At Marchs American Fuel and
Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM,
formerly known as the NPRA) annual meeting in San Diego,
California, it seems everyone had some important knowledge to
share. Nowhere was this more evident than in the technical
sessions, which covered many issues relevant to refiners.
Hydrocarbon Processing was privileged to produce the
official show daily newspaper for the event. We have assembled
information on some of the more standout presentations.
Maximizing diesel production
Phillip Niccum, KBR, spoke about
maximizing diesel production in the FCC-centered refinery. One
of Mr. Niccums key points examined how FCC-based refinery
diesel production can be maximized while taking advantage of
existing FCC assets. The simple answer is to avoid the loss of
virgin distillate to the FCC feedstock and to maximize the
production of hydroprocessed LCO and diesel synthesized from
the oligomerization of lower boiling FCC olefins.
Mr. Niccum indicated that after a
refiner has taken the steps necessary to minimize the loss of
straight-run diesel to the FCC feedstock, some FCC operating
adjustments can be commonly applied in the interest of
increasing refinery diesel production. These
include a lower FCC naphtha endpoint; increased FCC catalyst
matrix activity and lower rare earth/hydrogen transfer
activity; and a maximized LCO endpoint.
While these are somewhat commonly
applied strategies, Mr. Niccum also advocated two other
approaches. The first is to reduce FCC cracking severity,
allowing for maximized LCO production, while taking action, if
need be to mitigate the associated loss of FCC naphtha octane
and LPG production. The second would be to increase FCC
cracking severity to maximize the production of
lower-molecular-weight olefinic products from the FCC unit and
oligomerize these olefins to produce high-quality synthetic
The technical and economic results
from Air Products CO2 capture project in Port
Arthur, Texas, will be critical to determining the most
effective commercialization path for future projects, according
to Bill Baade, an Air Products official involved with the project.
As of now, the existing
CO2 market does not support current CO2
capture economics without external funding, he said.
Because of that, the Air Products
project was accomplished via $284
million in funding from the US Department of Energy, which
represents about 66% of the overall cost, Mr. Baade said.
When complete, CO2
captured from hydrogen steam methane reformers (SMRs) at
Valeros refinery in Port Arthur will be
compressed and purified, then sent to Denbury for injection
into Texas oil fields for enhanced oil recovery. Mechanical construction began in January 2012.
One plant is expected to start up in late 2012 and the other
unit in 2013.
Refinery and plant operators are
increasingly using predictive analytics when it comes to safety
and operational risk management. Those were the thoughts of
Mark Weitner, global leader of operational risk management at
Connecticut-based IBM Global Business Services.
Mr. Weitner applauded the industry,
saying predictive analytics are emerging as an important
technique to identify organizational, operational and safety
risk factors. Moreover, those analytics are becoming core to
companies performance management programs, he said.
Were seeing a natural
progression of using the increasingly sophisticated tools
available, Mr. Weitner said. Its especially
become more common in the chemicals and petroleum industry in
areas like predictive maintenance.
Distinguished Safety Awards
AFPMs most prestigious safety
award is presented annually to the member company facilities that have attained a
superior level of safety performance in the refining and petrochemical manufacturing
industries. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee
comprised of members of the AFPM Safety and Health Committee.
Winners will also be recognized at a dinner in San Antonio,
Texas, as part of the AFPM National Occupational and Process
Safety Conference. This years award winners are:
Santa Maria facility located in Arroyo Grande, California
The Michigan refining division of Marathon
Valero Energys refinery in Houston, Texas.
With reporting from Ben DuBose
Chairman Jim Mahoney presents Layne
Riggs of Valero Energy with a