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Russia’s first refining-catalyst engineering test-centre opens at the Gazprom Neft Omsk refinery

Gazprom Neft has opened an engineering centre for the testing of secondary-refining catalysts in Omsk. Russia’s first ever pilot facility for catalytic cracking has begun work within the centre, allowing catalysts to be tested on various types of feedstock, as well as identifying the conditions and regimes most appropriate for catalytic cracking facilities throughout Russia’s refineries.

The pilot facility is a smaller replication of a catalytic cracking complex (one of the key processes in secondary refining) with production capacity of 2.5 kilogrammes per hour. Testing of new Gazprom Neft catalyst brands, including analysis of usage conditions and comparable properties, will take place under conditions as close as possible to commercial production, with the process flow at the pilot facility fully modelled on the cracking process and with various types of feedstock and catalysts involved in testing.

The vast majority of oil refineries in Russia are currently bound to obtain catalysts for secondary refining abroad. This unique pilot facility will allow refineries to test Gazprom Neft catalysts on their own raw materials, with the unique characteristics of specific facilities taken into account. Russian oil refineries will now have the opportunity of using Gazprom Neft catalysts in line with post-testing recommendations, significantly improving refining efficiency.

As early as this year Gazprom Neft specialists will begin initial testing of the performance characteristics of promising catalyst brands produced in Omsk, including, specifically, testing of a new “Vanguard” catalyst brand, under usage conditions matching those of catalytic cracking facilities at various refineries. Research undertaken by the company has shown the application of the Vanguard catalysts at the Omsk Refinery cat-cracking facilities is, already, more effective than those of competitive products.

Several additional pilot facilities, intended for both the testing of cat-cracking and hydro-treatment catalysts, as well as the production of pilot batches of catalysts, will be put in place at the engineering centre by 2020. On which basis, specialists in catalyst production will have the opportunity of producing new types of catalysts, as well as testing these on a single platform.

Anatoly Cherner, Deputy CEO, Gazprom Neft, commented: “The opening of the engineering centre is the next step in implementing Gazprom Neft’s national project for developing catalyst production in Omsk. We are, today, establishing the first fully-comprehensive world-class testing centre in Russia. The development of new technologies, which Gazprom Neft is working on in conjunction with various scientific institutions, means we will, in a few years, significantly reduce the Russian refining industry’s dependence on imported catalysts.”

Catalysts used in oil refining processes are nano-structured agents which, when introduced into immediate chemical interactions, speed up chemical reactions in oil refining.

The Gazprom Neft project on “The use of aluminium oxide catalysts in deep oil refining” has been awarded the status of a national project by the Ministry of Energy. Gazprom Neft is to invest more than RUB15 billion in this project by the end of 2020.

This major Gazprom Neft project for the development of catalyst production at the Gazprom Neft Omsk Refinery envisages the establishment of a cutting-edge high-technology complex producing domestic catalysts for use in catalytic cracking, as well as catalysts for hydro-treatment and hydro-cracking (none of which are currently produced in Russia). These catalysts are used for key processes in secondary oil refining, making possible the production of Euro-5 motor fuels.

By 2020 Gazprom Neft will establish a cutting-edge facility to produce catalysts for hydrogenation processes (with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per year) and catalysts for catalytic cracking (with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes). On which basis, total catalyst production capacity at the Omsk Refinery will reach 21,000 tonnes, allowing the company not just to meet current domestic demand for catalytic cracking and hydrogenation catalysts throughout Russia’s refining industry, but also to supply products for export throughout the CIS and neighbouring countries. These new production facilities will also lead to additional job creation locally.

Existing capacity at the Omsk Refinery currently allows production of approximately 3,000 tonnes of catalysts every year.

The development of innovative technologies in catalyst production is being undertaken by Gazprom Neft in conjunction with major Russian research and development centres specialising in catalytic processes. The company’s partner on this national project, specifically, is the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Novosibirsk (a Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences) which is developing technology for the production of catalysts for hydrogenation processes. The Institute for Problems of Hydrocarbon Refining, Omsk (also a Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), is also working with the company in developing new technologies and improving existing processes in the production of catalysts for catalytic cracking.

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Tags: Omsk Oil Refinery, refining, refining technology
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