Italian oil and gas major Eni has
started work on applying Eni Slurry Technology (EST) at its
Sannazzaro de Burgondi refinery, located near Pavia in
EST is Enis proprietary
technology for the conversion of heavy oil residues in fine
products, gasoline and gasoil. The process converts waste oil,
heavy crude and tar sands into high-quality and performance
The project is scheduled to be completed
by the end of 2012 with the start of a 23,000-bpd plant.
What is EST?
The EST technology, funded by Eni with an
investment of over 1.1bn, is based on a hydro-conversion
process developed through a special catalyst and a current of
hydrogen self-produced starting from methane.
That means that EST also can
transform methane into a high-quality liquid fuel through
hydrogen production, the company said.
Switching away from traditional technologies.
The technology allows Eni to produce
gasoline and gasoil without coke or fuel oil, making the
Sannazzaro a zero-fuel-oil refinery.
Company officials noted that coke
and fuel oil markets were constantly declining.
On the other hand, EST is
significantly more beneficial than traditional technologies
because it is able to enhance non-conventional oil resources
found throughout the world, especially in Canada and Venezuela,
Overall, non-conventional oil
resources account for roughly three times the estimated
reserves of conventional crude, the company said.
Work commenced during the 1990s at
the companys San Donato Milanese labs.
Works continued at the Taranto
refinery, where a 1,200-bpd demo plant started operations in
2005, representing the reference point of the Sannazzaro
The design of the new plant, which
will be carried out in accordance with the highest
technological and environmental standards, began in mid-2008
and involved Saipem for the engineering activities, company
Supply of the reactor, which is the
core of the chemical process, began in 2009.
About 1,000 construction employees are currently
on site at the refinery, with as many as 2,000
expected at its peak, Eni said.
Thus far, workers have logged about 500,000 hours without an
injury. That figure reflects Enis commitment to proper
safety procedures, it said.
Construction should wrap up by late
1. Construction of Enis
plant is ongoing and will be complete by late 2012.