Petrochemical Trends and Feedstock Supply
Developing economies in the Middle East, China, India, former Soviet Union, Latin America and other areas are driving strong demand for transportation fuels, particularly diesel. Co-currently, there is growing demand for performance polymers such as polyester, polypropylene and polycarbonate. Unfortunately, in many areas, petrochemical growth is hampered by traditional feedstock availability, particularly natural gas and naphtha.
What can refining & petrochemical integration offer?
The integration of refining and petrochemicals production facilities can bring significant value:
- Stable, low cost feedstock supply – reducing risk and increasing project profitability
- Opportunity to increase overall product revenues through the production of high quality transportation fuels and high-value petrochemical intermediates and/or end-products. Achieve higher project ROI.
- Unique processing synergies that reduce the cost of production of both the fuels and petrochemical products.
Use FCC-based process solutions to maximize production of propylene and petrochemical components
Today’s FCC unit provides an important link between a fuels refinery and the production of light olefins and aromatics for petrochemical use. Historically designed for conversion of vacuum gas oils and residue feeds to a gasoline-oriented product slate, new developments in this technology now allow for the cost effective production of valuable petrochemical intermediates.
UOP has leveraged its FCC design and operations experience and know-how to commercialize a process specifically geared for the enhanced production of propylene for petrochemical use as well as the generation of traditional FCC-based fuel co-products. The PetroFCC™ process utilizes a combination of a uniquely-designed FCC reactor/regenerator sections and operating conditions to enhance the yield of light olefins relative to conventional technologies. Through these design and operational changes, propylene yields of 12-16 wt% are achieved.
The integration of UOP’s FCC unit with the new UOP Catolene™ process enables full refinery and petrochemical integration. It provides propylene yields that can exceed 20 wt% of feed and an aromatic-rich naphtha stream for BTX recovery and further upgrading in your aromatic complex. Light cycle oil can also be further upgraded to BTX aromatics using the UOP LCO-X process.
Many levels of integration can add value to your overall flow scheme. Heavy aromatics and other petrochemical byproducts can be recycled back to the unit or used for fuels blending opportunities. For the petrochemical producer, integration provides a constant supply of attractively-priced feedstock. For the refiner, integration provides the opportunity to increase product revenue and maximize project return on investment.
Light Cycle Oil to BTX Aromatics
Light cycle oil from the FCC unit is a relatively aromatic rich, middle distillate range product typically used for middle distillate or fuel oil blending. UOP’s LCO-X technology provides the opportunity to convert this lower-value intermediate product into high-value BTX aromatics for petrochemical production. Through the integration of hydrocracking and related processing steps, selective yields of high purity BTX aromatics can be achieved, providing a product stream for sale or for use in an associated paraxylene complex or benzene derivative production.
Hydrocracking VGO to BTX Aromatics
In regions with a shortage of naphtha for catalytic reforming to BTX aromatics, UOP’sUnicracking and CCR Platforming technologies provide an efficient route for the conversion of heavy distillate and vacuum gas oil feeds into BTX aromatics. Feedstock, process design, and catalyst selections can be optimized to produce maximum naphtha for subsequent reforming, or a mixture of naphtha and premium quality jet and diesel streams for transportation fuel blending.
Improve Naphtha Complex Profitability
A single investment in UOP’s MaxEne™ process can simultaneously increase the yield of high value products from naphtha cracking and Platforming units. MaxEne optimizes the feed to each unit by separating the naphtha components into a normal paraffin enriched stream, which makes a superior steam cracker feed, and into a naphthene/aromatic enriched stream, which is optimal as a Platforming feed. MaxEne can also be used to produce an iso-paraffin rich, high octane stream for gasoline blending.
Other Integration Strategies
Finally, Refining and Petrochemical integration provides a number of key synergistic opportunity:
1. Recycle of petrochemical by-product streams for fuels blending or reprocessing to petrochemical feedstock, further reducing feedstock cost and/or increasing product revenue.
2. Opportunities for hardware integration and energy optimization, reducing investment costs, operating costs, and carbon footprint.
3. Recovery and re-use of hydrogen through the integrated complex to reduce net hydrogen production costs, reducing cost of production
How can UOP Help?
To realize the opportunities in refining/petrochemical integration, a number of individual process technologies must be effectively integrated, both in initial design and also in the subsequent choice of operating conditions and catalyst/adsorbent selection.
UOP as the industry leader in refining and key petrochemical technologies, offers unmatched capability to bring our customers customized, integrated solutions. Our experts will help you to:
- Balance fuels demand and quality trends with petrochemical objectives
- Minimize investment and operating costs
- Minimize energy consumption and environmental footprint
- Achieve rapid project implementation
How do I learn more?
Contact us to learn more about how our solutions will help you find more value through integration.