PTQ Q2 2022 Issue


Emerging opportunities M y first duty on returning to PTQ as editor is to thank Chris Cunningham for his excellent work over the past 13 years. We hope he enjoys a well- deserved retirement. As I take the reins, I see many emerging opportunities for integrated refinery/petrochemical facilities and certain standalone fuels refineries. But for the most part, we are under no illusion that refining capacity and investments are levelling off or declining in mature markets. C ompared to the previous decade, awider array of topics require a deeper dive from a technology perspective. In the quest for net-zero emissions (NZEs), enterprise-wide metrics like sustainability and ESG weigh into every refinery processing discussion, such as crude-to-chemicals (CTC) and waste plastics recycling. With the expansion of the circular economy influencing the refining and petrochemical sector, expect to see downstream industry topics on renewable fuels coprocessing through upgraded FCCandhydrotreating units and speciality chemicals. As the industry evolvesmore rapidly than expected, data analytics,AI, andmachine learning can enhance thermodynamic, catalytic, and mass transfer capabilities Against this backdrop, we are developing content with a view to how refiners can be the solution instead of the problem towards sustainability based objectives. U ncovering process opportunities, including hydrocracker upgrades to increase naphtha feedstock production for world-scale steam crackers, requires a multi- faceted approach. For this task, refinery uplift from petrochemical production and the ability to make money varies for different regions due to complexity and efficiency advantages, which is why the CTC transition warrants more scrutiny. LNG deserves more elaboration, considering it serves as the primary transition energy product on the road to 2050 deep decarbonisation targets. And even though fossil fuel products are projected to peak in the late 2020s before steadily declining, editorial coverage will not end there. Niche opportunities continue to emerge in the supply of clean fossil fuels for the Latin American market and elsewhere. Speaking of opportunities, the newest refinery projects are petrochemically integrated, such as the Saudi Aramco JV with China announced recently. This is another clear indication that fossil feedstocks for petrochemical demand are set to increase through the early 2040s. In fact, 309 Mtpy of oil was converted into petrochemicals in 1990, while the IEA projects a 905 Mtpy demand growth by 2035. The Gas 2022 special report, included with the Q2 issue of PTQ , discusses a range of topics, ranging from midstream gas processing, LNG process optimisation, and H 2 production to fuel olefins plants while reducing site-wide CO 2 emissions. In the second half of 2022, the Q3 and Q4 issues will focus on the transition towards speciality chemicals and the interconnection of aromatics and olefins processes. One area hardly discussed in the previous decade involves the integration of refineries and other heavy industries for energy and CO 2 recovery. This development alludes to the possibility of surprises and advantages for dwindling fuels refineries. It includes opportunities for cogeneration and co-development of distributed energy resources (DERs) with other heavy industries like steel. As mentioned at the start, I am under no illusion that all these metrics will come to fruition. Still, we are already seeing developments that will benefit refiners in distress, such as biomass processing to SAF and pyrolysis of polyethylene post-consumer plastic packaging waste. Some of these include opportunities for relatively small fuels refiners to take the lead in establishing microgrids to supply electricity for midstream oil and gas operations, mega data centres, or even mining operations. There is a lot to cover. In any event, I am glad to be back.

Vol 27 No 3 Q2 (Apr, May, Jun) 2022

Editor Rene Gonzalez tel: +1 713 449 5817

Managing Editor Rachel Storry

Graphics Peter Harper

Digital Editorial Assistant Ciaran Nerval

US Operations Mark Peters tel: +1 832 656 5341

Business Development Director Paul Mason tel: +44 7841 699431

Managing Director RichardWatts

Circulation Fran Havard

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PTQ (Petroleum Technology Quarterly ) (ISSN No: 1632-363X, USPS No: 014-781) is published quarterly plus annual Catalysis edition by EMAP and is distributed in the US by SP/Asendia, 17B South Middlesex Avenue, Monroe NJ 08831. Periodicals postage paid at New Brunswick, NJ. Postmaster: send address changes to PTQ (Petroleum Technology Quarterly) , 17B South Middlesex Avenue, Monroe NJ 08831. Back numbers available from the Publisher at $30 per copy inc postage.


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