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Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining

Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining

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Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining

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803 pages
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Nov 19, 2009


Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining presents the fundamentals of thermodynamics and kinetics, and it explains the scientific background essential for understanding refinery operations. The text also provides a detailed introduction to refinery engineering topics, ranging from the basic principles and unit operations to overall refinery economics.

The book covers important topics, such as clean fuels, gasification, biofuels, and environmental impact of refining, which are not commonly discussed in most refinery textbooks. Throughout the source, problem sets and examples are given to help the reader practice and apply the fundamental principles of refining. Chapters 1-10 can be used as core materials for teaching undergraduate courses. The first two chapters present an introduction to the petroleum refining industry and then focus on feedstocks and products. Thermophysical properties of crude oils and petroleum fractions, including processes of atmospheric and vacuum distillations, are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. Conversion processes, product blending, and alkylation are covered in chapters 5-10. The remaining chapters discuss hydrogen production, clean fuel production, refining economics and safety, acid gas treatment and removal, and methods for environmental and effluent treatments.

This source can serve both professionals and students (on undergraduate and graduate levels) of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Chemistry, and Chemical Technology. Beginners in the engineering field, specifically in the oil and gas industry, may also find this book invaluable.

  • Provides balanced coverage of fundamental and operational topics
  • Includes spreadsheets and process simulators for showing trends and simulation case studies
  • Relates processing to planning and management to give an integrated picture of refining
Nov 19, 2009

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Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining - Mohamed A. Fahim


Brief Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Refinery Feedstocks and Products

