Hydroprocessing to Maximize Refinery Profitability
Refineries are continuously challenged to produce more and cleaner products from a broader range of feeds, preferably with limited or no capital investments.
In the short term, changes in spot market prices for both crude oil and products have forced refiners to re-evaluate their process options and planned investments in search of higher operational flexibility. This has led to investments in hydrocracking, as hydrocrackers are often a key factor in achieving greater refinery agility and in staying in sync with market fluctuations so as to maximize refinery margins.
In the medium term, the global demand for refined products continues to grow at about 1.4% per annum, and the demand for refined products continues to shift from gasoline to middle distillates. This has reinforced a drive to invest in hydrocracking, as hydrocrackers are capable of processing a wide variety of feedstocks and of producing environ- mentally benign products, particularly clean diesel. We show that low-cost changes in catalyst systems can significantly enhance operational flexibility and increase returns on investment. Clearly, catalyst system selection is more important than ever before, because it is critical to proper unit utilization and profit maximization. This article discusses recent examples of refinery margin enhancements that were achieved through the deployment of CLG processes and catalysts.