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Unlocking current renery constraints

When processing heavy feeds, technology based on residuum supercritical solvent extraction provides higher volumes of gas oil and DAO for conversion
Rashid Iqbal, Asif Khan, Odette Eng and Raymond Floyd KBR

he escalating demand for petroleum-refined products Distillation More feed for and high differentials separation downstream units between light and heavy crude oils have increased the usage of Naphtha heavier crude oils. Examples of heavy crude oils Distillate being used by refiners today include Athabasca bitumen, Lloydminster and Cold Lake FCC/HCU feed Increased heavy oils from Canada, Maya yields $ $ from Mexico, Arab Heavy from with ROSE Vacuum separation the Middle East, and other African and Venezuelan crude Vac. resid. oils. When added to the conventional crude diet, these heavier crude oils with higher resid content will either increase fuel Figure 1 Increased yields from bottom of barrel oil make or begin to burden existing vacuum and coking units. At the same time, the gas CDU CDU oil content in heavier crudes is DAO MPHC usually lower compared to HCU conventional crudes, resulting in or VGO FCC Rose VDU lower feed to conversion units, such as the FCC or hydrocracker DAO unit. Asphalt Rose Coker The increasing oil price is motiCoker vating refiners to look for solutions to extract more from Figure 3 ROSE unit where there is no vacuum and coker the bottom of the barrel in a more cost-effective way. Refiners are increasingly using solvent Figure 2 ROSE unit to debottleneck coker feed rate by up to deasphalting in the following vacuum and coker 50%. The coke make is also applications: reduced by 1520%, thus Debottlenecking existing vacuum and coking debottle-necking the existing cokers units: for refineries feeding vacuum residue to In place of vacuum distillation: the higher cokers, the addition of KBRs ROSE (residuum yields from a ROSE unit when compared to oil supercritical extraction) unit reduces the vacuum distillation units help refiners improve

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Comparisons
How is this process different to conventional SDA? It is a highly rm Supercritical energy-efficient solvent deasphalting B s fluid in cr technology in which most of the A ea C solvent is recovered in supercritical si ng Liquid mode. In Figure 4, point C repreD T sents supercritical phase separation conditions and point F represents E conditions used by conventional SDA processes for separating solvent. The energy required for supercritical separation (CA) is less than one-third of that required for conventional (FA) SDA A Extractor Vapour B Heater inlet processes. C DAO separator The ROSE process uses special D Solvent cooler F E Flash internals and design parameters F Stripper that permit the extraction of maximum quantities of high-quality DAO Increasing enthalpy from atmospheric or vacuum residues and other heavy petroleum Figure 4 Supercritical solvent recovery mollier diagram feedstocks. The high-efficiency overall refinery liquid yields by 25 vol%. internals reduce capital costs by allowing the use Figures 2 and 3 show the processing options of smaller separator vessels. The asphaltene for debottlenecking existing vacuum and coker content of the DAO from the ROSE unit is units by using a ROSE unit in a revamp situa- normally less than 200 ppmw, compared to tion, or investing in a ROSE unit instead of a around 800 ppmw for other SDA processes. The vacuum unit in a grassroots application. DAO produced also has substantially reduced contaminants, such as nickel, vanadium, sulphur SDA history and Conradson carbon when compared to The oil refining industry has used solvent deas- residues. phalting (SDA) for over 50 years. Conventional These benefits (ie, lower energy usage, use of SDA units separate solvent from deasphalted smaller separators and cleaner DAO) have been oils (DAO) by boiling. The SDA process was particularly useful in the conversion of conveninitially used for recovering lube base oils from tional and third-party SDA units to ROSE. vacuum residues. The units were small, so Some licensees have doubled throughput, energy efficiency was not a high priority. The reduced energy consumption by as much as Kerr McGee Corporation started research in the 30%, improved DAO yield by 25% and at 1950s to extend the application of solvent the same time have seen an order of extraction in the production of fuels and to magnitude reduction in asphaltene carryover in improve energy efficiency by separating solvent DAO. from the DAO in supercritical phase. The first In summary, the process offers the following supercritical solvent-extraction ROSE units operational and economic advantages over were licensed in 1979. Subsequently, the conventional SDA: success of the process has turned conventional Higher yield and improved DAO quality SDA into an uneconomical practice in compari- Flexibility in varying DAO yield and quality by son. KBR acquired the technology from the adjusting operating conditions and, if necessary, Kerr McGee Corporation in 1995. To date, 48 changing solvent ROSE licenses with a combined capacity of over Supercritical solvent recovery significantly 900 000 bpsd have been obtained by users all reduces operating costs by almost eliminating over the world. evaporation and condensation of solvent.
Is ot he
Increasing pressure

