CO2 intensity of oil refineries could rise by 20% due to IMO 2020 regulations, according to the estimates in this data-file, if a refinery chooses to convert all its high-sulphur fuel oil into low-sulphur diesel.
The drivers are an extra stage of cracking, plus higher-temperature hydrocracking and hydrotreating, which will also have the knock-on consequence of increasing hydrogen demands.
Higher CO2 intensity conflicts with the industry’s aim of lowering its net emissions, and a 20% increase would effectively undo 30-years of prior efficiency gains in the refining industry.
Catalysts matter for refinery energy and CO2 intensity, as is shown in this data-file: It tabulates temperature and pressure conditions, disclosed for different refinery units, based on over 50 patents from leading energy Majors.
The average refinery process takes place at 450C. But variability is high. Hence our data-file explains the variations as a function of the different catalyst compositions, being pioneered by the different companies.
Combining all the best-in-class new catalysts in the datafile, we think the average refinery could save 5kg/bbl of CO2 intensity: across hydrocracking, FCCs, steam cracking, coking, dewaxing, hydrotreating, alkylation and reforming.
So far we have reviewed 450 patents in the downstream oil and gas industry (ex-chemicals). A rare few prompted an excited thought — “that could be useful when IMO 2020 comes around”. Hence, this data-file summarises the top 25+ proprietary technologies we have seen to capitalise on the opportunity. They are summarised and “scored” by company.
We will also provide you with updates of this file, as we continue reviewing patents and technical papers.