Chapter 3. Thermophysical Properties of Petroleum Fractions and Crude Oils

Chapter Four. Crude Distillation

Chapter 5. Catalytic Reforming and Isomerization

Chapter 6. Thermal Cracking and Coking

Chapter 7. Hydroconversion

Chapter 8. Fluidised Catalytic Cracking

Chapter 9. Product Blending

Chapter 10. Alkylation

Chapter 11. Hydrogen Production

Chapter 12. Clean Fuels

Chapter 13. Residue Upgrading

Chapter 14. Safety in Petroleum Refineries

Chapter 15. Acid Gas Processing and Mercaptans Removal

Chapter 16. Refinery Economics

Chapter 17. Environmental Aspects in Refining

Chapter 18. Overall Refinery Case Study

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. Introduction

1.2. Refining Processes

1.2.1. Physical Separation Processes

1.2.2. Chemical Catalytic Conversion Processes

1.2.3. Thermal Chemical Conversion Processes

1.3. Refinery Configuration

1.3.1. Type of Products

1.3.2. Environmental Regulation

1.3.3. Crude Assay and Quality

1.3.4. Refinery-petrochemical Integration

1.3.5. Development of New Technology

Chapter 2. Refinery Feedstocks and Products

2.1. Introduction

2.2. Composition of Crude Oils

2.2.1. Paraffins

2.2.2. Olefins

2.2.3. Naphthenes (cycloalkanes)

2.2.4. Aromatics

2.2.5. Sulphur Compounds

2.2.6. Oxygen Compounds

2.2.7. Nitrogen Compounds

2.2.8. Metallic Compounds

2.2.9. Asphaltenes and Resins

2.3. Products Composition

2.3.1. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

2.3.2. Gasoline

2.3.3. Kerosene

2.3.4. Jet Fuel

2.3.5. Diesel Fuel

2.3.6. Fuel Oil

2.3.7. Residual Fuel Oil

2.3.8. Lube Oil

2.3.9. Asphalt

2.3.10. Petroleum Coke

2.4. Physical Property Characterization Data

2.4.1. Fractionation

2.4.2. True Boiling Point Distillation

2.4.3. ASTM Distillation

2.4.4. Simulated Distillation by Gas Chromatography

2.4.5. API Gravity

2.4.6. Pour Point

2.4.7. Viscosity

2.4.8. Refractive Index

2.4.9. Freezing Point

2.4.10. Aniline Point

2.4.11. Flash Point

2.4.12. Octane Number

2.4.13. Cetane Number

2.4.14. Smoke Point

2.4.15. Reid Vapour Pressure

2.4.16. Water, Salt and Sediment

2.4.17. Molecular Weight

2.5. Chemical Analysis Data

2.5.1. Elemental Analysis

2.5.2. Carbon Residue

2.5.3. Detailed Hydrocarbon Analysis

2.5.4. Hydrocarbon Family Analysis

2.5.5. Aromatic Carbon Content

2.5.6. SARA Analysis

Chapter 3. Thermophysical Properties of Petroleum Fractions and Crude Oils

3.1. Introduction

3.2. Basic Input Data

3.2.1. Specific Gravity

3.2.2. Boiling Point Curves

3.2.3. ASTM Distillation

3.2.4. True Boiling Point Distillation

3.2.5. Conversion between ASTM and TBP Distillation

3.3. Pseudo-Components

3.3.1. Breakup of TBP Curve into Pseudo-components

3.3.2. Breakup of TBP Curve into Pseudo-components Using Generalized Form

3.3.3. Calculation of Pseudo-components Specific Gravities

3.4. Thermophysical Properties Calculation

3.4.1. Molecular Weight

3.4.2. Viscosity

3.4.3. Refractive Index

3.4.4. Molecular Type Composition of Petroleum Fractions

3.4.5. Pseudo-critical Constants and Acentric Factors

3.4.6. Generalized Equation for Thermophysical Properties

3.5. Calculation of Enthalpy of Petroleum Fractions

3.6. Estimation of Properties Related to Phase Changes

3.6.1. Cubic Equations of State

3.6.2. Vapour–liquid Equilibrium

3.7. Calculating Properties Utilizing UNISIM Software

Questions and Problems

Chapter Four. Crude Distillation

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Process Description

4.3. Operation of Crude Distillation Units

4.3.1. Fractionation

4.3.2. Overflash

4.3.3. Column Pressure

4.3.4. Overhead Temperature

4.3.5. Pre-flash Columns and Crude Column Capacity

4.4. Crude Oil Desalting

4.4.1. Types of Salts in Crude Oil

4.4.2. Desalting Process

4.4.3. Description of Desalter

