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Oil-to-Chemicals II: New Approaches from Resid and VGOs


TCGR Extends its Original Oil-to-Chemicals (O-t-C) Study to Assess Technologies, Configurations and Capex/Opex
Metrics for Olefins/Aromatics Production via Resids, VGOs and Heavier Feeds…

View Presentation Here (PDF format)

 “Oil-to-Chemicals II: New Approaches from Resid and VGOs”

This TCGR multi-client study was completed in June 2019 and is available for immediate delivery. The study’s scope, and specific contents (as depicted in the TofC on pp. 9-17 of the presentation, available via download), reflect the inputs from a group of “charter” subscribers who have indicated their priorities for coverage, areas to be expanded/deepened and focal points for emphasis in opportunity identification. These are leading industrial developers, suppliers, and end-users of oil-to-chemicals based technology.

Crude Oil-to-Chemicals (COTC) continues to be a powerful industry driver, and a strong trend of high interest to all integrated refineries and chemicals producers in Asia/Pacific, China, the Middle East and Eastern Europe! This is reinforced by a number of factors, most notably the forecasts which predict a slowing of transportation fuels growth approaching 2040 (with hybrids and EV’s), while the growth in chemicals (e.g., olefins and aromatics) is expected to increase as the population and middle class wealth continues to rise, increasing demand for packaging, consumer goods and even including automobiles (see Figure 1).

FIG. 1. Global chemical demand growth is forecast to outpace GDP and energy demand. Source: IHS

In response to these trends and requests from industry supporters, TCGR undertook its first comprehensive industry study “Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations” (completed in December 2017). In that study, which benchmarked ExxonMobil’s Singapore, ethylene cracker advances against the then proposed Aramco/SABIC Oil-to Chemicals project (TC2C™), we examined the technical and economics of greenfield vs revamp options for advanced configurations with new pipeline technologies in commercial and pilot for the next 5-10 years, which concluded that using light tight oils (LTOs), condensates and LNGs with feedstocks 35 API and higher with low metals and sulfur, indeed a ratio of 80/20 chemicals to fuels was achievable, with an advantage of up to $200/mt of margin was available over utilizing naphtha feedstocks.

Fast forward to today. As a result of TCGR’s 2017 report, and the overwhelming interest and ongoing field discussions as a consequence, we have been convinced by industry leaders to revisit the subject area because our first report, while extremely valuable, did not cover or closely examine existing infrastructures configured more towards Resid and VGO feedstock processing, in an effort to re-examine options.  TCGR has examined these and newer options which offer a different but plausible approach, including:

Update and Advances to Heavy Oil Processes

  • Carbon Rejection – Visbreaking Coil (FW/UOP), Soaker (Shell); Delayed Coking (Conoco Phillips/Bechtel), Others; Fluid and Flexicoking™, ExxonMobil; Deasphalting/Solvent Extraction (SDA); KBR Rose, IFP Hyvahl-Solvahl
  • Resid FCC – R2R+ (S&W/Axens), Flexicracking (EM/KBR), RFCC (UOP), Milos (Shell), Others
  • Hydrogen Addition – Ebulating Bed; H-Oil (Axens), Hycon (Shell), L-C Fining (McDermott); Slurry HC; HDH+ (Intevep), EST (ENI), HC3 (Headwaters), Microcat RC (ExxonMobil); Uniflex (UOP), BP, Others
  • Configuration Issues and Advances – OCP, Metathesis; Influences Regarding CAPEX Constraints; Tricks and Traps

Holistic Economics and Approaches to Complexes

  • Advances in New Configurations Already Commercialized During the Last Five Years, e.g. Shell, CLG, UOP, ExxonMobil and others
  • New Advances Likely to be Deployed During the Next Five years
  • Economics and Comparisons of Different Catalysts and Process Improvements
  • Analyses and Assessment to Impact Heavier Feedstock Upgrading
  • Recommendations 

Competitive and Strategic Implications

  • Number and Type of Investments
  • Impact on Olefins and Aromatics Supply/Demand

Of the main interests of producers, the two (2) most important are: 1) to decrease the capital intensity through scale, simplicity and location; and 2) to expand/maximize flexibility towards use of current (heavier) feedstocks in considering the “oil-to-chemicals” approach. The idea that better utilizing assets from within an integrated refinery site means that most likely you are already dealing at 10x, plus, the size of a world-scale petrochemical plant. Although scale counts, it is also only one of the many factors. New advanced configurations will now start to incorporate the planning of improved efficiency gains and reduced CO2 emissions, as well.

This “Oil-to-Chemicals II” report provides subscribers with:

  • Technical state-of-art (SOA) detail on recent 3-5 year improvements that have been or will be commercialized.
  • A professional assessment of advantages and disadvantages on each process technology.
  • Publicly available economics for each standalone process technology.

The results provide practitioners, developers and prospective partners/evaluators, especially the major global chemical (olefins, aromatics) producers, with the tools needed to evaluate technology options in specific case study applications, via mixing and matching unique solutions, in order to determine viability in practice or worthiness of further investment.  TCGR’s report, based on technology evaluations, commercial/market assessments and interviews with key players serves as a ”by the industry, for the industry” assessment and is a “must have” resource!

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 Notice to Subscribers of TCGR’s “Oil-to-Chemicals I” report (Dec. 2017):

Due to the complementary nature of this study to TCGR’s previous report in this area entitled “Oil-to-Chemicals: Technological Approaches and Advanced Process Configurations” (completed in December 2017), TCGR is offering a discount of $1,000 off “Oil-to-Chemicals II: New Approaches from Resid and VGOs” to subscribers of that study. Subscribers are requested to contact John J. Murphy at +1.215.628.4447, or John.J.Murphy@catalystgrp.com if further details are required or to determine if your organization is entitled. When completing the order form, please make sure to indicate your company’s subscription to the earlier report.

Additional information, including the complete study presentation, the actual 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.

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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.

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