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View Diary: What Exactly is in Dilbit? It is a Secret. (242 comments)

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  •  Since Benzene is a constituent of natural gas (0+ / 0-)

    liquids in the form of condensate that is used as a diluent for tar sands synthetic crude....benzene is thus being used as a diluent.   However, of the liquid hydrocarbons in the diluent added, benzene is present in concentrations that are greatly exceeded by the other C2-C6 hydrocarbons present in the diluent as applied and added.

    In hot water/steam-assisted recovery of bitumen from natural deposits, both in situ and as a mined material feedstock, there will be virtually no benzene present in that material.   Bitumen present in the tar sands primarily and overwhelmingly consists of high boiling point, high molecular weight long chain hydrocarbons....meaning that benzene is not present in the bitumen as low molecular weight material.

    In addition, the hydrocarbon chemical compounds contained in the natural bitumen deposits will not have any significant human or environmental toxicity.   The metals contained in the bituminous deposits, which are not volatilized (except for mercury inside of high temperature thermal processing unit),
    will pose the principle environmental toxicant threat in Canada from leaching and subsequent surface water and groundwater contamination.  

    Once bitumen is processed in an upgrading operation or placed in a coker in Alberta, only then does the potential exist for high temperature/high pressure thermal processing to cause the formation of benzene from naturally occurring bitumen.

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