‘TAIF-NK will become a profitable, very profitable enterprise’

Bashkiria’s Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry offered Tatneft and TAIF GC a solution to a heavy oil processing problem

On 26 August, research advisor of Bashkiria’s Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry Elshad Telyashov delivered an extremely interesting report claiming to be a sensation. Before his theme How to Make Petroleum Processing Profitable Despite the Market?, Rustam Minnikhanov approvingly said, “We need incomes.” The focus was particularly on “dramatically boosting” the efficacy of current plants with the help of new ideas and know-how. For instance, Telyashov offered TAIF GC and Tatneft options to solve the problem of heavy oil refining. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“Heavy oil is bad. Give us more of light oil”

Research advisor of Bashkiria’s Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry Elshad Telyashov who was the first to be given the floor at a meeting of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding (due to the topic), as he said himself, shares his ideas of oil processing efficacy in Tatarstan. The guest noted from the beginning that nowadays the republic is de facto the main Russian centre for oil residues and heavy oil high conversion and an “industrial test site for pioneer technologies.”

He talked about them later. Telyashev paid attention to the possibility of “dramatically boosting” the efficacy of current plants in whose creation they also participated with the help of new ideas and know-how. According to the scientist, in our republic’s oil refining, competition is seen even in business models. For instance, TANECO as part of a vertically integrated company: “This allows to quite flexibly regulate the quality of oil, harsh market and pricing policy.” While TAIF-NK, in his opinion, “is a free harsh market without its own oil.” Due to this, as Telyashev noted, the price and quality ratio is crucial in this enterprise’s economy.

After reminding the audience of the seemingly obvious truth that “Heavy oil is bad. Give us more of light oil,” he noted, “Our teachers said: ‘There is no such thing as good or bad oil. There is an inefficient solution, to put it mildly.’” “The schemes created by smart engineers both at TANECO and TAIF, as we think, allow effectively adapting nowadays given the rise in the constant and inevitable share of sulphurous oil,” noted the scientist from the neighbouring republic.

According to him, a trend for higher efficiency and eco-friendliness of metallurgy set by the Russian president facilitates this too. As it is known, it is offered to use oil substitutes instead of dirty coal. Putin announced this at Saint Petersburg Economic Forum this year. As a consequence, there is a stringent policy on the greater eco-friendliness of metallurgical plants. This, as Telyashev says, results in “unprecedented fines of 460 billion, etc.”

Metallurgists should turn their face to oil refining

In this situation, he assumes, metallurgists should also turn towards oil refining. The speaker said that after the launch of the second delayed coker at TANECO, the visbreaker and its vacuum distillation residue are free. And specialists of this enterprise consider an option of repurposing visbreaking.

The Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry from Ufa, according to its research advisor, offers to save this unit and vacuum distillation but use new technology with high visbreaking conversion. In fact, it will be thermal cracking with a vacuum visbreaking residue they call liquid coke. “This product will be an analogue of the coal and can be used as a binding additive to furnace charge or replace the same fat coal,” the speaker explained. Telyashev thinks that it is necessary to work on this product with metallurgists. He knows that a Novolipetsk plant is already addressing the possibility of using ordinary vacuum visbreaking residues as a coking additive.

The vice director of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry explained that the quality of this product can be “very flexibly” regulated. He says that the pioneer hydroconversion technology used at TANECO fits the scheme. “In the new conditions, with new technology and feedstock and a simultaneous capacity expansion, we get an additional quantity of the product. This will allow compensating for the use of a big amount of heavy oil in feedstock,” he explained the details.

As a result, TANECO gets a new product, a new market and the possibility of using more heavy oil with fewer costs. “They already have all the equipment, only know-how and technology are needed,” Telyashev assured them. As for TAIF, he reminded the audience that one of the world’s first industrial hydrocrackers was built there: tar is mixed with unripe hydrocarbon according to pioneer technology. The speaker emphasised that installed capacity for electrodynamics, which is extremely important, and residue disposal are important aspects of this technology.

Even authors of the technology haven’t yet solved the problem

Talking about this residue, the Bashkir scientist noted that even the authors of the technology who had offered it more than a hundred years ago haven’t yet solved the problem. “It is clear that the pioneers always face unsolved tasks in the process of mastering. The first hydrocracking unit in our country was built at Ufa-Neftekhim. The construction ended in 1976. Mastering, the operation started 20 years later, in 1996,” he put an example.

Telyashev stressed that the technology, the regime had been reconstructed, changed over this time. The scientist talked about this residue with some admiration: “It is unique, alive.” At the same time, it quickly changes characteristics, even while samples were selected and taken to the laboratory. Telyashev shared his observations and said that it can be considered a second or maybe even a first-class-hazard mixture of substances: “One should work with it very and very carefully.”

The research advisor of the Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry said that after a detailed discussion of this problem with specialists and the management of TAIF-NK, they offered them a new solution to dispose of residue. It is a combination of three units in one indirect thermal cracking technology when the residue is placed into the hot flow of the coolant, sent to the reactor. An additional amount of distillates is removed from this residue, and neutral, safe, oil coke remains there, it can be used both in energy and metallurgy.

