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Co-create. Integrate. Innovate
Why integration, along with technology and partnership, is emerging as a business imperative on oil and gas projects.
Today’s global energy system is hugely complex and fast changing. It comprises numerous energy sources, technologies, stakeholders and end-users, with huge regional variations and complex webs of interdependency.
A report by the management consultancy AT Kearney has warned that one in three refineries in North America and Western Europe will need to reconsider their operating models in order to remain competitive. And with refiners in other regions facing their own array of challenges, the report cautions that, in this shifting landscape, refining excellence is a prerequisite. In this article, we look at two possible scenarios for meeting these challenges.
When the hydrocracker at Shell’s Pernis refinery was approaching the end of its cycle, the unit’s technologists evaluated installing a new cracking catalyst that promised greater yields of high-value middle distillates such as ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and kerosene. However, any such change could have had adverse effects on Shell’s nearby Moerdijk petrochemicals facility, which takes hydrowax (unconverted oil) as a steam cracker feedstock .
Refineries worldwide may increasingly face mandates to recover at least 99.98% of the sulphur present in their feedstocks and to limit SO2 emissions to less than 100 ppm. The challenge facing Venezuela’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA PDVSA), is perhaps more difficult than most because the country’s crude oils are especially heavy and sour. Nevertheless, on completion of an important expansion project, its El Palito refinery expects to be able to meet these stringent regulatory requirements. Moreover, PDVSA’s journey may offer valuable insights for other refiners.
The environment is a key issue on the agenda of governments around the world – and refiners are right on the front line. They have a major role to play, not only in delivering the cleaner fuels that society is calling for but also in curbing plant emissions.
The combination of an ultra-high sulphur recovery efficiency specification of 99.9% and an ultra-low SO2 emission regulation of 35 mg/Nm3 would be very challenging for any project. This article shows how, by adopting carefully integrated and optimised sulphur recovery and tail-gas-treating technologies, PDO has pushed the technological boundaries to comply with Omani regulations.
Advanced technologies and game-changing innovations are vital for the energy industry, and behind every technological solution you are likely to find creative, passionate people. In this article, we profile three Shell experts whose fresh thinking has either helped to push the limits of what a technology can achieve or helped customers to apply technology to enhance their business’s performance.