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No. 4, 2012

Maria Kukhtar


LUKOILs Volgograd Refinery goes ahead with its capacity upgrade and buildup program

Construction and startup of the diesel hydrotreating (DHT) unit will allow LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka to produce only environment-friendly grades of diesel fuel.

The new DHT unit is a special facility at the Volgograd Refinery. It will have a capacity of 3 million tons of high quality diesel fuel a year. Once it came on line, JSC LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka began producing diesel fuel in accordance with the requirement of the Euro-5 standard, which stipulates a sulphur content of no more than 10 ppm.

The first DHT unit, with a capacity of 1.4 million tons per year, was started up in December 2000. Initially, the plans for further development of LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka envisaged construction of a second DHT unit with a similar capacity. The increasingly stringent environmental requirements and the changing market situation compelled the company's management, however, to double the capacity of the second unit. As a result, environment-friendly grades of diesel fuel now account for 100% of the company's output.

The new facility is an important component of the company's process scheme. The project provides for including gasolines and light coking gasoil in the feed stream. These fuels will be hydrotreated by the new unit on the catalyst bed together with diesel fuel.

The DHT unit design provides for dividing the reactor block into two sections, that is, installing two reactors in fact, to make the process more flexible from the point of view of productivity and to allow the catalyst to be replaced periodically without shutting down the entire facility.

Startup of the new high-tech facility will not harm the region's environment. All the hydrogen sulphide that forms during the hydrotreating process will be sent to the active sulphur production unit. Currently, about 8 tons of sulphur are produced a day but this figure will later rise to 30-35 tons. The present capacity of the nature protective unit will allow all the hydrogen sulphide to be processed into free sulphur.

The new DHT unit will have a distributed control system and an independent fire protection system, allowing the process to be controlled from a single control center and the production process to be automated to the maximum. The high level of automation and process protection will minimize use of manual labor.

In terms of its parameters and design, this equipment is undoubtedly unique for LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka.

The new facility has a number of specific features that set the company's personnel complex technical tasks. At the same time, the technology of catalytic reactions at high pressures and temperatures, constituting the basis of the hydrotreating process, is well known and developed to perfection by the workers and engineers of LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka.

The launching of the second DHT unit has consolidated LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka's position as the leading producer of fuel and lubricants in the south of Russia.

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Oil of Russia, No. 4, 2012
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