A consignment of needle coke (a valuable raw material for the metallurgy, nuclear, chemicals and space industries) has been produced at the Gazprom Neft Omsk Refinery — this initial pilot batch having undergone prior testing before being despatched to a domestic client Energoprom Group. to form the blueprint for the first premium-quality electrodes in Russia to be produced from domestic raw materials. Commercial production of needle coke is expected to start at the Omsk Refinery in 2021 following the reconstruction of the delayed coking unit. This RUB2.5 billion-project forms part of the Omsk Refinery’s modernisation programme, being undertaken by Gazprom Neft since 2008.
Following reconstruction the Omsk Refinery’s delayed coking unit will have a production capacity of 38,700 tonnes of raw needle coke per year. Three heavy-duty coke drums, weighing 197 tonnes and each of them 28.5 metres long, have already been installed — this equipment having been produced by leading Russian manufacturer Volgogradneftemash. Modernisation to 2021 will also involve the replacement of furnace heaters and secondary distillation columns, construction of an additional tank farm, and the implementation of automated control systems.
Needle coke is a cutting-edge high-margin product, used in producing ultra-reliable graphite electrodes. All raw materials used in producing these are currently imported. The Omsk Refinery is the first in Russia to start producing needle coke.
Anatoly Cherner, Deputy CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, Gazprom Neft, commented: “Part of the programme on modernising the company’s refining facilities involves us collaborating with leading Russian developers and equipment manufacturers. Thanks to these joint initiatives we are improving efficiency in refinery operations and implementing technologies to produce new products, in high demand. The first ever needle coke production in Russia, being initiated at the Omsk Refinery, is one such example of that collaboration.”Anatoly Cherner Deputy CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, Gazprom Neft
Gazprom Neft is currently involved in a full-scale modernisation programme at its Omsk and Moscow refineries, involving cumulative investment of more than RUB550 billion. The first stage of this modernisation has involved the construction and reconstruction of key technological facilities, allowing the complete transition to the production of Euro-5 fuels, significantly improving energy efficiency and environmental friendliness in production. The implementation of the second phase of the modernisation programme is now ongoing, as a result of which refining depth and the production of light petroleum products will increase to match the highest international standards.