South Korea- Onsan

S-Oil Corporation has begun a 29-day maintenance turnaround at its Onsan, South Korea refinery on the 89,000 b/d Condensate Splitter Unit. The company plans to finish the maintenance work on April 29, 2017. Another project underway is scheduled maintenance turnaround of the Residual Hydrotreater 1 (HYVAHL unit 1). The 52,000-b/d unit will resume operations on April 25, 2017, according to the latest update.

The Onsan Industrial Complex at Ulsan produces lube base oils, petrochemical products, and crude oil refined products with a capacity of 669,000 b/d. S-Oil operates a Residue Upgrading Complex (RUC)/Olefin Downstream Complex (ODC) at the location, as part of the company’s petrochemical downstream business. Through the RUC/ODC Project, it focuses on offering gasoline and olefins downstream products. The ODC facility produces olefin downstream products, propylene oxide (PO) and polypropylene (PP) from residue.

The complex’s BTX Facility produces aromatics, such as benzene, toluene and xylene by adding naphtha. Its lubricant portfolio includes S-OIL 7, Dragon and GOODOIL name brands.

In April 2016, S-Oil Corporation let a contract to Paris-based Technip SA to provide proprietary equipment as part of a residue upgrading and capacity expansion project at the plant. Technip provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) for high-severity fluid catalytic cracking (HS-FCC). This was the first commercial application for the HS-FCC process, according to Technip management. Additional elements of the expansion project included modification to the original down-flow reactor, necessary to integrate the new HS-FCC technology.

The HS-FCC technology was designed to improve profitability, as well as secure long-term competitiveness by equipping the Onsan complex to convert low-cost heavier hydrocarbons into high-value olefins and fuels (RUC and ODC units). In an April 2016 S-Oil investor’s call, the full upgrade program is expected to be complete in the first half of 2018.

HS-FCC was developed by an alliance comprising Saudi Aramco, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Technip Stone & Webster Process Technology, and Axens. The main features of the HS-FCC process are: a down-flow reactor, high reaction temperature, short contact time, and high catalyst-to-oil ratio (C/O). The HS-FCC process operates at high temperature and high C/O ratio, resulting in two competing cracking reactions, thermal cracking and catalytic cracking. Thermal cracking contributes to the production of dry gas, while catalytic cracking enhances the yield of propylene, according to Technip’s process documentation.

Japan- Taiyo

Taiyo Oil Company Company Limited has increased unit processing capacity at its 138,000 b/d Shikoku Japan Refinery to comply with the second energy law mandated by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). After the upgrade, capacity of the Crude 1 unit was increased from 88,000 b/d to 106,000 b/d. Crude 2 unit capacity was raised marginally from 30,000 b/d to 32,000 b/d, while the RFCC unit capacity was raised from 29,000 b/d to 32,000 b/d, effective April 1, 2017.

On March 31, Taiyo Oil Co President and CEO, Yutaka Oka, stated in a news release that it had submitted “Changes to the Plan for Achieving the Goal of Effective Usage Targets for Crude Oil” to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

The report was in regard to the percentage of the Company's Shikoku Operations that comprises heavy oil refining equipment, and was submitted in response to the second official government promulgation of the Act for Sophisticated Methods of Energy Supply Structures.

Previous high-profile upgrades to the facility’s capacity include the completion of the construction and startup of Resid Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit with a capacity of 25,000 b/d in November 2010, and the increase of the CCR platforming unit to 37,000 b/d in August 2006.

Shikoku Operations continues to upgrade, expand and rationalize its operation to respond to different demands for petroleum. The facility started commercial operations in 1938. The site spans an area of 680,000 cubic meters, and produces petroleum products and petrochemical feedstocks with a capacity of 120,000 b/d.

Japan- Cosmo

Japan’s Cosmo Oil Company Limited is on schedule to perform a 15-day planned minor turnaround on the 25,000 b/d Reformer 2 unit at its 177,000 b/d refinery in Chiba, Japan, on April 12, 2017. The company expects to complete and restart the unit by April 26, 2017. Another scheduled maintenance program is a planned 40-day turnaround on the 36,000 b/d Residual Hydrotreater 10 unit.

Work on this unit is scheduled to start on May 8, 2017 and end on June 16, 2017. Additionally, the 102,000 b/d Crude 2 distillation Unit will resume normal operations during the
15-day planned minor turnaround on the 25,000 b/d Reformer 2.

Expectations are to complete and restart the unit on April 26, 2017. Separately, a 40-day planned turnaround on the 36,000 b/d Residual Hydrotreater 10 is scheduled to start on May 8, 2017, and end on June 16, 2017. The 102,000 b/d Crude 2 unit will continue normal operations during the RDS turnaround. The facility’s crude is primarily supplied from the Middle East, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran & Kuwait.

The refinery was commissioned in 1963. In the following 14 years, asphalt, gas oil hydrodesulphurization and hydrogen, and residuum hydrodesulphurization and hydrogen units were commissioned. Cosmo Oil operates the facility, which has a crude oil-equivalent processing capacity of 240,000 b/d.
Residue hydrotreatment upgrading is intended to maximize the output value per barrel of crude oil processed.

Residue upgrading helps a refiner get more from a barrel of oil and brings more to the bottom line, particularly when residual demand factors are in decline. Upgrading both vacuum residue and atmospheric residue streams can be accomplished through a variety of solutions, but the drive for higher-quality, and lower-contaminant diesel and bunker fuel oil is in line with a decrease in demand for residual fuel oil, and thus supporting the incentive to process it further to higher value middle distillate outputs. This is particularly important in the context of the need to maximum crude oil conversion output efficiency.

China- Dongfang Refinery

Meanwhile, China’s CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) subsidiary, CNOOC Dongfang Petrochemical Company Limited, has rescheduled a 25-day turnaround at its 40,000 b/d Dongfang China Refinery to begin on April 10, 2017. Major units set to enter maintenance during this period include the lone crude processing unit, a 24,000 b/d FCCU (DCC) unit, a 6,000 b/d Cracking Diesel Hydrotreater, a 7,000 FCC Gasoline Merox unit, and a 10,000 b/d Naphtha Hydrotreating Unit. Expectations are to complete repairs and restart the units by May 4, 2017.

The Dongfang unit is a relatively new refining unit. CNOOC started producing gasoline and gasoil at the plant in early 2014. The first batch of zero pour point gasoil produced at the facility was sent to neighboring Maoming City, in Guangdong Province. Though other provinces were proximal via land access routes, petroleum agreements granted to the province of Hainan granted them exclusive use of national IV oil products distribution. Thus, the company had to supply its National III standard products by ship. This has resulted in a need to optimize product distribution, in association with another state-run Chinese entity, energy giant, Sinopec. Sinopec is diversifying its oil product sources in Hainan.

The Dongfang Petrochemical unit produces 500,000 tonnes per year (tpy) of 93-RON gasoline, 720,000 tpy of zero pour point gasoil and 190,000 tonnes per year of LPG, in addition to a variety of chemicals. The company has agreed to supply all of its LPG to a local deep processing plant for the exchange of the part of the gasoline produced from the LPG. Additional units at the Dongfang Petrochemical complex included a 2 million tpy crude pretreatment unit, a 1.2 million tpy deep catalytic cracker, a 0.3 million tpy cracked gasoil hydrogenation unit, a 0.6 million tpy fractionation unit, and a 0.08 million tpy methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) unit.

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