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Phillips 66, Sapphire Energy to develop green crude oil

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. oil refining company Phillips 66 said it was joining green crude oil producer Sapphire Energy to make algae crude oil a commercial prospect.

"We believe this joint development project with Sapphire Energy could produce a refinery-ready, sustainable product for Phillips 66, creating yet another exciting opportunity in this rapidly changing energy landscape," Merl Lindstrom, a vice president in charge of technological develops for Phillips 66, said in a statement Tuesday.

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Both companies under the terms of the agreement will expand Sapphire's test program in New Mexico to show algae can be converted to crude oil using traditional refining methods.

Sapphire said it expects to have a commercial demonstration project up and running by 2015 and be able to produce as much as 23 million barrels of green crude oil per year by 2025.

Sapphire said its biofuels are derived from the activity of photosynthetic microorganisms and are not dependent on food crops or farmland for production.

Some rival forms of biofuels are controversial because they're energy-intensive to produce and use land that would otherwise be used for food production.

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