Residue Upgrading

Residue upgrading helps refiners get more from a barrel of oil and adds more to your bottom line.

UOP offers various solutions for upgrading both atmospheric and vacuum residue streams.  The choice of technologies depends upon both the quality of the resid stream and the quality of the final fuels products produced.  Slurry hydrocracking offers the maximum amount of upgrading and produces zero fuel oil.

UOP’s Uniflex MC process is a slurry hydrocracking process which achieves the highest conversion and produces the maximum naphtha and diesel yield compared to other residue conversion technologies. These products can be monetized directly as fuels, or provide excellent petrochemical complex feedstock.  Both cases lead to higher refinery profit margins.

Multiple solutions to meet your residue conversion needs

View Larger ImageResidue Solutions

In today’s market there is a growth in demand for transportation fuels, primarily diesel and bunker fuel oil as well as a decrease in demand for residual fuel oil. This shift, combined with the lowering sulfur limits worldwide, makes maximizing conversion, especially conversion to distillates, critical.

UOP’s residue upgrading portfolio includes a range of solutions that will help you to achieve your unique processing objectives:

  • The UOP Uniflex™ process offers maximum conversion (90% +) that is selective to transportation fuels, and minimizes production of residue byproduct. This process provides an optimal solution for minimizing fuel oil production.
  • The UOP RFCC Resid FCC process is a cost effective means for converting moderate to severely contaminated feedstocks to gasoline and lighter components.
  • The UOP RCD Unionfining™ process is a residue hydrotreating process that removes contaminants and adds hydrogen for downstream Resid FCC processing. It can sometimes be used to produce low sulfur fuel oil.
  • The FWUSA SYDEC™ delayed coking process is a severe thermal conversion process that produces a wide range of products. Once hydrotreated, these products can be processed in other refinery processes and a byproduct residue coke.
  • The UOP/FWUSA Solvent Deasphalting process separates residue into high quality, low contaminant level deasphalted oil for downstream hydrocracking, or FCC/RFCC units. It can also produce a highly contaminated pitch stream for residue fuel oil, power plant fuel, gasification and coking.
  • The UOP/FWUSA Visbreaking process is a low cost process that reduces viscosity of residues to minimize “cutter” stock in addition to making residue fuel oil.

There are several factors that impact technology selection from feedstock type and quality and product objectives to your existing refinery capabilities, feed prices and financing. Let us help you find the solution that best meets your needs.

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Maximum Conversion of Vacuum Residue to Naphtha and Diesel

View Larger ImageSlurry Hydrocracking

The UOP Uniflex™MC™ process converts vacuum residue to maximize the production of clean distillates. The process has been proven on a commercial scale, with years of efficient and reliable operation providing robust economic returns. It can be readily integrated into existing refining facilities, and offers several significant advantages compared to alternative technologies:

Advanced Technology – 95-98% conversion rate, even for the poorest quality feeds. In fact, Uniflex prefers high sulfur residues and troublesome highly aromatic streams like FCC Cycle Oils.

Higher Yields – Achieves >85 vol% yield of naphtha and diesel, and with integrated hydrotreating options to upgrade these streams to reformer feed grade and Euro VI specifications respectively.

Simple Integration – The small amount of vacuum gas oil (VGO) produced in the process can typically be processed in an existing hydrocracker or FCC unit, reducing the level of new investment CAPEX required

Increased Margins – Uniflex MC converts low value High Sulfur Fuel Oil (HSFO) components, which will be coming under increased price pressure with the advent of MARPOL regulations, to high value transportation fuels and petrochemical feedstock. The process is CAPEX efficient given UOP’s vast experience in process and equipment optimization.

The combination of high conversion, increased margin uplift and minimized CAPEX makes the Uniflex process an attractive, economical solution for both existing and new refineries / petrochemical complexes.

Supporting the UOP Uniflex MC process is UOP’s strength in:

  • Research and Development– UOP’s state of the art Heavy Oil Development Center providing expanded capabilities in High-throughput Feed Preparation, Uniflex, Solvent De-asphalting. In addition, UOP research and analytical labs are capable of advanced characterization of feed and products.
  • Engineering and Design – The Uniflex process is very similar to that of a conventional hydrocracking process, and UOP Engineering applies process and design optimization learnings from over 50 years of experience in this field.
  • Technical Service and Support– UOP’s world class Technical Service department. In addition UOP employs key designers and operating staff from the commercial unit to provide technical guidance and assistance. UOP also has several key engineers and operators on contract who designed and operated the VCC unit at Bottrop in Germany.
  • Configuration Studies – Due to the number of products produced by the Uniflex technology, integration with the existing or new complex is critical to extract full value from the technology. UOP is uniquely positioned to optimize a total project with a broad understanding of refining and configuration services.