4.4.4. Desalter Operating Variables

4.5. Vacuum Distillation

4.5.1. Process Description

4.6. Crude Distillation Material Balance

4.6.1. Crude Assay Data

4.6.2. Material Balance

4.6.3. Sulphur Material Balance

4.7. Design of Crude Distillation Units Using Process Simulators

Questions and Problems

Chapter 5. Catalytic Reforming and Isomerization

5.1. Introduction

5.2. Catalytic Reforming

5.2.1. Reformer Feed Characterization

5.2.2. Role of Reformer in the Refinery and Feed Preparation

5.2.3. Research Octane Number

5.2.4. Reforming Reactions

5.2.5. Thermodynamics of Reforming Reactions

5.2.6. Reaction Kinetics and Catalysts

5.2.7. Process Technology

5.2.8. Material Balance in Reforming

5.2.9. Process Simulation of Reformer by Equilibrium Reactions

5.3. Isomerization of Light Naphtha

5.3.1. Thermodynamics of Isomerization

5.3.2. Isomerization Reactions

5.3.3. Isomerization Catalysts

5.3.4. Isomerization Yields

Questions and Problems

Chapter 6. Thermal Cracking and Coking

6.1. Introduction

6.2. Coke Formation

6.3. Thermodynamics of Coking of Light Hydrocarbons

6.4. Visbreaking

6.4.1. Feed Sources

6.4.2. Visbreaking Reactions

6.4.3. Visbreaking Severity

6.4.4. Kinetics of Visbreaking

6.4.5. Product Yield and Properties

6.4.6. Prediction of Visbreaking Yields

6.4.7. Process Description

6.5. Delayed Coking

6.5.1. Role of Delayed Coker

6.5.2. Process Description

6.5.3. Delayed Coking Variables

6.5.4. Types of Coke and their Properties

6.5.5. Coking and Decoking Operation

6.5.6. Delayed Coker Yield Prediction

6.5.7. Process Simulation of Delayed Coking

6.6. Fluid Coking

6.7. Flexicoking

6.7.1. Yield Correlations for Flexicoking

Questions and Problems

Chapter 7. Hydroconversion

7.1. Introduction

7.2. Hydrotreating

7.2.1. Objectives of Hydrotreating

7.2.2. Role of Hydrotreating

7.2.3. Chemistry of Hydrotreating

7.2.4. Hydrotreating Catalysts

7.2.5. Thermodynamics of Hydrotreating

7.2.8. Make-up Hydrogen

7.2.9. Operating Conditions

7.2.10. Hydrotreating Correlations

7.2.11. Simulation of ARDS Unit

7.3. Hydrocracking

7.3.1. Role of Hydrocracking in the Refinery

7.3.2. Feeds and Products

7.3.3. Hydrocracking Chemistry

7.3.4. Hydrocracking Catalysts

7.3.5. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Hydrocracking

7.3.6. Hydrocracking Processes

7.3.7. Process Configuration

7.3.8. Hydrocracking Severity

7.3.9. Catalytic Dewaxing

7.3.10. Hydrocracking Correlations

7.3.11. Simulation of Hydrocracking Units

Question and Problems

Chapter 8. Fluidised Catalytic Cracking

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Role of FCC in the Refinery

8.3. Feedstock and Products

8.4. Fluidisation

8.5. FCC Reactions

8.5.1. Primary Reactions

8.5.2. Secondary Reactions

8.6. Thermodynamics of FCC Reactions

8.7. FCC Catalyst

8.7.1. Zeolite

8.7.2. Matrix

8.8. FCC Configuration

8.9. Process Description

8.10. Modes of Fluidisation in FCC unit

8.11. FCC Yield Correlations

8.12. Material and Energy Balances

8.12.1. Material Balance

8.12.2. Energy Balance

8.13. Kinetic Model for FCC Reactor

8.14. Concentration and Temperature Profiles in the Riser

8.15. Simulation of FCC unit

8.16. New Technology

8.16.1. Deep Catalytic Cracking

8.16.2. Catalytic Pyrolysis Process

8.16.3. Petro-FCC

Questions and Problems

Chapter 9. Product Blending

9.1. Introduction

9.2. Reid Vapour Pressure Blending

9.3. Flash Point Blending

9.4. Pour Point Blending

9.5. Cloud Point Blending

9.6. Aniline Point Blending

9.7. Smoke Point Blending

9.8. Viscosity Blending

9.9. Gasoline Octane Number Blending

9.10. Linear Programming (LP) For Blending

Questions and Problems

Chapter 10. Alkylation

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Role of Alkylation and Polymerization Units in the Refinery

