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Russia’s first ever catalytic-cracking pilot facility for catalyst testing to be built at the Gazprom Neft Omsk Refinery

As part of Gazprom Neft’s nationally-endorsed initiative to develop catalyst production, a unique pilot catalytic cracking facility for Omsk Refinery has been built in India. Designed for testing on pilot batches of new types of catalysts, this new facility will also be used to test the efficiency of catalyst products already in production at the Omsk Refinery.

This pilot facility is a small-scale copy of production facilities designed for the production of catalytic cracking gasoline, with a height of 6.5 metres, and a production capacity of 2.5 kilogrammes per hour (on crude). The facility will replicate the catalytic cracking process under conditions as close as possible to those under actual production, allowing specialists to test new kinds of catalytic-cracking catalysts, identify and select the optimum conditions for their utilisation, evaluate the effectiveness of their application, and benchmark production at the Omsk Refinery against other producers.

Site preparation for the installation of equipment is currently ongoing at the Omsk Refinery, together with work on the installation of the foundations as well as the water-supply, ventilation, nitrogen supply and compressed air systems. Indian and Russian specialists will begin installation of the facility in June, with the first pilot test operations scheduled for autumn this year.

Oleg Belyavskiy, General Director of the Gazprom Neft Omsk Oil Refinery, commented: “This represents a unique experience for our plant: there are simply no other installations of such kind in Russia, and the Omsk Refinery will be the first enterprise to be given the opportunity of testing its own-produced catalysts under conditions as close as possible to those under actual production. Potential consumers will be able to undertake testing of our catalysts on their own crude, taking into account the specific characteristics of catalytic cracking complexes at other refineries. And the plant’s specialists, in partnership with Russian scientific establishments, will continue their very effective work in fine-tuning our catalytic cracking catalysts to ensure Russian refinery products meet international standards.”

Notes for editors

Catalysts used in oil refining processes are nano-structured agents which, when introduced into immediate chemical interactions, speed up chemical reactions in oil refining.

The national Gazprom Neft project for the development of catalyst production at the Gazprom Neft Omsk Refinery envisages the establishment of a cutting-edge high-technology complex producing domestic catalysts for use in catalytic cracking, as well as catalysts for hydro-treatment and hydro-cracking (none of which are currently produced in Russia). These catalysts are used for key processes in secondary oil refining, making possible the production of Euro-5 motor fuels.

By 2020 Gazprom Neft will establish a cutting-edge facility to produce catalysts for hydrogenation processes (with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per year) and catalysts for catalytic cracking (with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes). On which basis, total catalyst production capacity at the Omsk Refinery will reach 21,000 tonnes, allowing it not just to meet current domestic demand for catalytic cracking and hydrogenation catalysts throughout Russia’s refining industry, but also to supply products for export throughout the CIS.

The development of innovative technologies in catalyst production is being undertaken by Gazprom Neft in conjunction with major 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 (a Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences) which is developing technology for the production of catalysts for hydrogenation processes. The Institute for Problems of Hydrocarbon Refining, Omsk (also a Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), is also working with the company in developing new technologies and improving existing processes in the production of catalysts for catalytic cracking.