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Unlocking current renery constraints

With the higher utilisation of heavy crude oils, refiners often Exchanger Asphaltene encounter higher resid loads separator DAO with higher levels of contamiseparator Mixer Condenser nants (such as sulphur, Solvent Residuum surge nitrogen, metals, CCR), increased aromatics content and, more often than not, Solvent DAO higher acid content in their recycle heater Stripper Solvent feeds. On the other hand, the circulation Stripper Steam Steam gas oil content of the new feeds will be lower, creating a potenDAO tial loss of feed in downstream VGO processing units, such as Asphaltene the FCC or hydrocracking units. All these elements present challenges that refiners need to Figure 5 ROSE process ow diagram solve. cracking of the heavy oil, providing the ability to extract much higher volumes of DAO than the Reners with no coker or vacuum units Vacuum distillation units (VDUs) are considered VGO removed by the vacuum unit. Examples of to be one of the conventional building blocks in higher yields from some crude oils are as refinery operations. However, with time, the follows: higher utilisation of heavy and high-acid crude Vacuum VGO, ROSE DAO, oils has started to push the limit of the vacuum vol% vol% distillation process. High operating temperatures 26.5 38.5 in vacuum units have a tendency to crack some Arab Heavy Maya 26.5 34.0 of the heavy crude oils. To avoid coking of interAthabasca Bitumen 16.0 32.0 nals due to cracking, vacuum units have to Marlim 36.0 52.5 operate at lower temperatures, thereby limiting the lift of vacuum gas oils. This is an ineffective use of vacuum units when it comes to the distil- The high hydrogen content of DAO gives lation of heavy oils, which are prone to cracking, higher liquid yields: ROSE separates DAO by and this limitation will hold back more heavy dissolving primarily paraffins in solvent. Thus, the DAO produced is more paraffinic than the material in the residue stream. Another aspect also associated with some VGO, which includes aromatics boiling below heavy crudes is the high acid content. The acids the VGO cut-off temperatures. Therefore, the in crude require the use of 317L stainless steel or DAO has a higher hydrogen content and gives a equivalent material in all areas where tempera- substantial yield advantage over VGO in downtures exceed 450F. Thus, the vacuum tower up stream catalytic cracking units. For example, the to the top neck has to be lined with 317L. This Watson K factor of VGO for 71 vol% yield on increases both the cost of the vacuum unit and ATB is 11.67. The Watson K for DAO at a yield of the overall project schedule. 90 vol% is 11.74. So not only was more DAO was These two problems can be easily solved using extracted, it also had higher hydrogen content a ROSE unit in place of a vacuum unit.3 The Reduced residue stream: in many cases, the reasons for the favourable economics in using a amount of ROSE asphaltenes produced is about ROSE unit in place of a vacuum unit are as half of the vacuum bottoms. This reduces the follows: size of a new coker when coking is used to crack Higher yields: the lower operating tempera- residue; if the residues are blended into fuel oil, tures in ROSE units eliminate the potential for the fuel oil make drops to less than half when

