Challenges and technological opportunities for the oil refining industry: A Brazilian refinery case
The worldwide oil refining industry currently faces strong challenges related to uncertainties about future feedstock and characteristics of oil products. These challenges favor two main strategies for the sector: the first strategy is increasing refinery complexity and versatility; the second is integrating the refining and petrochemical industries, adding value to the crude oil while guaranteeing market share to premium oil products. Both strategies aim at increasing production of highly specified oil products, simultaneously reducing the environmental impacts of the refining industry. This paper analyses the case of a Brazilian refinery, Gabriel Passos Refinery (REGAP), by proposing additional investments to alter and/or expand its current production scheme. All the proposed options present relatively low investment rates of return. However, investments in a hydrocracking based configuration with a gasification unit providing hydrogen and power can further improve the operational profitability, due to reduced natural gas consumption.
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