10.3. Alkylation Processes

10.3.1. Sulphuric Acid Alkylation Process

10.3.2. Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation

10.3.3. Solid Catalyst Alkylation

10.3.4. AlkyClean Process

10.4. Kinetics and Thermodynamics of Alkylation

10.4.1. Effect of Operating Conditions

10.5. Performance of Alkylation Process

10.6. Material Balance Calculations Using Yield Factors

10.7. Simulation of the Alkylation Process

Questions and Problems

Chapter 11. Hydrogen Production

11.1. Introduction

11.2. Hydrogen Requirements in Modern Refineries

11.3. Steam Reforming

11.3.1. Flow Process

11.3.2. Feed Preparation

11.3.3. Steam Reforming Reactions

11.3.4. Thermodynamics of Steam Reforming

11.3.5. Operating Variables (Crew and Shumake, 2006)

11.3.6. Reformer Process Simulation

11.4. Product Purification

11.4.1. High-Temperature Shift Converter

11.4.2. Low-Temperature Shift Converter

11.4.3. Carbon Dioxide Removal

11.5. New Developments in Steam Reforming

Questions and Problems

Chapter 12. Clean Fuels

12.1. Introduction

12.2. Specifications of Clean Fuels

12.3. Production of Clean Fuels from Crude Oil

12.3.1. Deep Desulphurization

12.4. Production of Clean Fuels from Natural Gas and Coal

12.4.1. Synthesis Gas Production

12.5. Production of Clean Fuels from Biological Sources (Biofuels)

12.5.1. Bio-diesel

12.5.2. Ethanol and Methanol

12.5.3. Bio-Fuel from Flash Pyrolysis

12.5.4. Bio-Fuel from Hydrothermal Upgrading (HTU)

12.5.5. Gasification Routes

Questions and Problems

Chapter 13. Residue Upgrading

13.1. Introduction

13.2. Upgrading Options

13.3. Non-catalytic Residue Upgrading Processes

13.3.1. Solvent Deasphalting

13.3.2. Thermal Processes

13.4. Catalytic Processes

13.4.1. Residue-fluidized Catalytic Cracking

13.4.2. Hydroprocessing

13.4.3. Aquaconversion

Questions and Problems

Chapter 14. Safety in Petroleum Refineries

14.1. Introduction

14.2. Hazards in Refinery Units

14.2.1. Crude Oil Pre-treatment

14.2.2. Crude Oil Distillation

14.2.3. Catalytic Reforming

14.2.4. Thermal Cracking

14.2.5. Hydrotreating and Hydrocracking

14.2.6. Fluid Catalytic Cracking

14.2.7. Alkylation

14.2.8. Hydrogen Production

14.3. Safety Programs and Regulations

14.4. Accidents and Loss Prevention Measures

14.5. Risk Management and Risk Assessment

14.6. Fire and Explosions

14.7. Hazard Analysis

14.7.1. Worst Case Scenario

14.7.2. Fault Tree Analysis

14.7.3. HAZOP Case Study

14.8. Safety Considerations in Plant Layout

14.9. Safe Operation Systems

14.9.1. Pressure Relief Systems

14.9.2. Flare Relief System

14.9.3. Air Emission Monitoring

14.9.4. Water Emission Monitoring

14.9.5. Solid Waste Monitoring

14.10. Emergency Alarms

14.11. Noise in Refinery

Questions and Problems

Chapter 15. Acid Gas Processing and Mercaptans Removal

15.1. Introduction

15.2. Absorption of Acid Gases

15.2.1. Chemical Solvents

15.2.3. Membrane Absorption

15.3. Sulphur Recovery

15.3.1. Claus Process

15.3.2. Tail Gas Clean Up

15.4. Mercaptans Removal

15.4.1. Gasoline MEROX

15.4.2. Kerosene MEROX

Question and Problems

Chapter 16. Refinery Economics

16.1. Introduction

16.2. Refining Capacity

16.3. Refining Costs

16.3.1. Capital Costs

16.3.2. Operating Costs

16.3.3. Factors Affecting Refinery Costs

16.4. Refining Margins

16.5. Refinery Complexity

16.6. Economic Analysis

16.6.1. Cash Flow Diagram

16.6.2. Time Value of Money

16.6.3. Inflation

16.6.4. Taxation and After-tax Cash Flow

16.6.5. Profitability and Project Evaluation

16.6.6. Case Study: Refinery Economic Evaluation

16.7. Global Trends

Questions and Problems

Chapter 17. Environmental Aspects in Refining

17.1. Introduction

17.2. Wastes in Refinery Units

17.2.1. Desalter

17.2.2. Crude Distillation

17.2.3. Catalytic Reforming and Isomerization

17.2.4. Thermal Cracking and Coking

17.2.5. Hydrocracking

17.2.6. Hydrotreating

17.2.7. Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC)

17.2.8. Alkylation

17.2.9. Asphalt Production, Solvent Extraction and Dewaxing

17.2.10. Hydrogen Production

17.3. Waste Management

17.3.1. Gas Waste

17.3.2. Wastewater

17.3.3. Solid Waste

Questions and Problems

Chapter 18. Overall Refinery Case Study

18.1. Introduction

18.2. The Case Study



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Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining provides a thorough and balanced introduction to refinery engineering topics from basic concepts and unit operations to overall refinery economics. Based on the fundamentals of thermodynamics and kinetics, the text develops the scientific background needed for an understanding of refinery operations. It also provides an in-depth description of major refinery processes and then assimilates an integrated refinery by focusing on the economic and operational aspects necessary for enhancing performance and profitability.

The authors have over two decades of experience teaching and consulting in the field of petroleum refining. Although there are a number of books on petroleum refining, very few of them can be considered suitable for teaching the subject in a manner that integrates engineering fundamentals and petroleum refining technology. Our book has more in-depth coverage and more examples on using computational tools.

Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining serves both professionals and academics. It is mainly directed towards undergraduate and graduate students in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Technology. College graduates new to the field of engineering, who may just be starting their careers in the oil and gas industry, will also find the text useful. Professionals and academics will also benefit from this book. For experienced engineers and managers, Fundamentals of Petroleum Refining is ideal for acquiring the necessary background in the field and understanding new applications in the refining industry.

