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Heavy crude oils are often appealing feedstocks for refineries, due to their lower cost. The availability of these heavy crudes is improving as production rates increase, particularly in North and South America. Refiners want to keep certain key performance indicators (KPIs) such as heat transfer coefficients, corrosion rates, pressure drop and throughput under control. However, asphaltenes present in heavy crudes can significantly affect these KPIs when they become destabilized and agglomerate to the extent where precipitation can occur. Asphaltene particles can stabilize emulsions, causing desalter performance and oil carry-under problems, and contribute to accelerated fouling in crude unit preheat exchangers.
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