Telyashev reminded them, this technology in general is new. Nevertheless, all these units, according to him, have already been tested, including in Tatarstan facilities. The scientist outlined what needs to be done and when: “We will make the indirect residual thermal cracking in the next 1,5-2 years. We can increase the share of heavy oil without harming distillate oil, light fuel. We can simultaneously increase the capacity of TAIF-NK to 8 million tonnes (today it is almost 2 million tonnes, while it is necessary to reach the full capacity of 3 million tonnes) and, consequently, resolve all issues for the unit’s smooth operation.” In the end, a unique high oil conversion centre of Tatarstan will appear, from 9 to 10 million tar will be processed. “Such capacities don’t exist anywhere in the world today,” he noted.

According to the professor, for TAIF and TANECO, it will be an effective combination of modern pioneer technologies with two types of heavy oil improvement. Carbon removal is delayed cokers, hydrogen addition is hydrocracking units. In addition to carbon, it is hydrocrackers: “Consequently, the efficiency will rise, the share of heavy oils will increase, the capacity will expand.”

In conclusion, Telyashev said that he was ready to provide all information in a detailed talk. “We have a lot of materials that can be discussed with technical specialists. But in general Tatarstan today has all prerequisites to become a number one centre for heavy oil and heavy oil residue conversion not only in Russia but also in the world,” he claimed.

Liquid coke can be sold for 0 rubles 0 kopeks — the economy will be at an advantage

After Telyashev’s speech, Minnikhanov wondered what Director General of Tatneftekhiminvest-holding Rafinat Yarullin thought: “We have already considered such technology multiple times,” he noted. But he added that he thinks the proposals for Tatneft should be considered once again. And it is necessary to meet and talk about TAIF-NK: “It is necessary to work with metallurgists.”

The president asked Telyashev how much liquid coke cost he had praised so much earlier. In reply, the scientist claimed that liquid coke can be sold for 0 rubles 0 kopeks, the economy will be at an advantage. But it is a matter of marketers and agreements, he went back to reality. And how he “deflected the blame” to Tatneft’s director general who was in the hall: “But Mr Maganov is laughing. He perfectly knows the situation.”

On Minnikhanov’s request, the latter explained his opinion. He started saying that Tatneft is in “stiff competition” with those colleagues who arrived from Bashkiria. Secondly, “What they say has already been realised in the company, it is maybe named differently.” Maganov said that they “signed big agreements” with the Novolipetsk plant. But he didn’t disclose details saying that he wouldn’t like to “publicise all commercial terms.”

Then the head of Tatneft seemed to slightly criticise Telyashev. “Might they sell heavy oil cheaper, while the price for liquid coke is 0 rubles 0 kopeks in general, this is evil,” he said and noted that this concept was a bit against the petrochemical development concept adopted at Tatneft’s board of directors.

As it turned out, Tatneft has been dealing with liquid coke for long: it is already used in two metallurgical plants. Now commercial issues are discussed. Maganov forecasts that a small reconstruction will take place in the current coking unit next year and they will make a sufficient amount of this product.

After some rebuff to the guests, he anyway said that he had read the materials mentioned by Telyashev for the first time three days earlier and sent them for analysis. “We will be pleased to meet. We are familiar very well,” he said ambiguously. While Minnikhanov was laughing, Telyashev also recognised that they have a “very long history of relationships, which are very fruitful” with Maganov. He also noted that this work is underway at Tatneft, he would be interested in looking at it at TAIF or maybe other enterprises. The republican president promised to ask Albert Shigabutdinov to discuss these issues at TAIF-NK and then report on it to him.

“TAIF-NK can be a profitable, very profitable enterprise”

After the meeting, Telyashev explained to journalists that the technology they offer is designed to solve problems of the Heavy Residues High Conversion Complex at TAIF-NK, particularly to find out what to do with the residue. He reminded them: “We offer such a solution. We have a big team of experts. We elaborated these issues with TAIF’s specialists and management.”

According to Telyashev, earlier, they had interim versions. While the new one “considers all wishes of the TAIF team and allows switching from loss-making to highly profitably work.” He stressed that the institute he chairs has been working with TAIF for a very long time: “I can proudly say that my father designed the blueprints of this oil refinery in Nizhnekamsk together with your specialists and managers. While I participated in the creation of the blueprints of TANECO.”

At the same time, the unit will “just run and make a profit”. In the offered technology, major repairs will be required once in four years. In case of good organisation of the work, Telyashev says, these measures will take as much as 1,5 years.

Telyashev’s colleague, Vice Director General of Institute of Petroleum Refining and Petrochemistry introduced as the main engineer of the technology Rustem Vezirov added: “All oil processing in the country is unprofitable. But with what Mr Telyashev has reported on today, TAIF-NK will be a profitable, very profitable enterprise”. He specified that by their estimates, the income will total 20 billion.

Lyubov Shebalova