Solvent cooler

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a 47% reduction. The DAO, when mixed with VGO, has sufficiently low metals to allow processing in fixed-bed hydropro Arab Heavy VTB Arab Heavy ATB Maya VTB Maya ATB Feed cessing units. While calculating yields, Rate, kbpsd 49.7 103.3 63.6 116.9 the CCR in asphalt has been limited to API 3.2 11.5 -0.2 7.6 38 wt% to allow cracking in most CCR, % 23.8 12.4 31.2 18.3 modern delayed cokers. Metals, ppmw 251 129 816 477 The cokers are the next bottlenecks. DAO Prod. As described, the coker can be debottleRate, kbpsd 23.3 76.8 14.5 67.7 necked by installing a ROSE unit API 13.4 18.1 17.9 18.0 upstream from the coker. As previously CCR, % 6.0 2.2 4.4 1.5 Metals, ppmw 9 3 8 6 described, in addition to the hydraulic debottlenecking, the coke make drops Pitch Prod. by about 20%, thus debottlenecking the Rate, kbpsd 26.5 26.5 49.1 49.1 coke drums.3 API -4.7 -4.7 -4.7 -4.7 CCR, % 38 38 38 38 An overall mass balance will indicate that the total liquid yields per barrel of Basis: renery feed rate: 200 000 bpsd feed will be increased by approximately 35 vol%. In essence, this solution will Table 1 have the net result of converting compared to vacuum distillation, saving substan- low-value coke product into high-value refinery tial quantities of valuable cutter stock. liquid yield. Moreover, the addition of a ROSE unit may reduce downtime, as opposed to Debottlenecking existing vacuum and coker revamping both the vacuum unit and the coker. units The technology thus offers the following Vacuum units generally become the first bottle- economic and operational benefits to refiners neck when refiners increase the intake of more over other upgrading technologies: heavy and/or high acid crudes. The use of heavy Easy integration with downstream units oils increases the feed to the vacuum unit, over- through yield and quality control of DAO loading its hydraulic capacity. Refiners can Significantly lower capital and operating costs choose to revamp the constrained vacuum units Ease in processing of high-acid crude oils and associated cokers. However, when faced Faster project execution through modular with high acid crudes, revamping could become construction expensive if existing vacuum columns and asso- High reliability (>95% onstream factor) and ciated transfer lines do not have the high long cycles (up to nine years) between major metallurgy capable of handling the high-acid turnarounds. crudes. The capacity and the metallurgy Figure 5 shows the simplicity of the process constraints can be removed by adding a ROSE and the reason for the associated low installation unit in parallel with the vacuum unit, as previ- cost. ously shown in Figure 2. The unit can process all atmospheric bottoms above the capacity of the ROSE is a mark of KBR. vacuum units. It can also process all atmospheric bottoms from the high-acid crude train. Table 1 compares yields and qualities of DAO References 1 Nelson R S, Roodman G R, ROSE The energy-efcient bottom separated from atmospheric (ATB) and vacuum of the barrel alternative, presented at the 1985 Spring AICHE bottoms (VTB) from Arab Heavy and Maya Meeting, Houston, Texas, USA. crude oils. Column 1 shows that 49.7 Mbpsd of 2 Abdel-Halim T, Upalla R, Bansal B, Floyd R, Eastwood D, ROSE vacuum resid is produced as coker feed when and bottom-of-the barrel: a synergistic approach, presented at processing 200 Mbpsd of Arab Heavy crude oil. the 2nd Bottom of the Barrel Technology Conference, October The ROSE unit can separate 23.3 Mbpsd of DAO 2002, Istanbul, Turkey. as feed for hydroprocessing and FCC units, thus 3 Patel V, Iqbal R, Eng O, To vacuum or not to vacuum, Hydrocarbon reducing total coker feed to 26.5 Mbpsd, almost Engineering, June 2007.
ROSE generates more feed for downstream units

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Rashid Iqbal is director, resid upgrading, for KBR in Houston, Texas, USA. Email: rening@kbr.com Asif Khan is principal tech professional, process, for KBR in Houston, Texas, USA. Odette Eng is vice president, rening, for KBR in Houston, Texas, USA. Email: odette.eng@kbr.com Raymond Floyd is technology manager, resid upgrading, for KBR in Houston, Texas, USA.

LINKS
More articles from: KBR Technology More articles from the following categories: Coking Crude Vacuum Units Heavy/Sour Crudes Revamps, Shutdowns and Turnarounds

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