Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

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Upgrader Offsites

The term "offsites" refers to equipment and facilities that support the processing units and utilities plant and can be broken down as follows: Cooling Water Plant. Tank Farm, Waste Water Treatment, Fire Water System, Sulphur and Coke Handling, and Flares.

Cooling Water Plant

Cooling. requirements of the process plants are accomplished by using cooling water to remove the heat from the equipment in cooling jackets or coils. The warm water is then collected and returned to a cooling tower where direct contact with air transfers the heat to the air which is discharged to the atmosphere. The cool water from the cooling tower is then pumped back to the equipment to complete the cycle.

Tank Farm

Storage facilities consist of atmospheric storage tanks and one pressurized sphere for butane storage. Two large tanks have been designated for crude oil storage and several tanks are used for intermediate storage between the process units. Four final components are blended into the finished product. There are four pipelines between the Upgrader site and the pipeline terminal. These are used to provide a continuous flow of raw material to and finished product from the site. Storage tanks are provided for start-up purposes, off-specification product, by-product storage or surge storage due to unbalanced or irregular flow rates.

Waste Water Treatment

In compliance with environmental standards and to recover water contaminated by solids or oil, potentially contaminated water is directed to waste water treatment. Settling, filtration, floatation and biological treatment are methods used to separate and re-use water and hydrocarbon products, render all solid products sate for disposal and keep liquid waste disposal to a minimum. Oily solids are disposed of in the delayed coking unit, biodegradable solids by land farm, and liquid waste (water containing high levels of dissolved solids) by deep well injection.

Fire Water Systems

An underground fire water piping system supplies strategically positioned hydrants and monitors throughout the site. The distribution system is fed by a combination of electric and diesel driven pumps situated at two separate water ponds.

Sulphur and Coke Handling

A spur line with a 3-track marshalling yard is provided for rail car handling. On average, nine rail cars are handled per day. Three for liquid sulphur and 6 gondola cars for coke.


To handle process upsets in a safe manner, there are three flares on site. These flares provide relief of gas from the process units.