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Russian refining: part three

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Read part two of this article here.

Russia's refining companies and capacities


Rosneft is Russia's largest oil company in terms of both upstream oil production and downstream processing, and it is also a major producer of natural gas. Rosneft has expanded boldly. It now produces oil via 29 subsidiary companies and joint ventures. Beginning in 2006, Rosneft purchased most of the assets of Yukos, which was declared bankrupt that year. Rosneft went on to acquire TNK-BP, further consolidating its position as not only Russia's premier oil company, but also as the largest publicly traded oil company in the world. The majority shareholder is Rosneftegaz (69.5%), which is a 100% state owned company. BP owns 19.75%, while the remaining 10.75% of shares are publicly traded.

In 2013, Rosneft continued to integrate TNK-BP's assets, and the company's liquid hydrocarbon production jumped 72% above 2012's level, reaching 4.196 million bpd. Rosneft raised its domestic and foreign refinery crude runs from 90.12 million t in 2013 to 99.83 million t in 2014, an increase of 10.8%. Despite weakness in global markets, Rosneft raised its crude oil and product sales from 192.9 million t in 2013 to 207.4 million t in 2014. Natural gas sales surged from 39.07 billion m3 in 2013 to 56.53 billion m3 in 2014. Still, the fall in the price of oil and the decline in the value of the Ruble are making it difficult to repay the approximately US$30 billion in debt, and Rosneft has asked the central government for a bailout of sorts.

Rosneft's largest refineries are Angarsk (385 000 bpd) and Achinsk (142 000 bpd) in Eastern Siberia, Kuibyshev (135 000 bpd), Novokuibyshev (192 kbpd) and Syrzan (214 000 bpd) in the Volga-Urals region, Komsomolsk in the Russian Far East (162 000 bpd), and Tuapse on the Black Sea (90 000 bpd, now being expanded). Rosneft also owns several small refineries. The company is in the midst of a refinery modernisation programme to boost production of Euro 5 compatible fuels.

Rosneft's refinery modernisation programme includes the construction of 30 new units plus the reconstruction of 20 existing units at its seven main refineries. In 2009 - 2010, new hydrogen units were commissioned at Novokuibyshev, Kuibyshev, and Syrzan. Isomerization units were built at Syrzan, Angarsk and Kuibyshev. Reconstruction work was completed at an isomerisation unit at Novokuibyshev, a visbreaker at Kuibyshev, and a cat reformer at Syrzan. Kuibyshev continued with work on a new cat cracking unit. Novokuibyshev continued by planning a hydrocracking complex, another cat reformer, and a second isomerisation unit. The catalytic reformer and the isomerisation units were commissioned in early 2015, and the old units, which were built in the 1960s, will be decommissioned. The catalytic reformer has a capacity of 1.2 million tpy, or approximately 28 000 bpd. The isomeriser has a feed rate of 280 000 tpy, or approximately 6500 bpd.

The Syrzan refinery is a deep conversion facility with catalytic and thermal cracking. A new isomerisation unit was added, and it is building a new cat cracker and a diesel hydrotreater.

In 2014, Rosneft completed the construction of isomerisation units at Kuibyshev and Ryazan. A vacuum distillation unit was also completed at Ryazan in 2014.

A delayed coker was added at Komsomolsk in 2011, and a hydrocracker is planned as well. The company also upgraded its cat cracker. This refinery is a key fuel provider in Russia's Far East, and it also exports product to Asia via Rosneft's Nakhodka terminal and the third party Vanino marine terminal. This refinery also receives crude from Sakhalin Island, via pipeline from Okha.

An isomerisation unit was built at the Achinsk refinery in 2007, and the plans are to build a hydrocracker, a delayed coker, another isomerisation unit, and a new cat reformer to replace the existing unit. On 15 June 2014, a tragic explosion occurred at the Achinsk refinery. Later reports stated that there were eight fatalities and several injuries.

The Angarsk refinery uses cat cracking plus delayed coking as conversion technologies. The refinery added isomerisation, alkylation and MTBE units. It is building a diesel hydrotreater and a catalytically cracked gasoline desulfuriser using catalytic distillation technology. This refinery provides petrochemical naphtha feedstock to the Angarsk polymer plant, also owned by Rosneft.

The Tuapse refinery is undergoing a serious expansion and upgrade. Its crude capacity is being expanded from 5 million t to 12 million t, essentially by building a new refinery on the existing site. The project has three phases. Phase 1, scheduled to be completed in 2015, includes the crude and vacuum distillation unit and naphtha hydrotreater (the naphtha hydrotreater reportedly has been completed). Phase 2 will include a hydrogen plant, a vacuum gasoil hydrocracker with middle distillate hydrotreating, a catalytic reformer, and an isomerisation unit. The third phase will include a flexicoker. This will transform Tuapse into a significant deep conversion refinery. Russia views Tuapse as a strategically important refinery because of its location on the Black Sea. It is located 118 km northwest of Sochi, which received a huge influx of investment because of the Olympic Games.

As noted, Rosneft took over TNK-BP, with the sale completed in 2013, but the debt now weighs heavily on the company. The largest TNK-BP refineries under Rosneft's purview are Ryazan (340 000 bpd), Saratov (140 000 bpd) and Orsk (130 000 bpd). The Ryazan refinery was upgraded to produce Euro 5 fuels, with the design plan enabling output of nearly 35 000 bpd of Euro 5 diesel. The Saratov refinery is a very old facility, originally built in 1934, but it has completed numerous upgrades and expansions. Crude capacity was raised to 7 million t (140 000 bpd) in 2009. A visbreaker was built in 2004. The 2010 - 2012 plan called for the construction of an isomerisation unit and a revamp of a diesel hydrotreater. The catalytic reformers were also modernised in 2012. A bitumen plant is also being built.

Rosneft is also partnering with China's CNPC to build a refinery in China at Tianjin. The refinery crude capacity will be 13 million tpy, of which 9 million tpy of feedstock will be from Russia. Rosneft also plans to build a petrochemical plant near the city of Nahodka in the Russian Far East, with a capacity of 3.4 million tpy. China is viewed as the principal market outlet.

Read part four of this article here.

Written by Nancy Yamaguchi, Contributing Editor. This is an abridged article taken from the August 2015 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering.

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