Catalytic aquathermolysis of Omani heavy oil was carried out with NiMo-oleate as an oil soluble viscosity reducing catalyst and glycerol as a hydrogen donor for the first time. The synthesized catalyst was characterized with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy(FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD).The experiments were carried out in a Parr reactor under nitrogen atmosphere with varying reaction time (24-72 h), glycerol concentration (0-10 wt%), catalyst loading(0-1 wt%), amount of water (0-42 wt%) and the reaction temperature (200-304 °C). Maximum viscosity reduction of 69% (1490-490 cP at 70 °C) occurred at 277 °C reaction temperature and 30 h of reaction. Fourier transform infrared spectra (FT-IR) before and after catalytic aquathermolysis show an increase in the saturate bonds of alkyl groups and a decrease in unsaturated bonds of transalkene groups of the hydrocarbons indicative of hydrogenation activities of the catalyst and glycerol. In addition, gas chromatography (GC) analysis confirmed an increase in lower boiling point components after catalytic aquathermolysis, while asphaltene precipitation showed a decrease in asphaltene content.
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