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Eni starts slurry technology project at Italy refinery

09.01.2011  |  DuBose, Ben,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [Eni] [slurry technology] [EST] [heavy oil] [crude oil] [Italy] [construction] [refinery]

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 northern Italy.

EST is Eni’s 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 fuels.

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, they said.

Overall, non-conventional oil resources account for roughly three times the estimated reserves of conventional crude, the company said.

History of project.

Work commenced during the 1990s at the company’s 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 plant.

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 officials said.

Supply of the reactor, which is the core of the chemical process, began in 2009.

Present activity.

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 Eni’s commitment to proper safety procedures, it said.

Construction should wrap up by late 2012. HP

 
  Fig. 1. Construction of Eni’s plant is ongoing and will be complete by late 2012.



 

 
  Fig. 2. Diagram of EST project technology.




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Adarsh Soni
01.17.2013

The uniqueness of the process appears to be in using methane instead of hydrogen. If my interpretation is correct, this would substantially cut down the capital cost and energy efficiency can also be expected to be much better. Would appreciate a response

Roger Lott
11.12.2012

EST is basically a version of HCAT hydrocracking technology. A ENI manager had met with AOSTRA/ Alberta Research Council back in 1991, a research proposal using HCAT (then it was known as (HC)3) to test their feedstock was requested.
HCAT is currently used in Neste Oil's LC-Finer and Motiva Enterprise's H-Oil hydrocracker to increase their resid conversion with significant reduction in process fouling. Out of the many slurry hydrocracking processes being reported in the various conferences, HCAT is the only slurry process in commercial operation at >80,000 B/D through put. HCAT enables ebullated bed hydrocrakers to reach resid conversion as high as 75% without process fouling. Without HCAT, ebullated bed hydrocrackers operate around 50%.

Dr S Banik
07.22.2012

EST of ENI, UNIFLEX of UOP and Vebacombi of KBR are similar technologies and none of thses are commercially demonstrated. Perhaps EST is the first to be demonstrated commercially with areasonable capacity. Refiners are looking forward to outcome of the project. If it successfully operated and reliability is established , Delayed Coker technology would proceed towards obsolence.
If some technical and commercial details are made avaiable refiners would have better appreciation of the project.
Wishing best wishes to ENI

Gene Ama
07.21.2012

cAN YOU GIVE US A BETTER EXPLANATION OF THIS PROCESS THAT WILL ENABLE ANYONE TO DECIDE IF IT WILL WORK FOR THEM? CAN OTHER COMPANIES LICENSE THIS TECHNOLOGY FROM ENI FOR THEIR OWN PLANTS? WHAT TYPES OF INPUT PRODUCTS CAN BE PROCESSED BY THIS TECHNOLOGY?

karim rahimi-kh.
06.27.2012

In your article presented under EST, it does not explain the process completely and leaves with many questions unanswered about the process. Is this process a sort of Gas- To- Liquid,GTL, technology? What is meant by "slurry?"

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