The country's second largest national oil marketer Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd has developed a novel technology to test the quality of crude oil at a fraction of the cost and time that it takes now through the lengthy lab tests.

The technology, which has a number of patents including those from the US and the EU, is a 'crude horoscope predictor tool' called BPMarrk, which can optimise varied properties from the crude.

The company is also in talks with leading international players in the crude assaying industry like Aspen, the largest in the segment, Honeywell, and Emerson, R Ramachandran, Director (Refineries), at BPCL said.

"The traditional way of assaying takes 30-45 days for a complete testing and the cost averages at Rs 25 lakh. But the BPMarrk takes around 30 minutes for a four-stage test. We can offer it at a fraction of the present cost but we haven't decided on the pricing part yet," he told PTI.

Ramachandran also said the company is planning to use the technology as an advance control product for product optimisation and is going to apply for patents for this as well.

On talks with American bodies, he said, "we have made presentations to Aspen, Emerson and Honeywell but no deal has been finalised yet".

BPCL has been developing the technology since FY16 and reached commercial production stage two years ago.

Since then, it has made a detailed presentation to the American Petroleum Institute which is the global body that codifies the testing standards for the industry. The institute was keen to develop this tool as an alternate standard, provided BPCL shared the entire details, but the company refused, a source at the company said.

A salient and industry-friendly use of the tool is that it can help update the crude assays of oil wells wherein the properties get changed with ageing, according to Ramachandran.

"Gone are the days of lengthy laboratory tests called assaying for crude. The R&D team of Bharat Petroleum has developed a crude horoscope predictor tool called 'BPMarrk' to correctly predict crude oil properties," he said.

Describing their innovation as a game-changer, Ramachandran said BPMarrk can predict around 500 properties of any crude using four parameters and can help generate the output within an hour compared to the other conventional processes which require three-four weeks of laboratory testing.

The tool has been built by testing more than 100 types of crudes from different regions.

This universal tool can be used by multiple stakeholders across the crude value-chain for fast business and operational decisions related to crude buying/ booking and price negotiations.

BPMarrk can also enable oil suppliers, international trades and supply-chain optimisation for advanced planning, crude selection and also for process engineers for unit-level optimisation of refinery operations.

BPCL is in the process of partnering with a leading international consultant for real-time optimisation.

The development could be highly useful for small downstream players like domestic companies and standalone refiners, given the fact that industry majors like Aramco, Exxon, Shell, Total or BP would have their own independent tools to do faster assaying as they are all into the entire value chain of the oil and gas sector, say analysts. PTI BEN

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