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Russian refining: part four

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Read part three of this article here.

Russia's refining companies and capacities (continued)


Lukoil is Russia's second largest refining company, with four large refineries and three miniature refineries. Lukoil reports that it produces 16.4% of Russia's crude oil and that it owns 15.7% of Russia's refinery capacity. The four main refineries are Nizhny Novgorod (347 000 bpd), Perm (266 000 bpd), Ukhta (81 000 bpd) and Volgograd (226 000 bpd). Lukoil launched a programme of expansion and modernisation for all of its refineries, scheduled for completion in 2015 - 2016. Lukoil reported that all four of its major refineries in Russia completed a switch to Euro 5 standard gasoline in July 2012.The Volgograd refinery recently added a middle distillate hydrotreater. Volgograd is not a deep conversion refinery, but Lukoil plans to change this by adding a hydrocracker of 3.0 - 3.5 million tpy capacity. Coking has been the main conversion process (two small coking units with a capacity of 18 500 bpd). The Volgograd refinery also added an isomerisation unit and is expanding its vacuum gasoil capacity. The refinery produces bitumen and lubricating oils. It also has a natural gas fractionator.

The Perm refinery recently added a large (68 200 bpd) hydrocracker. In 2013, reconstruction of the diesel hydrotreater was completed, and work commenced on a coking unit with a planned capacity of 2.1 million tpy. The refinery's yield of light products improved from 57.3% in 2009 to 58.5% in 2013. Gasoline output was 100% high octane in 2013, and diesel output included 96.8% clean diesel.

The Nizhny Novgorod refinery is a cat cracking plus visbreaking refinery. It recently expanded its crude and product storage reservoirs, and an isomerisation unit was added. A second complex for catalytic cracking is being built, with a capacity of approximately 25 000 bpd. The refinery yield of light products has grown from 42.3% in 2009 to 52.9% in 2013. Gasoline output is 100% high octane. The share of clean diesel in total diesel output is 88.5%.

The Ukhta refinery has a simpler configuration. The cat reformer was revamped in 2006. A visbreaker was commissioned in 2007. Isomerisation was added in 2009, followed by a large diesel hydrotreater in 2012. In 2013, the vacuum distillation unit was rebuilt and capacity was increased. The light product yield is much lower because of the lack of cracking capability. Still, the light product yield rose from 39.7% in 2009 to 40.6% in 2013. The completion of the diesel hydrotreater had a major impact on quality; in 2012, clean diesel accounted for 32.2% of diesel output, and this rose to 80.7% in 2013.

Lukoil also operates two small refineries in Western Siberia, the 7500 bpd Kogalym refinery, and farther west, the 2400 bpd Uray refinery. Lukoil announced in late 2013 that it had committed RUB1.548 billion (approximately US$28 million) to upgrade the Kogalym refinery for the production of Euro 5 fuels. The modernisation plan includes an isomerisation unit, reconstruction of the diesel hydrotreater, and a gasoline compounding unit.

In total, the modernisation programme allowed Lukoil to reduce the output of heavy products (fuel oil and vacuum gasoil) from 31% of output in 2011 to 28.4% in 2013. Gasoline output rose from 21.6% in 2011 to 22.5% in 2013, while middle distillate output rose from 38.4% in 2011 to 39.7% in 2013. Total refining volumes in 2013 were 45.25 million t, an increase of 1.8% from the previous year.

Lukoil has strong trade links to the rest of Europe. It participates in refineries in Bulgaria (the Burgas refinery), Romania (through purchase of the Petrotel Ploiesti refinery in 1998), Italy (the ISAB refinery complex in Sicily, with ERG), and the Netherlands (the Zeeland refinery, also known as Vlissingen, a joint venture with Total). Lukoil sold its interest in the Odessa refinery in Ukraine, which it had acquired in 1999, to the Vetek group, citing poor economics. The company noted that it was not planning to acquire additional refineries in Europe, but rather would focus on upgrading its current holdings and more thoroughly integrating the Italian and Dutch refineries into its existing refinery network.


Gazprom states that it is the world's largest gas business, and most of its emphasis is on the gas side, but it also operates three large oil refineries in Russia, plus a medium sized refinery and two small refineries. The main refineries are Omsk (428 000 bpd), Moscow (246 000 bpd), and Salavat (202 000 bpd). In 2012, Gazprom Pererabotka (a Gazprom subsidiary) increased its stake in Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat to 97.8%. Gazprom Neft also has access to Slavneft-Yaroslavnefteorgsintez. The Gazprom Group has achieved significant growth in refined product output. Crude and condensate throughput rose from 44.3 million t in 2009 to 66.1 million t in 2013. Motor gasoline production rose from 8648.8 million t in 2009 to 12125.2 million t in 2013. Diesel production rose from 11214.2 million t in 2009 to 16215.2 million t in 2013. Gazprom reported that its revenue from refined product sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 rose to RUB393 billion, up 12% from the fourth quarter of 2013, when sales revenues amounted to RUB350 billion.

The 21.4 million tpy Omsk refinery is a deep conversion facility, including coking, visbreaking, cat cracking and hydrocracking. In 2011, the Omsk refinery launched Euro 4 gasoline. In 2012, the refinery completed hydrotreaters for diesel and catalytically cracked naphtha, enabling an early switchover to production of Euro 5 standard fuels. The lubricating oil unit also was expanded. The expansion programme is ongoing. The cat cracker and alkylation units are being rebuilt, a new 2 million tpy hydrocracker is planned, and the refinery is adding an MTBE plant. Gazprom reported that its output of high octane gasoline rose by 2.5% to 4.4 million t in 2014 relative to 2013. Crude throughput rose 5.2% in 2014 above 2013, to 21.3 million t. Diesel output reportedly rose to 6.3 million t in 2014. The refinery switched to a full output slate of Euro 5 fuels in 2014.

At the Moscow refinery, Gazprom recently expanded catalytic cracking capacity and added the capability to desulfurise catalytically cracked naphthas. It also added an isomerisation unit (15 000 bpd) and a diesel hydrotreater (40 000 bpd). The Moscow refinery started producing Euro 4 gasoline and diesel in 2011. In April 2012 the refinery switched to Euro 4 super gasoline, nearly three years ahead of the deadline set by the Russian Technical Regulation. As of the summer of 2013, all output conformed with Euro 5 quality standards. Crude throughput in 2013 reached a new record of 11.08 million t. Additional refinery investment is planned, to extend through the year 2020, including a biological wastewater treatment plant.

The Gazprom Neftekhim Salavat refinery is oriented toward petrochemicals, but it also has undertaken several projects to expand fuel production. A 1.5 million tpy visbreaker was commissioned in 2009, followed by a two stage gasoil hydrotreating project in 2009 and 2012. A new atmospheric and vacuum distillation unit was added in 2012, raising capacity to 10 million tpy.

Gazprom also owns 50% of Slavneft, and therefore has access to its YaNOS refinery.

Part five of this article will be available soon.

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

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