the fundamental properties of heavy oil and bitumen materials, and how these affect potential reactions and interactions at the molecular level, which in turn affect large scale processes for upgrading, separating, and transporting of bitumen.  Dr. Gray was the scientific director for the Institute for Oil Sands Innovation until summer of 2014, at which time he retired from the University of Alberta and became Professor Emeritus. He served as Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering and later Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. 

He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1984. He also holds a M. Eng. degree with a specialization in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary (1980) and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto (1978).

Event Properties

Event Date 04-05-2019 11:30 am
Event End Date 04-05-2019 2:00 pm
Capacity 60
Individual Price $25 regular | $10 students
Oak Bay Recreation Centre
1975 Bee St, Victoria, BC V8R 5E6, Canada Victoria, BC V8R 5E6 Canada
Oak Bay Recreation Centre
We are no longer accepting registration for this event
$25 20

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