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.
Propylene/Aromatics from VGO
While FCC technology is traditionally used for vacuum gas oil conversion to gasoline, UOP’s PetroFCC and RxPro processes are technology enhancements to increase production of light olefins and BTX range aromatics for use as petrochemical feedstocks relative to maximum gasoline. PetroFCC provides intermediate levels of propylene production up to 15 wt% of feed. Process variables and catalyst selection can be optimized for optimum production of propylene and blending components for gasoline and middle distillate pools. RxPro includes additional technology to further increase propylene production and yield/purity of light aromatics, providing the opportunity for BTX recovery and use in a paraxylene complex or benzene derivative production.
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’s Unicracking 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.
Upgrading Light Naphtha for More Olefins
Where naphtha is used as a feedstock for the steam cracking route to light olefin production, UOP’s Maxene process provides the opportunity to increase olefin production from an existing complex by improving the quality of the cracker feed and improving the ethylene/propylene selectivity of the product slate. This improvement is achieved in an integrated refining/petrochemical complex where naphtha is processed in the Maxene unit to separate a n-paraffin rich cracker feed stream from 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.