The book includes important subjects which are not commonly considered in refinery textbooks. Topics include clean fuels, gasification, biofuels and the environmental impact of refining. Throughout the book, numerous problem sets and examples are given in order to put the fundamental principles of refining into practice. Many worked examples offer clear understanding of the covered subjects. Excel spreadsheets for property and material balance calculations help in performing detailed and repetitive calculations and these are to be found at http://www.elsevierdirect.com/companions/9780444527851. Examples on using process simulators (UNISIM) are also presented. The text begins with an introduction to the petroleum refining industry then focuses on feedstocks and products in Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 covers the subject of calculating the thermo-physical properties of crude oils and petroleum fractions. Atmospheric and vacuum distillations are covered in Chapter 4. Major conversion processes are described in Chapters 5–8. These chapters cover the subjects of catalytic reforming and isomerization, coking, hydroconversion (hydrotreating and hydrocracking) and fluid catalytic cracking. Product blending is covered in Chapter 9, and alkylation is explained in Chapter 10. The subject of hydrogen production, which is of principal importance in a modern refinery, is covered in Chapter 11. Due to the changing energy outlook in terms of pollution regulations on burning fuels, clean fuel production is discussed in Chapter 12.

A great deal of attention has been given in the last few years to residue upgrading in order to improve the economics of refining. Chapter 13 discusses this issue in detail. Refinery safety is also an important topic and is thoroughly reviewed in Chapter 14. Acid gas treatment and removal are discussed in Chapter 15. The factors related to refinery economics are reviewed in Chapter 16. Environmental and effluent treatment methods are discussed in Chapter 17. An overall case study is given in Chapter 18.

Chapters 1–10 can be used as core materials for teaching an undergraduate course in petroleum refining. If time allows, parts of other chapters can also be used. The book also covers more advanced topics, which might be used for an introductory graduate course. Throughout the book, empirical correlations are used to calculate product yields and perform material balances. These correlations are mainly based on regression of published pilot plant data.

The authors would like to thank Dr Souad Al-Radwan and Engineer Hussein Said of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) for their valuable comments on some technical issues. We would also like to thank Engineers Mohamed Hamed and Khalid Damiyar for their technical help during the production of this book. Many thanks go to Ms Jennifer Baran for her excellent proofreading and language editing of the book.

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. Introduction

Petroleum refining plays an important role in our lives. Most transportation vehicles are powered by refined products such as gasoline, diesel, aviation turbine kerosene (ATK) and fuel oil. The recent price rise of crude oil from $50 to $150 per bbl over the last 2 years has affected the refining industry in three ways: First is an increased search for fuel products from non-fossil sources such as biodiesel and alcohols from vegetable sources, second is the development of better methods to process tar sand, coal gasification and synthesis of fuels by Fischer–Tropsch (FT) technology and third is the initiation of long-term plans to look for renewable energy sources. However, crude oil prices are still a cheap source for transportation fuels and petrochemicals.

On the other hand, stricter environment regulations have raised the cost of producing clean fuels. This motivated the search for producing clean fuels by non-conventional methods, such as by ambient desulphurization by liquid oxidants. Olefin alkylation and Fischer–Tropsch are other possible methods for producing clean fuels. New technology and better design of refinery equipment are also being developed in order to produce clean and less expense fuels.

In the modern refinery, the refining processes are classified as either physical separation or chemical conversion ones. Examples for each class are given in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1. Major refining processes in modern refineries

1.2. Refining Processes

1.2.1. Physical Separation Processes Crude Distillation

Crude oils are first desalted and then introduced with steam to an atmospheric distillation column. The atmospheric residue is then introduced to a vacuum distillation tower operating at about 50 mmHg, where heavier products are obtained. Typical products from both columns and their boiling point ranges are listed in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2. Crude distillation products (Gary and Handwerk, 2001)

* The yields quoted here depend on feed composition and properties. In this case feed API was 26.3. Solvent Deasphalting

This is the only physical process where carbon is rejected from heavy petroleum fraction such as vacuum residue. Propane in liquid form (at moderate pressure) is usually used to dissolve the whole oil, leaving asphaltene to precipitate. The deasphalted oil (DAO) has low sulphur and metal contents since these are removed with asphaltene. This oil is also called Bright Stock and is used as feedstock for lube oil plant. The DAO can also be sent to cracking units to increase light oil production. Solvent Extraction

In this process, lube oil stock is treated by a solvent, such as N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), which can dissolve the aromatic components in one phase (extract) and the rest of the oil in another phase (raffinate). The solvent is removed from both phases and the raffinate is dewaxed. Solvent Dewaxing

The raffinate is dissolved in a solvent (methyl ethyl ketone, MEK) and the solution is gradually chilled, during which high molecular weight paraffin (wax) is crystallized, and the remaining solution is filtered. The extracted and dewaxed resulting oil is called lube oil. In some modern refineries removal of aromatics and waxes is carried out by catalytic processes in all hydrogenation process.

