Euro-5 Achieved

01.11.2015

The Antipinsky Oil Refinery had two events to celebrate within two weeks this fall: on the 30th of September the refinery celebrated its birthday and on October 14 a major technological milestone took place – the refinery was granted an official permit to commission its diesel fuel hydrotreating unit (DFHU) with the capacity of up to 3 million tons per annum. The unit has already produced its first diesel fuel meeting Euro-5 compulsory quality standard (with sulfur content not exceeding 10 ppm). The commissioning of the complex has marked the completion of the second stage of Workflow Stage III and become the starting point for the implementation of secondary oil refining processes at the refinery. 
The attainment of a qualitatively new level was preceded by a period of strenuous design work, construction and putting auxiliary facilities into operation including an ultra-compact water recycling system with the nameplate design capacity of the recycling water supply unit of 7 thous. m3/hr; hydrogen production unit, sulphur production unit with a granulation module, industrial nitrogen and air supply units; flare facilities. The refinery also completed and commissioned a liquefied petroleum gas production shop intended for the shipment of PA and PBA commercial-grade liquefied motor gases. 
The Antipinsky Oil Refinery’ Chief Engineering Officer Sergei Murzin speaks about special issues associated with the refinery’s work in Workflow Phase III. 
- Sergei Vladimirovich, the Antipinsky Oil Refinery may, without exaggeration, be called a unique enterprise, as it is not based on any Soviet or post-Soviet production facilities, but was built from scratch.
- That is true, but these are not the only unique aspects about it. When designing and building the main facilities we are limited by the size of the refinery area. Therefore, our task have initially been a challenging one – all the units must have the maximum possible capacity and be ultra compact in size. We always look for the best technical solutions together with the designers. 
DFHU is a fairly large unit, but it is compactly built on the refinery premises. It should be emphasized that we have not lost process flexibility and reliability of the equipment, piping and expansion joints layout. 
- How was the work carried out?

- Designing the process units the standard way and making necessary calculations based on such design’s mathematical model was not an option in our case. Therefore, the design organization (Danish company HadorTopsoe, process licensor and basic design developer) had to use a creative approach. We, on our part, fought for each unit which was important to us and insisted that it was designed the way we wanted and not any other way. In that respect we, the design organization and the customer, worked closely together trying to address all the aspects affecting safe operation, normal production, ease of maintenance and scheduled repairs. Correct solutions were born in arguments. It was very strenuous team work and I believe that our task was accomplished by 100%.

The diesel fuel hydrotreating complex consist of five main units: feed preparation unit,hydrodesulfurization of diesel fuel and amine treatment of high pressure hydrocarbon gasesunit, hydrogenate stabilization and fractionation unit, amine treatment of low pressure hydrocarbon gases unit, hydrogen and elemental sulfur production unit. It also includes the additive dosing station to produce commercial-grade summer and winter diesel fuel including the equipment for analyzing and adjusting the quality of commercial-grade diesel fuel, as well as auxiliary and emergency response systems.

- Did the cost of the facility increase as a result of that? 
- No, not really, if we disregard the inflation component. In fact, it was the other way around: compact piping of pumps and heat exchangers brought down the total project cost owing to the reduced metal consumption. 
- Is it true that in the course of designing the unit you had to address another issue – the unit’s capacity had to be increased? What process design solutions did it require? 
- There was just one pivotal solution, but it was drastic. We gave up the idea of using a dewaxing reactor in favor of a hydrotreating reactor. It happened because of the recalculation of the refinery’s capacity from 7 to 8 million tons of crude oil per annum. Therefore, we increased the capacity of the hydrontreating unit by 1 million tons of diesel fuel per annum. Essentially, we had to build another unit of the same kind, but of a smaller capacity inside the first one. That involved a whole set of additional equipment: two furnaces, a compressor, column equipment. 
- How would you assess the refinery’s current level, in particular, that of the hydrotreating complex at the national scale? 
- We built the unit proceeding from the refinery’s design capacity and to ensure that our products meet Euro-5 quality standard. As to our first hydrotreating unit, it can be said with certainty that such units are few and far between in Russia. 
- In your opinion, what are the demand potential and possibilities of expanding the geography of supplies? 
- We deliver Euro-5 compliant diesel fuel through pipelines, by road tankers and rail tank cars, in other words, using all transportation means available. Our geography is quite wide: fuel is supplied across the Tyumen Region and to the country’s western destinations. 
We have a process to produce fuel of winter and summer grades, it is now being tested. We are planning to produce Euro-5 winter-grade low-freezing point diesel fuel. 
Our task is to supply the domestic market with diesel fuel to the extent possible, but it has to be understood that we are not the only ones product sales depend on, the demand is dictated by the market. We are guided by the demand. 
- What is next? 
- As of today, we have completed the upgrading of the third oil refining unit enabling us to increase its capacity from 3.7 to 5 million tons per annum and the refinery’s total capacity to 9 MTPA. It will be our utmost capacity as far as primary refining is concerned. As to other processes – deep refining and light petroleum products manufacturing – we are planning to develop further. 
To that end, we are working on the next stage of Workflow Phase III. Its goal is to increase the refining depth to 97%. It will be achieved upon the commissioning of the combined deferred tar carbonization unit with a fuel oil vacuum distillation module. It will enable us to increase the amount of Euro-5 compliant diesel oil produced up to 50% of the total oil refining volume. The final stage of that workflow phase will consist in the commissioning of the gasoline reformer with continuous catalyst regeneration and an isomerization section enabling us to switch over to the production of high-octane gasolines.

Increasing the refinery’s processing complexity will definitely require major investments. But it is the price which has to be paid to increase competitiveness of the refinery and oil refining industry as a whole.

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