Oil-sand ore is a kind of heavy crude oil found primarily in Canada. The surface mining of this petroleum resource requires expensive 400-ton capacity trucks to transport the ore to the slurry plant. The slurry prepared with the crushed ore is usually conditioned in a hydrotransport pipeline prior to extracting bitumen. As the elimination of the mammoth trucks has a tremendous economic and environmental incentive, it is of industrial interest to employ new processes capable of conditioning oil-sand right at the mine face. This would demand an accelerated rate of conditioning compared to what is achieved at present in the industry. One of the significant steps of the conditioning process is oil-sand lump ablation (OSLA). An understanding of the fundamental concepts associated with OSLA is essential to achieve any industrial-scale change in the current conditioning method. A number of parameters such as temperature, lump size, pipe diameter, pipe length, flow rate, and shear influence the ablation process. The current chapter introduces the concept of OSLA. It also includes a comprehensive review of the most important models available to predict the ablation rate and the scope of future works.
Part of the book: Processing of Heavy Crude Oils