Meeting Archives

2000 Spring: New Orleans, LA, February 3

Crude Oil Quality Association
New Orleans, LA
February 3, 2000

The meeting agenda was distributed to those in attendance. There were 47 attendees of which 15 paid the attendance fee.

Presentation details are available from the COQA director unless otherwise noted.

Legal Review of Anti-Trust – Tish Marshall, COQA Facilitator reminded all attendees to review the Standard Setting Rules prior to each meeting.

Petroleum Coke: Uses and Quality Considerations - Mr. Rod Hatt (Commercial Testing & Engineering Co.) summarized Carbon and Fuel-Grade petroleum coke market applications, quality requirements and projected global production. The production of fuel grade coke, used primarily as cement and lime kiln fuel, is projected to increase from 17 Million MT in 1998 to 28 Million MT in 2003 as many new coker projects come online. Sulfur, metals, SO3, volatility, pulverization rate and carbon content are the major quality concerns for petroleum coke.

Cooperative Refining Operations - Mr. Michael West of Cooperative Refiningpresented an overview of the newly formed Cooperative Refining LLC. Cooperative Refining is owned by MFA Oil, Farmland, Cenex Harvest States and Growmark and operates two refineries, Coffeyville, 100MPD (previously operated by Farmland) and McPherson, 80MPD (NCRA). Crude Oil Quality I of increasing importance with the onset of low sulfur fuel requirements starting in 2004. This is especially true for land locked refiners that depend on common stream crude oils form a variety of pipeline systems.

Quality Control of Canadian Crude - Mr. Tim Blackmore updated the group on the quality initiatives of the Enbridge Pipeline system. Enbridge has always had a policy of protecting the sweet crudes in order to meet agreed upon quality criteria. Over the years they have implemented that policy by utilizing separate lines and maximizing sweet cycles whenever possible. Currently, a 1997 expansion allows the pipeline to separate sweet from heavy crudes on a light service line into Superior, WI. For heavy crudes, tankage limitations are the most critical quality factors. Enbridge is attempting to minimize the impact of low tankage availability by dedicating tanks to specific shippers where tank utilization makes this feasible. The shippers then know what tank bottoms will be commingled and can schedule their batched crude accordingly. Enbridge can also utilize a software program to predict when to cut between the batches rather than using a straight mid-point density for cuts. A mid-point density cut-point tends to bias the cut-point between light and heavy crudes such that the light crude is degraded into the heavy crude.

Canadian Crude Testing Program - Mr. Bill Lywood of Crude Quality Inc. (CQI) spoke on the Canadian petroleum industry's initiative to sample and test Enbridge and Trans Mountain Pipeline mixed sweet crudes. The purpose of the testing program is to determine quality benchmarks for feeder and blended streams.  CQI manages the program for a consortium of refiners and pipelines. CQI is in the process of expanding their services to include a system that would allow pipelines to manage quality though better scheduling and monitoring techniques.

Methanol Usage in Deep-water Subsea Well Production – Ms. Patti Edens of Equilon Pipeline updated the group on a recent problem encountered on Gulf of Mexico receipts. She was joined by Dale Faucheux of Shell Exploration and Production Company.  During start up of deepwater wells, methanol is used as a hydrate inhibitor. The methanol at times can make its way to the receiving refinery and can cause potential environmental permit violations, as it tends to go from the desalter to the effluent treater systems. Refineries need to be aware of the potential situation as, currently, there is no real alternatives to methanol for this type of start up. Short term, improvements in processing equipment and just as importantly, coordination and communication should minimize methanol difficulties. Long term, alternate ways to prevent hydrate formation are being researched. Production chemicals, in general, are an area that need to be addressed as a communication issue between refiners, pipelines and producers. The COQA will investigate setting up a task force to discuss the issue.

Data on Organic Chlorides in Foreign Cargoes – Mr. Ron Fisher of BP Amoco shared data gathered by BP Amoco on sweet and sour crude at Texas City. Of the 15 sweet crude cargoes tested, 46% had Organic Chlorides over 1. For the sour cargoes, the % was 10%. There were no correlations between crude types, ships or countries of origin. It was suggested to Ron that he check sampling practices at the dock as that could cause false high readings. Ron will update the group at a subsequent meeting of BP’s ongoing investigation.

Overview of Crude Oil Quality Round Robin No. 8 - Mr. Gerald Lekberg of Williams presented the results of Round Robin No. 8, LLS crude. Forty-five samples were distributed, 34 labs have returned results. THE COQA Round Robin now has participants overseas as BP Sunbury and Saudi Aramco have joined. Although an ASTM crude oil round robin is set to start up this summer, we will continue the COQA Round Robin until such time as the participants find it no longer necessary. Gerald Lekberg will monitor the two Round Robins and make recommendations as need be.

Report on Water Measurement Discussion Group – A draft discussion paper was presented to the Water Measurement Group. Several edits were proposed and a second draft will be distributed in lieu of meeting minutes. Please advise the COQA facilitator if you wish to review the draft discussion paper.

Update on OilMonitor –  Five companies have responded to the test basket initiative. So far, Cusiana, Basrah, Brent, Maya, Bonny Light and Forcados are the top crudes nominated.

Capline Common Stream Parameters Update
 – Ms. Patti Edens of Equilon Pipeline shared several graphs with data on LLS properties tested to date. The program is going well.

Mid-Continent Testing/Analyses Update – Ms. Patti Edens of Equilon Pipeline informed the group that the sulfur and gravity specifications for Sweet and Super Sweet common streams on the Basin Pipeline system will be in effect on February 1. She also noted that cuts between crudes will be done to protect the sweet with inventory adjustments made quarterly.

Aaron Dillard of Conoco discussed the testing program that has been in place through several COQA member companies for the past few years.  The data reflects that there is still work Equilon Pipeline will have to undertake in order to get all of their connecting carriers in line with the Basin system specifications. The COQA will maintain the Basin sampling and testing program for a period of time to ensure that all of the proposed parameters of the system (i.e. metals, Sim Dist, etc.) are still being met, in addition to the sulfur and gravity specifications. The COQA looks forward to working with Basin Pipeline on the implementation of the Sweet and Super Sweet stream specifications.

Update on CCQTA Projects – Mr. Bruce Kennedy of PetroCanada updated us on the Canadian projects. A new project to test Western Canadian crudes for eight parameters has begun with 11 companies funding the testing.

COQA Web Site and Budget Report – The COQA Facilitator presented the financial report for 1999. 

Next Meeting - The next meeting of the COQA will be held on June 1, 2000 in Houston.