-- Further refinery
closures in Europe would
reduce a structural gasoline surplus in the region, but they
could also cause a middle distillates deficit to increase,
according to an executive with Italy-based Eni.
Giacamo Rispoli, executive vice president of research,
development and project
s at Eni
, delivered his thoughts in the
keynote address Wednesday at the 2014 International Refining
The Italian executive explained that for the Europe
industry to survive,
major changes are necessary.
"The crisis in the European refining
sector has become a
structural feature that will not allow a return to conditions
existing before 2008," he said. "To prevent this industry
from disappearing in Europe
, it is necessary to
identify the pathways that constitute evolutionary
Rispoli cited his company's EST (eni
at the Sannazzaro refinery
as an example of a
possible new refinery paradigm.
In his view, EST can evolve from one plant at present to an
entirely new refinery scheme. In that simplified scheme, the
EST capability would allow producers to make fuel gas, LPG,
naphtha and gasoil, he says, taking crude oil from a distillation
unit and natural gas
from a hydrogen plant.
"It reduces feedstock
investment and energy consumption, while increasing yields of
light products," he said. "It opens the possibility to
radically modifying the existing refinery
The EST hydrocracking process is based on two unique features
-- a nanodispersed (slurry), non-aging catalyst and a
homogeneous and isothermal slurry bubble column reactor.
From there, the recycle of uncoverted heavy ends allows the
total conversion of the bottom of the barrel to high-quality
middle distillates. The feedstock
conversion rate is over
97%, he says.
For Eni, the EST process offers easy handling of very heavy
s, lower energy costs and
a diesel-to-gasoline balance that is more in tune with the
current European marketplace.
"In the European context, the application of this new scheme
would enable the transformation of middle-size refineries,
orienting them to the main production of diesel, simplifying
the process cycle and decreasing specific energy
consumptions," Rispoli said.
executive concluded his
remarks by calling on the EUropean Union (EU) to support and
promote similar research efforts across the industry.
"The EU should make the utmost effort to promote innovation
in this field, as a prerequisite for the maintenance
of employment and
growth," he said. "Only strong innovation resulting from
frontier research may create the conditions for the maintenance
and development of
industrial activities in the Europe