The features of the steam cracking of heavy crude oil in the presence of a dispersed molybdenumcontaining catalyst are studied. The effect of water, the catalyst, and process conditions on the composition and properties of the products of the thermal conversion of heavy crude oil is determined in experiments on thermal cracking, steam cracking, catalytic cracking in the absence of water, and hydrocracking. A complex analysis of the resulting products is conducted; the catalyst-containing solid residue (coke) has been studied by XRD and HRTEM. The effect of the process temperature (425 and 450°C) and time on the yields and properties of the resulting products is studied. The efficiencies of hydrocracking and steam cracking for the production of upgraded low-viscosity semisynthetic oil are compared; the fundamental changes that occur in the catalyst during the studied processes are discussed. Some assumptions about the principle of the catalytic action of the molybdenum-containing catalyst in the steam cracking process are made.