Refined Fuel Demand Trends
Demand for refined products continues to grow on a worldwide basis with diesel leading the growth. In developed economies, diesel will show modest growth while gasoline will be flat or contracting. In developing regions, refining infrastructure will continue to adjust to the regions supply and demand needs. This will include optimization of refinery assets to meet the product mix of the local and export markets.
However, in growing economies there is significant growth for both gasoline (as light duty vehicle fleet increases) and diesel (as industry and economy develops). These regions require additional refinery capacity to supply the required fuels.
Existing Asset Utilization
In both market segments, efficient use of existing assets is critical to maximizing profitability. In the mature consumption markets, optimization of existing assets are critical to meet product mix changes, increase liquid yields on crude, increase crude oil feedstock flexibility, and reduce energy consumption/carbon footprint. In growth markets, the effective use of existing assets as a part of refinery expansions is critical to minimizing investment and operating costs, maximizing the return on investment for your project.
Mature Market Strategies
Even in mature markets, the landscape is changing with new feedstocks and product specifications which can challenge existing assets. Strategies to maximize margins can include changing out or upgrading catalysts, re-purposing existing equipment, hydrogen management, revamps for energy efficiency, or adding process units. Specific examples include:
- Naphtha Hydrocracker Modification for Increased Diesel – Respond to increasing D/G product slate trends by modifying a two-stage naphtha hydrocracker with diesel selective Unicracking Catalysts and process modifications utilizing UOP’s Unicracking Process technology.
- Naphtha Complex Optimization – Refiners can respond to changing feeds and product mix by optimizing reformer and isomerization unit operations. Potential modifications include catalyst replacement with higher yield Platforming catalysts and/or the UOP CCR Platforming Process modifications to reduce reactor pressure for higher yields. Refiners with advantaged light crude available can manage additional naphtha by expanding reforming and isomerization capacity. In some markets, benzene recovery from reformate via UOP’s Sulfolane process can add value by helping meet gasoline specs while also recovering salable byproduct.
- Distillate Hydrotreater Modifications for Cracked Stock Processing – Respond to increasing low-sulfur diesel demand by modifying existing distillate hydrotreating capacity. Catalyst change outs using industry-leading Hydrotreating Catalysts offered through the UOP/Albemarle hydroprocessing alliance, and process modifications using UOP’s Distillate Unionfining technology will increase the ability to process more difficult cracked stocks to a lower product sulfur level.
- Hydrogen Optimization to Meet Increased Hydroprocessing Demand – Respond to increasing hydrogen consumption trends by both Reformer optimization, discussed above, but also through installation or revamps of UOP Membrane or Polybed PSA technology for separation/purification of reformer off-gas and hydrotreater tail-gas streams for high-purity hydrogen recovery and reuse, minimizing SMR hydrogen production.
Refinery Expansion Strategies
The effective use of existing processing units is key in either a single or multi-phased expansion project. In addition to increased crude/product capacity, processing goals may include increased residue conversion levels and crude oil flexibility.
Gas Oil Conversion Optimization
The key to many refinery expansion projects are the FCC and hydrocracking units that convert heavier oil to desirable transportation fuels. UOP’s FCC and Unicracking Technologies offer numerous capacity expansion opportunities that can significantly increase capacity at a fraction of new unit costs. Optimization may center around integration of these processes with a revamped, partial conversion Unicracking unit supplying low sulfur feedstock to the FCC unit.
One of the key advantages of the UOP Uniflex process is its simple integration into most existing refineries, minimizing the level of new investment CAPEX required. Typically, a new hydrotreater will be required to process the naphtha and distillate produced, but in most cases, the small amount of vacuum gas oil (VGO) produced can be processed in an existing hydrocracker or FCC unit.
Energy and Operating Efficiency; Asset Monitoring
In either market scenario, premiums are being placed on energy and operating efficiencies. UOP’s engineering specialists provide a variety of Energy Management Solutions and can suggest cost-effective revamps to reduce energy consumption and reduce carbon footprint. UOP can also provide a full portfolio of Operations Training to enhance day-to-day operating expertise. UOP also provides Asset Integrity Services to avoid downtime through equipment inspection during planned turn-arounds and unexpected shutdowns.
The effective use of existing assets in either of the market scenarios discussed, requires both individual process depth as well as a breadth of refinery knowledge and expertise. UOP is unmatched in the industry in its ability to deliver customized integrated solutions.Let UOP facilitate your asset utilization project:
- Audit of current refinery operations – Product blending, unit yields, overall energy and hydrogen utilization
- Development of “future” refinery configuration, focusing on capacity requirements, product slate and operating efficiency
- Development of investment alternatives
- Economic evaluation and project selection
- Rapid project implementation
How do I learn more?
Contact us to learn more about how UOP can help you get the most out of your existing assets.