Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen  book cover
1st Edition

Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen

ISBN 9781138744448
Published August 12, 2019 by CRC Press
324 Pages 16 Color & 183 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Heavy crude oils and bitumen represent more than 50% of all hydrocarbons available on the planet. These feedstocks have a low amount of distillable material and high level of contaminants that make their production, transportation, and refining difficult and costly by conventional technologies. Subsurface Upgrading of Heavy Crude Oils and Bitumen is of interest to the petroleum industry mainly because of the advantages compared to aboveground counterparts.

The author presents an in-depth account and a critical review of the progress of industry and academia in underground or In-Situ upgrading of heavy, extra-heavy oils and bitumen, as reported in the patent and open literature. This work is aimed to be a standalone monograph, so three chapters are dedicated to the composition of petroleum and fundamentals of crude oil production and refining.

Key Features:

    • Offers a multidisciplinary scope that will appeal to chemists, geologists, biologists, chemical engineers, and petroleum engineers
    • Presents the advantages and disadvantages of the technologies considered
    • Discusses economic and environmental considerations for all the routes evaluated and offers perspectives from experts in the field working with highlighted technologies

Table of Contents


Petroleum Composition and Upgrading

Physical Separation

Thermal Conversion

Hydrogen Addition


Addition in the Presence of Catalysts

In-situ Combustion

Hybrid and New Concepts

Future Tendencies

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Cesar Ovalles graduated with a Licentiate degree in Chemistry from Simon Bolivar University

and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. Right after graduation, he worked for 16

years at Petroleos de Venezuela Sociedad Anonima-Instituto de Tecnologia Venezolano del Petroleo

(PDVSA–INTEVEP). In 2006, he joined Chevron and is currently Technical Team Leader of the

Heavy Oil Characterization group. He is involved in the areas of petroleum chemistry, heavy and

extra heavy crude oil upgrading (surface and subsurface), and asphaltene characterization. After his

28 years of industrial experience, Dr. Ovalles has published 62 papers in peer-reviewed scientific

journals, 4 books, has been awarded 18 patents, and presented 116 papers at scientific and technical

conferences. Additionally, he has published 14 articles in Venezuelan journals and 92 Technical

Reports for an outstanding number of 306 total scientific productions. Cesar has also served as

Associate Editor of Revista de la Sociedad Venezolana de Catalisis from 1996 to 2000 and Vision

Tecnologica (Technical Journal of PDVSA–INTEVEP) from 2000 to 2002. In 2014, he won the

Outstanding Technical Achievement Award from Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards

Conference and the National STAR-Hispanic in Technology-Corporate Award from the Society of

Hispanic Professional Engineers. Cesar is married to his college sweetheart, Luisa (Lulu), and is the

father of two grown children. His son, Cesar Arturo, is a computer science graduate currently working

for Safeway Supermarkets and his daughter, Manuela, is a microbiologist working for Mission

Bio, a start-up company in South San Francisco.

Featured Author Profiles

Author - Cesar  Ovalles

Cesar Ovalles

Technical Team Leader,
Richmond, CA, USA

Learn more about Cesar Ovalles »


"Low API gravity and high viscosity crude oils comprise around 70% of total world oil reserves. Thus, they are very important to meet our constantly growing future energy demand. Dr. Ovalles combines his academic knowledge with his invaluable industry experiences in this book and provides a good guide on how to deal with heavy oil reservoirs. This book will be used as a course book soon to educate future petroleum engineers."

- Berna Hascakir, Professor at Texas A&M University

"As is obvious from the contents in the Chapters and topics that have been covered in this book, Cesar has vast knowledge in all aspects of petroleum industry. Although the focus of the book is on insitu upgrading, the author covers topics from the molecular structure and characterization to transportation and different upgrading technologies. It is timely that Cesar completed this book as the Subsurface upgrading for Heavy oils and bitumen is gaining momentum in Canada. It is expected that this book will be used extensively by process engineers, academics, research labs and should be owned by libraries to be used as a reference book for teaching and learning all aspects of heavy oil and bitumen production and processing."

 – Parviz Rahimi, Upgrading Solutions Inc.