1.2.2. Chemical Catalytic Conversion Processes Catalytic Reforming

In this process a special catalyst (platinum metal supported on silica or silica base alumina) is used to restructure naphtha fraction (C⁶–C¹⁰) into aromatics and isoparaffins. The produced naphtha reformate has a much higher octane number than the feed. This reformate is used in gasoline formulation and as a feedstock for aromatic production (benzene–toluene–xylene, BTX). Hydrotreating

This is one of the major processes for the cleaning of petroleum fractions from impurities such as sulphur, nitrogen, oxy-compounds, chloro-compounds, aromatics, waxes and metals using hydrogen. The catalyst is selected to suit the degree of hydrotreating and type of impurity. Catalysts, such as cobalt and molybdenum oxides on alumina matrix, are commonly used. Catalytic Hydrocracking

For higher molecular weight fractions such as atmospheric residues (AR) and vacuum gas oils (VGOs), cracking in the presence of hydrogen is required to get light products. In this case a dual function catalyst is used. It is composed of a zeolite catalyst for the cracking function and rare earth metals supported on alumina for the hydrogenation function. The main products are kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and fuel oil. Catalytic Cracking

Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the main player for the production of gasoline. The catalyst in this case is a zeolite base for the cracking function. The main feed to FCC is VGO and the product is gasoline, but some gas oil and refinery gases are also produced. Alkylation

) to produce a gasoline range alkylate. The catalyst in this case is either sulphuric acid or hydrofluoric acid. The hydrocarbons and acid react in liquid phase. Isobutane and olefins are collected mainly from FCC and delayed coker. Isomerization

Isomerization of light naphtha is the process in which low octane number hydrocarbons (C⁴, C⁵, C⁶) are transformed to a branched product with the same carbon number. This process produces high octane number products. One main advantage of this process is to separate hexane (C⁶) before it enters the reformer, thus preventing the formation of benzene which produces carcinogenic products on combustion with gasoline. The main catalyst in this case is a Pt-zeolite base.

1.2.3. Thermal Chemical Conversion Processes

These processes are considered as upgrading processes for vacuum residue. Delayed Coking

This process is based on the thermal cracking of vacuum residue by carbon rejection forming coke and lighter products such as gases, gasoline and gas oils. Three types of coke can be produced: sponge, shot and needle. The vacuum residue is heated in a furnace and flashed into large drums where coke is deposited on the walls of these drums, and the rest of the products are separated by distillation. Flexicoking

In this thermal process, most of the coke is gasified into fuel gas using steam and air. The burning of coke by air will provide the heat required for thermal cracking. The products are gases, gasoline and gas oils with very little coke. Visbreaking

This is a mild thermal cracking process used to break the high viscosity and pour points of vacuum residue to the level which can be used in further downstream processes. In this case, the residue is either broken in the furnace coil (coil visbreaking) or soaked in a reactor for a few minutes (soaker visbreaker). The products are gases, gasoline, gas oil and the unconverted residue.

A schematic diagram of a modern refinery containing most of the processes described above is given in Figure 1.1 (Gary and Handwerk, 2001).

Figure 1.1. The Modern refinery

1.3. Refinery Configuration

The refinery configuration can range from single topping for crude distillation to high conversion refinery for petro-refinery. This will depend on the factors indicated in the following sections (Jones and Pufado, 2005):

1.3.1. Type of Products

In this case, refining is carried out by increasing the hydrogen/carbon (H/C) ratio. This can be achieved either by hydrogenation processes such as hydrotreating, hydrocracking or by carbon rejection processes such as thermal cracking (coking) and FCC. The products of such processes are shown in Fig. 1.2 (Speight, 1999).

