Hydroprocessing Upgrades to Meet Changing Fuels Requirements



Refiners have to think creatively in order to meet specifications and develop projects that are profitable, with returns on investment that are subject to a higher level of scrutiny in view of restrictions on capex. Light-heavy crude differentials have recently eroded, but the expectation is that the differentials will recover and encourage the development of projects that meet fuels regulations with some bottom of the barrel conversion to light products. There also appears to be momentum in the marketplace to increase diesel production, in the US in particular, with an expected increase in the use of diesel-powered engines for personal vehicles.
Revamps of existing units can provide the refiner with the ability to generate high returns on restricted capital investments. Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) has debottlenecked and revamped a number of hydro-processing units to meet changes in fuels regulations and feed- stocks, achieve capacity increases and increase the output of light products. This article discusses four revamp configurations in all areas of hydroprocessing technology, some of which have been fully implemented and others at various stages of project execution.