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Maximize residual fuel oil conversion

View Larger ImageResidue FCC

The UOP Resid FCC or RFCC process utilizes an effective two-stage stacked regenerator with UOP catalyst cooler(s) to provide you with a cost effective means for converting moderate to severely contaminated feedstocks to gasoline and lighter components.  These features together with other important design considerations manage the high heat of combustion, metals lay-down on circulating catalyst, and other challenges associated with the processing of reduced crude.

The two-stage regeneration process is highly efficient at moderating regeneration temperatures necessary to minimize catalyst damage while maintaining sufficient removal of carbon on catalyst to ensure maximum conversion of residual feed within the reactor. The catalyst cooler(s) provide the primary means of heat removal for the process and provide an added unit flexibility relative to conventional designs.

High selectivity to gasoline and other high-value products is achieved by optimized feedstock/catalyst mixing, effective post-riser catalyst/oil disengagement, metals passivation, and other design and operating techniques.

With these unique design features, UOP’s RFCC Process allows the greatest flexibility in feedstock quality (conradson carbon and metals) while achieving high conversion and maximum selectivity to valuable products, maximizing your margins and overall project ROI. 

For refiners that are interested in the production of petrochemical feeds from residue, UOP’s latest FCC-based solution, Resid RxPro can provide the right solution that maximizes return.  Follow this link to read more about UOP FCC-based propylene solutions.

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Pre-Treat Residues for Downstream Conversion

View Larger ImageResidue Hydrotreating

The UOP RCD Unionfining™ Process removes sulfur, nitrogen, organometallics, and asphaltenes from atmospheric/vacuum reduced crudes or other heavy oil streams.

Originally developed for low sulfur fuel oil production, the technology in recent years has also been used as pretreatment for downstream conversion processes, most typically resid catalytic cracking like the UOP RFCC Process.  Key to these downstream catalytic conversion processes are metals reduction and asphaltene/con carbon reduction, parameters that dictate conversion unit catalyst cost.  UOP has long experience in designing “black oil” units as UOP was the first licensor to commercialize residue hydrotreating.

The RCD Unionfining process is a fixed-bed catalytic hydrotreating process, combining unique process design parameters with state-of-the-art residue hydrotreating catalysts. We provide solutions for the integration of the hydrotreating unit with your downstream conversion unit, optimizing your profit potential.  UOP offers the most efficient designs in the industry, minimizing capital and on-going catalyst cost, maximizing your project ROI.

Let UOP specialists show you how our RCD Unionfining solution can fit into your overall residue/heavy oil upgrading strategy.

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Flexibility to upgrade a variety of feedstocks to high-quality, lighter products.

View Larger ImageCoking

The Foster Wheeler SYDEC Selective Yield Delayed Coking  is a low-pressure, low-recycle coking process for maximum liquid yields and minimizing coke. The process produces a variety of products to suit your operation needs:

  • Gas oil conversion unit feedstocks
  • Distillates
  • Naphtha
  • Petroleum

SYDEC delayed coking is a full conversion process that can process all types of residues. In combination with VGO Hydrocracking it is the preferred route today for maximizing distillate yields.

The process is exclusively licensed by Foster Wheeler USA Corporation. More than 50 delayed coking plants have been licensed in 37 countries over the past 50 years.

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Significantly increase transport fuel yields in your refinery

View Larger Image  Solvent Deasphalting

The UOP/FW Solvent Deasphalting process (SDA) separates residue by molecular weight, instead of by boiling point to produces a low-contaminant deasphalted oil that is rich in paraffinic-type molecules and a high viscosity residue by  product (pitch).

The SDA process efficiently separates vacuum residue into high-quality conventional vacuum gas oil conversion unit feedstock from the lowest quality components in vacuum residue.

The UOP/FW SDA process utilizes the most efficient extraction and solvent recovery systems available resulting in maximizing DAO quality and minimizing costs.

UOP and Foster Wheeler have designed and licensed over 70 SDA units, ranging in size from 7,000 to 48,000 barrels per day.

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