Figure 1.2. Petroleum products (Speight, 1999)

Some products can also be produced by special refining operations, like in catalytic reforming, isomerization and alkylation. In Figure 1.2, the products are classified in terms of average carbon number and H/C ratios.

1.3.2. Environmental Regulation

Modern regulations in many countries require a low level of contaminants like sulphur. This requires the change of severity or design of hydroconversion units which can produce ultra low sulphur products. Clean fuels are gaining great interest, and completely new refinery configurations are now being introduced to produce clean fuels from new refinery feeds and configurations. Additional units have been added to existing refineries to handle untreated gas emissions and refinery waste water due to changes in environmental regulations.

1.3.3. Crude Assay and Quality

Crude quality is getting heavier worldwide. Existing refineries, which are designed to handle normal crudes are being modified to handle heavy crude. New technology for upgrading is used to obtain clean and light products from lower cost feeds. The crude assay will determine the yields of different cuts and consequently, the refinery configuration. A high conversion cracking-coking refinery is shown in Figure 1.3 (Jones and Pufado, 2005).

Figure 1.3. A high conversion refinery

1.3.4. Refinery-petrochemical Integration

The growth of the petrochemical industry has put pressure on refineries to either change their configuration or operating conditions to produce more aromatics and gases. FCC has been developed to petro-FCC which produces high yield of gases. The phasing out of the idea of increasing the octane number by increasing aromatic content has changed the role of the catalytic reformer to produce a high yield of aromatics as BTX feedstock. The addition of gasification units to process vacuum residue has opened the way for the addition of a variety of petrochemicals. Such a refinery-petrochemical configuration is shown in Fig. 1.4 (Crawford et al., 2002).

Figure 1.4. Refinery-petrochemical integration

1.3.5. Development of New Technology

If a new technology is developed to give better yields, save energy, meet environmental regulations and product specifications, then this technology might replace old technology in existing and new refineries, depending on the economics. Other factors, which might influence the refinery configuration, are feedstock availability, product markets and a company's strategic objectives.



Crawford et al., 2002 C.D. Crawford, P.R. Bharvani, D.G. Chapel, Integrating petrochemicals into the refinery Hydrocarbon Process 7 2002, 35-38

Gary and Handwerk, 2001 J.H. Gary, G.E. Handwerk, Petroleum Refining Technology and Economics 4th ed. 2001 Marcel Dekker New York

Jones and Pufado, 2005 D.S.J Jones, P.R. Pufado, Handbook Of Petroleum Processing. 2005 Springer Berlin

Speight, 1999 J.G. Speight, The Chemistry and Technology of Petroleum 3rd ed. 1999 Marcel Dekker New York

Chapter 2. Refinery Feedstocks and Products

2.1. Introduction

A petroleum refining study starts with describing its feedstock, the crude oil and the range of products that are produced by the various processes. Crude oil comes from different parts of the world and has different physical and chemical characteristics. On the other hand, the products that are produced have to meet market requirements and as such, should comply with certain specifications.

2.2. Composition of Crude Oils

Crude oil is a complex liquid mixture made up of a vast number of hydrocarbon compounds that consist mainly of carbon and hydrogen in differing proportions. In addition, small amounts of organic compounds containing sulphur, oxygen, nitrogen and metals such as vanadium, nickel, iron and copper are also present. Hydrogen to carbon ratios affect the physical properties of crude oil. As the hydrogen to carbon ratio decreases, the gravity and boiling point of the hydrocarbon compounds increases. Moreover, the higher the hydrogen to carbon ratio of the feedstock, the higher its value is to a refinery because less hydrogen is required.

The composition of crude oil, on an elemental basis, falls within certain ranges regardless of its origin. Table 2.1 shows that carbon and hydrogen contents vary within narrow ranges. For this reason, crude oil is not classified on the basis of carbon content. Despite their low concentrations, impurities such as sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen and metals are undesirable because they cause concerns in the processability of crude feedstock and because they affect the quality of the produced products. Catalyst poisoning and corrosion are the most noticeable effects during refining.

Table 2.1. Elemental composition of crude oils (Roussel and Boulet, 1995c)

There are three main classes of hydrocarbons. These are based on the type of carbon–carbon bonds present (Roussel and Boulet, 1995b). These classes are:

Saturated hydrocarbons contain only carbon–carbon single bonds. They are known as paraffins (or alkanes) if they are acyclic, or naphthenes (or cycloalkanes) if they are cyclic.

