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Gazprom Neft Board of Directors reviews plans for developing catalyst production

The Gazprom Neft Board of Directors has reviewed information on the company’s plans for developing catalyst production and supplying catalysts to enterprises throughout the Gazprom group.

Russia’s oil refining industry currently relies on imports for up to 70 percent of catalysts (products utilised in various oil refining processes) used. Russia does not produce hydrocracking catalysts, and domestic production meets barely one third of demand for catalytic-cracking (cat-cracking) catalysts; the quality of Russian-produced catalysts for the hydrotreatment of diesel fuels, moreover, does not allow the production of fuels consistent with Euro-5 standards (i.e., sulphur content of less than 10 parts per million (ppm)).

Омский НПЗ

Certain factors, meanwhile — including more stringent environmental standards for motor fuels, and the implementation of initiatives directed at increasing conversion rate throughout Russian oil refineries — are giving rise to increasing demand for catalysts from the oil industry. Industry forecasts suggest Russia’s consumption of catalysts for oil refining will reach 22,200 tonnes by 2025, of which Gazprom group enterprises are expected to account for 32 percent.

Gazprom Neft’s Omsk Refinery is, already, producing approximately 3,000 tonnes of cat-cracking catalysts, fully compliant with international quality standards. This volume, however, is not enough to supply the market in the Russian Federation. In order to address the urgent issue of developing a high-quality alternative to imported products, Gazprom Neft has taken the decision to construct new catalyst production facilities for secondary refining at its Omsk facility — an initiative that has been awarded the status of a national project by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation. Investment in this project is expected to reach more than RUB15 billion by 2020.

As part of this national project Gazprom Neft will establish a cutting-edge facility in Omsk to produce catalysts for hydrogenation processes (with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per year), as well as a facility to produce cat-cracking catalysts (with an annual capacity of 15,000 tonnes). On which basis, total catalyst production capacity at the Omsk Refinery will reach 21,000 tonnes, meeting demand for such catalysts for secondary refining processes throughout Russia’s refineries.

The development of innovative technologies in catalyst production is being undertaken by Gazprom Neft in conjunction with major specialist Russian research and development centres specialising in catalytic processes. The company’s partner on this national project, specifically, is the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Novosibirsk (part of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Scientists), which is developing technology for the production of catalysts for hydrogenation processes. The Institute for Problems of Hydrocarbon Refining, Omsk (also part of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Scientists) is also working with the company in developing new technologies and improving existing technologies in the production of catalysts for catalytic cracking. The company currently holds 35 patents for catalyst technologies and the development of new types of catalysts. The first domestically produced hydrotreatment catalyst was successfully tested at the Omsk Refinery last year, and commercial production of improved cat-cracking catalysts initiated.

In December 2016 Gazprom Neft opened Russia’s only engineering centre for the testing of secondary-refining catalysts in Omsk. Russia’s first ever pilot facility for catalytic cracking has begun work within the centre, allowing catalysts to be tested on various types of feedstock, as well as identifying the conditions and regimes most appropriate for cat-cracking production facilities throughout Russia’s refineries. This project will allow refineries to test Gazprom Neft’s catalysts on their own feedstock, in line with the individual requirements of specific production facilities.

The Gazprom Neft Board of Directors also considered information on key targets for the company’s environmental performance throughout 2017–2019. Gazprom Neft’s core objective over the next three years will remain the reduction of its environmental impacts — primarily through the modernisation of its refining facilities, by improving the energy efficiency of all aspects of the company’s production activities, and by increasing its effective utilisation of associated petroleum gas (APG).

Several major investment projects with a direct environmental focus and significant ecological benefits are planned up to 2019. In terms of production these include the construction and modernisation of gas infrastructure, as well as the creation of on-field standalone generation facilities. The company’s refinery modernisation project includes the launch of new energy-efficient production facilities, as well as the refurbishment of existing units in line with the latest environmental standards. The company is also implementing major environmental initiatives at its Moscow and Omsk Refineries, in the construction of innovative treatment facilities, both of which have been included in the Government of the Russian Federation’s Federal Plan as part of the country’s “Year of Ecology”.

All environmental targets have been developed in line with the specific needs of the company’s production activities and business development strategy, the basis for their achievement being the company’s existing environmental management strategy (consistent with international ISO standard ISO 14001:2015), HSE policy, and a range of other target programmes.