Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations
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Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations


“Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations”

This TCGR multi-client study was completed in December 2017. The report’s scope, and specific contents (as depicted in the study’s actual TofC on pages 11-19 of the presentation) are available via download here. The study’s content and objectives reflect the inputs from a group of “charter” subscribers who indicated their priorities for coverage, areas to be expanded/deepened and focal points for emphasis in opportunity identification. These are leading industrial integrated refiners and petrochemical producers and end users.

There is a need for an objective assessment and a detailed technological analysis of the activities directed towards oil-to-chemicals pursuits. It is clear that among the leading positions/approaches developed to date, notably by ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco/SABIC, the full breadth of the potential need may not be addressed because each user will require a unique solution. Therefore it is useful to evaluate the olefins and/or aromatic needs of chemical plants in reverse order, back towards the intake of crude oil using different existing and new technologies that may prove more economical at smaller scale, than the massive CAPEX schemes currently being proposed by licensors, as solutions. Beyond these leading activities, numerous independent technology developers like UOP/Honeywell, Axens, CB&I and other majors are working towards combinations of technologies which can achieve a similar objective.

TCGR’s   recently completed assessment, entitled “Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations,” takes an end-market based approach, using numerous, subscriber process considerations, with the objective of documenting the available technologies, plus those in development (including the needed combinations) to maximize the return on conversion based on product slate (chemicals/petrochemicals and specialty/intermediates). Such optimization is required if such practices are expected to be competitive with low-cost thermal cracker routes as well as increasingly large, aromatics complexes based on scale.

Key questions addressed include how chemical companies can target this technology opportunity – from an olefins and aromatics/BTX chemical plant feedstock point of view – but enhance the olefins and/or BTX yields even higher through retrofit catalysts and known process technology incremental revamps? What is documented are recent catalyst and process advances relevant to olefins and BTX chemical products that avoid the upfront investment in catalytic distillation units (CDUs) and vacuum distillation units (VDUs) and other parts of the refinery while maximizing BTX and olefin yields (primarily C3+ and C4+) beyond typical refinery economics and normal/known process configurations that have historically been optimized for fuels production.

Refining Strategies to Maximize Light Olefins from Crude Oil

Source: Corma, 2017

The scope includes numerous “cameo” technologies and process configurations, determined by the study’s “charter” subscribers (i.e., those who committed to supporting it prior to formal launch) with consideration of the following:

  • Modified steam crackers; catalytic steam cracking
  • Gasoil/steam cracking, gasoil/HSFCC
  • Resid FCC: Multiple riser systems, R2R, Milos (Shell), HSFCC (Axens)
  • Hydrocracker/FCC; Flexicoking/FCC; FCC/Reforming
  • H-Oil and slurry HC (IFP); LC Fining (Lummus/CB&I)
  • Hydroconversion upgrader (GHU, Genoil)
  • Ebullated bed – EST (Eni)
  • Pyrolysis catalytic cracking (PCC)
  • Deep catalytic cracking (DCC)
  • Aromax (CP Chem), Cyclar (UOP/Honeywell), etc.
  • Others (to be determined via “charter” subscriber input)

This newly completed study compliments an ongoing portfolio of similarly well received studies that The Catalyst Group Resources has delivered to clients over recent years. This growing experience demonstrates TCGR’s unique capability, resources and expertise to deliver exceptional insight.

Additional information, including the complete study presentation, the actual (expanded/refined) Table of Contents and the Order Form, can be downloaded via the link below. For additional study details or to subscribe, please contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447 or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com.

As it does in each of its industrially-focused multi-client studies, TCGR has sought input from “charter” subscribers to
help shape the report’s final scope/TofC by delineating areas of particular interest, including
the “cameo” technologies.

The Catalyst Group Resources (TCGR), a member of The Catalyst Group, is dedicated to monitoring and analyzing technical and commercial developments in catalysis as they apply to the global refining, petrochemical, fine/specialty chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer/elastomer and environmental industries.

Download PDF’s.
PRES Oil-to-Chemicals (December 2017)