Refined Fuel Demand Trends
Refined fuel demands trends suggest significant market segmentation in the refining industry. In mature markets of North America, Europe and OECD Pacific (Japan, Korea) overall regional product demand is flat with product mix slowly shifting from gasoline to diesel.
In the growing economies of Asia and the Middle East, refined fuel consumption is expected to grow in the 4-5 %/yr range, with greatest growth in diesel fuel. Supply will come from both refinery expansions as well as importation of refined fuels from other regions.
Existing Asset Utilization
In both market segments, efficient use of existing assets is key to maximizing profitability. In the mature consumption markets, low investment strategies around existing assets are critical to meet product mix changes, increase liquid yields on crude, increase crude oil flexibility, and reduce energy consumption/carbon footprint. In growth markets, the effective use of existing assets as a part of refinery expansions is key to minimizing investment and operating costs, maximizing the return on investment for your project.
Mature Market Strategies
Low cost strategies revolve around catalyst change outs, repurposing existing equipment, H2 management, and revamps for energy efficiency. Specific examples are:
- 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.
- Reforming Optimization for Increased Liquid and H2 Yield – Respond to increasing diesel related hydrogen requirements and declining octane requirements by increasing reformer selectivity. Modifications include catalyst replacement with a higher yield Platforming catalysts and/or the UOP CCR Platforming Process modifications to reduce reactor pressure.
- Distillate Hydrotreater Modifications for Cracked Stock Processing – Respond to increasing low-sulfur diesel demand, by modifying existing distillate hydrotreating capacity. Catalyst change outs, utilizing industry-leading Hydrotreating Catalysts offered through the UOP/Albemarle hydroprocessing alliance and process modifications utilizing UOP’s Distillate Unionfining technology will increase 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 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
Key to most refinery expansions 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 place 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.