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Saudi Aramco & Exxonmobil cracking processes save on costs
12
Jul '16
Two new steam cracking processes developed by Saudi Aramco and Exxonmobil, respectively, allow petrochemical manufacturers to omit the refining process in converting crude oil directly to light olefins.

“These new processes could potentially save refiners as much as $200-per-ton of ethylene produced,” IHS, a global source of critical information and insight said in a report.

“The Exxonmobil process completely bypasses the traditional naphtha cracking process, while Saudi Aramco has its own process for crude oil to olefins,” it added.

In June 2016, Aramco announced a joint venture with SABIC to study building a crude oil-to-chemicals complex in Saudi Arabia.

“Though the exact process configuration for the potential joint-venture was not disclosed, it is possible this complex will employ the Aramco process, at least in part,” IHS observed.

According to the IHS report, the ExxonMobil process completely bypasses the refinery and feeds crude oil to the cracking furnaces.

These have each been modified to include a flash pot between the convective and radiant sections of the furnaces. Next, the crude oil is pre-heated and then flashed, IHS said, essentially 'topping' the lighter components from the crude.

This extracted vapour, is then fed back into the furnace's radiant coils and cracked in the usual fashion.

“However, the Aramco process, works along an entirely different concept from that of the Exxonmobil crude-to-olefins process,” the company informed.

“As of yet, the Aramco process is still only a proposed project; no facility actually has been built to test the process,” IHS cautioned.

The Aramco process begins by feeding the whole barrel of crude to a hydrocracking unit, which removes sulfur and shifts the boiling point curve significantly toward lighter compounds.

The gas-oil and lighter products are sent to a traditional steam cracker, while the heavier products are sent to a proprietary, Aramco-developed deep-fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) that maximises olefin output. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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