April 2010

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Upgrade low-value refinery streams into higher-value petrochemicals

New catalytic olefin cracking process yields more propylene over ethylene from stranded refining materials

Many refiners must cope with stranded streams such as coker naphtha and fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) C4s and C5s, which have little value as fuel-blending stock or recycle material. This problem will be aggravated as more cokers come onstream to convert additional resid material and as FCC units increase severity. It is possible, however, to upgrade such olefin-containing streams to high-value petrochemicals using a catalytic olefins process—a commercialized FCC process that can convert olefin-containing C4–C8 streams predominantly to propylene, with large quantities of ethylene and aromatics also produced. These petrochemical products have much higher values than current uses of

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