Unsaturated hydrocarbons contain carbon–carbon multiple bonds (double, triple or both). These are unsaturated because they contain fewer hydrogens per carbon than paraffins. Unsaturated hydrocarbons are known as olefins. Those that contain a carbon–carbon double bond are called alkenes, while those with carbon–carbon triple bond are alkyenes.

Aromatic hydrocarbons are special class of cyclic compounds related in structure to benzene.

2.2.1. Paraffins

Paraffins, also known as alkanes, are saturated compounds that have the general formula Cnn+2, where n is the number of carbon atoms. The simplest alkane is methane (CH⁴), which is also represented as C¹.

Normal paraffins (n-paraffins or n-alkanes) are unbranched straight-chain molecules. Each member of these paraffins differs from the next higher and the next lower member by a –CH²– group called a methylene group (Table 2.2). They have similar chemical and physical properties, which change gradually as carbon atoms are added to the chain.

Table 2.2. Names and formulas of the first ten parrafins (alkanes)

Isoparaffins (or isoalkanes) are branched-type hydrocarbons that exhibit structural isomerization. Structural isomerization occurs when two molecules have the same atoms but different bonds. In other words, the molecules have the same formulas but different arrangements of atoms, known as isomers. Butane and all succeeding alkanes can exist as straight-chain molecules (n-paraffins) or with a branched-chain structure (isoparaffins). For example, butane and pentane have the following structural isomers:

The number of isomers increases geometrically with the carbon number. While there are two isomers for butane and three for pentane, there are 75 isomers for decane (C¹⁰H²²). For paraffins in the range of C⁵–C¹², there are more than 600 isomers with only 200–400 that are identified in petroleum fractions. Because of their different structures, these isomers have different properties. For instance, the presence of isoparaffins in gasoline is essential for increasing the octane number of gasoline fuels.

2.2.2. Olefins

Olefins, also known as alkenes, are unsaturated hydrocarbons containing carbon–carbon double bonds. Compounds containing carbon–carbon triple bonds are known as acetylenes, and are also known as biolefins or alkynes. The general formulas of olefins and acetylenes are Cnn(R–CH=CH–R′) and Cnn−2(R–CH≡C–R′), respectively. Unsaturated compounds may have more than one double or triple bond. If two double bonds are present, the compounds are called alkadienes or, more commonly, dienes (R–CH= CH–CH=R′). There are also trienes, tetraenes and even polyenes.

Olefins are not naturally present in crude oils but they are formed during the conversion processes. They are more reactive than paraffins. The lightest alkenes are ethylene (C²H⁴) and propylene (C³H⁶), which are important feedstocks for the petrochemical industry. The lightest alkyne is acetylene.

2.2.3. Naphthenes (cycloalkanes)

Naphthenes, also known as cycloalkanes, are saturated hydrocarbons that have at least one ring of carbon atoms. They have the general formula Cnn. A common example is cyclohexane (C⁶H¹²).

The boiling point and densities of naphthenes are higher than those of alkanes having the same number of carbon atoms. Naphthenes commonly present in crude oil are rings with five or six carbon atoms. These rings usually have alkyl substituents attached to them. Mutli-ring naphthenes are present in the heavier parts of the crude oil. Examples of naphthenes are shown below.

2.2.4. Aromatics

Aromatics are unsaturated cyclic compounds composed of one or more benzene rings. The benzene ring has three double bonds with unique electron arrangements that make it quite stable.

Crude oils from various origins contain different types of aromatic compounds in different concentrations. Light petroleum fractions contain mono-aromatics, which have one benzene ring with one or more of the hydrogen atoms substituted by another atom or alkyl groups. Examples of these compounds are toluene and xylene. Together with benzene, such compounds are important petrochemical feedstocks, and their presence in gasoline increases the octane number.

More complex aromatic compounds consist of a number of fused benzene rings. These are known as polynuclear aromatic compounds. They are found in the heavy petroleum cuts, and their presence is undesirable because they cause catalyst deactivation and coke deposition during processing, besides causing environmental problems when they are present in diesel and fuel oils. The heaviest portion of the crude oil contains asphaltenes, which are condensed polynuclear aromatic compounds

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