The global economy in the 21st century is facing major environmental and energy source challenges. It needs to find ways to reduce atmospheric pollutants, while meeting the aspirations for improved living standards of the rising middle class in non-First World countries. In addition, there is a need to provide sufficient power to drive the multitude of electronic devices that now fill the pockets of consumers and the working environment of businesses, while also moving manufactured and agriculture goods around the globe.

There is no one solution to these challenges, but Optima Process Systems Inc, the hydrocarbon process solution specialist, is developing a strategy that will enable different sectors of the economy to confront these issues head on using innovative hydrocarbon processing and ship-based strategic technology concepts. Essentially Optima is pioneering a new market segment – eco-compliant refining solutions.

THE major issue facing the global shipping industry is, for example, the implementation, at the beginning of next year, of IMO 2020. This worldwide environmental regulation will reduce the amount of sulphur allowed in bunker fuel, the primary fuel for tankers, from 3.5% to 0.5%. The refining industry has yet to come to terms with the capital expense – costing in the hundreds of billions of dollars industrywide – and planning and construction needs to alter its processing complexes to meet this new regulation.

Another challenge facing the refining industry is the capacity to handle the increasing amount of heavy oil coming onto the market, much of it concentrated in South America, that requires a different processing configuration.

Optima is offering a solution that decouples planning, capital costs and construction issues from the processing challenges – low-cost tanker-based inshore processing. Working with a number of innovative specialist processing companies, Optima proposes to bring tanker-based processing systems close to existing refineries in order to benefit from synergies that should help reduce operational costs.

The heart of this new strategy is new innovative processing concepts.  In June 2019, Optima signed a memorandum of understanding with FluidOil Ltd, a UK-based heavy oil upgrading company, to make use of its Viscositor Heavy to Light (VHTLR) technology.  VTHL can convert APIo14 heavy oil to a more easily refinable feedstock of up to APIo30.   Optima is now also in negotiation with two other technology companies with proven desulphurization processes.

So who is Optima?  It is a recently established company, but with decades of experience in floating systems and hydrocarbon management. 

Two senior members of the management team are Robert C Gibbs and Len Cozzolino.  Mr Gibbs’ experience with floating production extends back to its early use in the North Sea when he worked with Tentech International on the development of the first ship-shaped floating production system to be used in the North Sea, Petrojarl 1.  Mr Cozzolino has 40 years of experience in the oil and gas business having been involved in everything from exploration and production start-ups to major mergers and acquisitions.

Optima aims to be a gamechanger in the refining sector.

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