Cold Cracking Can Save Millions for Oil refineries: Technocrat
CHENNAI: Oil refineries could gain an additional revenue of USD 450 million dollars by 2016 if they adopt cold oil cracking, a technology that applies quantum mechanics to pre-treat heavier crude oil and make it easier for refining, said retired technocrat P N Devarajan.
Delivering the eighth S Krishnaswamy Memorial Endowment Lecture organised by the Chemical Industries Association here on Saturday, Devarajan, former Chairman and Managing Director at Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd (HOCL), said this new technology could provide respite for refiners by eliminating high capital expenditure on catalyst management and infrastructure for high pressure-temperature processes.
“This process significantly reduces temperature of cracking. No catalyst is required, while the reaction can take place at room temperature and pressure. It can be modularized and installed,” Devarajan said. Since it was a low cost technology, it would have an impact on fuel prices for consumers as well, he noted.
Devarajan added that this technology would have a rapid payback period, while increasing the gross refining margin (GRM) by up to USD 5 per barrel of oil, as well as addressing environmental issues.
There are a total of 22 oil refineries in India with an installed capacity to process 215.66 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA). Heavier varieties of crude oil could constitute up to 20 per cent of the total processed by larger refineries.
In the current oil refining scenario, as oil gets depleted, most refiners are supplied with petroleum, which has a higher percentage of heavier compounds. Refining them to get high-demand lighter end products like diesel and petrol would involve greater spending. Cold cracking, according to Devarajan, could be a low-cost substitute.