Shale Oil Processing

Overcoming Shale Oil Transportation and Refining Challenges

Shale oil has rapidly become a favorite crude feed for US refiners. Yet variations in shale oil composition from basin to basin ― and even within basins —plus many common characteristics of shale oil, can lead to significant disruptions across the hydrocarbon supply chain that can cause a range of financial and production issues.

The Bakken field produces both tight and shale oil. Similarly, oil produced from the Utica shale play in the Appalachian Basin differs from what is produced from the Eagle Ford or Cline fields in south and west Texas. And, there are variations in API gravity, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), wax and solids content, crude quality, and other shale oil characteristics within each of those fields.

Among issues that can challenge shale oil processing are the following.

  • "Sludging” accumulation of wax and solids in pipelines and transportation vessels
  • Presence of H2S
  • Problems with blending compatibility
  • Fouling issues
  • Corrosive salt build-up
  • Water in distillates

A comprehensive solution

Baker Hughes offers a combination of experience, proven technologies, and problem-solving capabilities at each step in the hydrocarbon supply chain process to help eliminate or mitigate challenges and optimize economics. Among these are H2S scavengers, oil/water separation products, wax dispersants, antifoulants and blending stability chemicals, contaminant removers, pipeline drag reducers, and finished fuel additives.

Designing the right programs to optimize refinery economics

Understanding the shale oil refining process and the potential challenges at each step in the process is essential to optimizing refinery economics.

View the supply chain diagram and solutions table to get a clearer picture.


  • Shale oil transportation
  • Shale oil storage
  • Shale oil refining
  • Shale oil finished products


Our PREPARED TO RESPOND™ services maximize profit by meeting fuel and crude oil specifications, increasing their value and marketability.

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