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Special Report: Catalysts solve refining industry challenges

by Arabian Oil & Gas Staff on Jun 14, 2017


BASF refinery catalysts.
BASF refinery catalysts.

The challenges faced by the oil refining industry vary from region-to-region and from customer-to-customer, covering many diverse and often interconnected topics. For example: the impact of crude and product pricing; the impact of changing product specifications; how to sustain long-term profitability in uncertain market conditions; how to meet changing environmental regulations and future policy changes; how to train and engage the new generation of professionals; and how to improve agility and flexibility to adopt the latest catalyst technologies. These are difficult challenges!

BASF Refining Catalysts is a leading producer of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts. The organisation is committed to innovation, which is in-tune with the ever-changing market and customer needs. The company continuously innovates and commercialises new products, supported by a global technical service group to ensure BASF’s products and offerings deliver value at each refinery.

Innovation is a driving force that enables BASF’s customers to be more successful. In recent years, BASF has successfully commercialised many ground-breaking new technologies that enable customers to be more successful. Beyond those, which are new and innovative, there are the FCC catalyst technologies for feedstock contaminant metal passivation, technologies for light and heavy feeds, and technologies for improving propylene and butylene production.

New products like BoroCat™, Borotec™, Fortress™ NXT, and ZIP olefins additive are delivering value at customer locations globally. BASF has also many active R&D programmes. Through specific agreements with universities and customers, BASF can develop innovative technologies and leverage full-scale commercial trials to validate laboratory results.

Through specific agreements, the company is also able to discuss latest developments, to some extent, with customers, which is incredibly important and allows BASF to check and then re-check that the commitment to innovation is in tune with the ever-changing market and customer needs.

BASF is committed to ‘building the best team’ and ‘winning together’, and has a long-term commitment to the refining industry, which is incredibly important to the global refining technical community.

BASF recently launched Borotec, a new FCC catalyst and the newest evolution of its resid oil FCC catalysts portfolio. Borotec is the latest innovation using BASF’s unique boron-based technology (BBT) platform to provide mild- and moderate-resid feed FCC units more flexibility in crude selection, which results in increased yields of high-value products.

A successful commercial trial has verified the ability of Borotec to improve performance, leading to higher yields of valuable products and lower bottom-of-the-barrel yields compared to competitive technologies. The improved metals tolerance feature provided by Borotec allows improved crude flexibility for refiners that increasingly engage in spot buying to maximise profits. The catalyst was developed to offer refiners optimised operation and maximised margins.

To help train and engage the new generation of professionals, catalyst producers are expected to contribute directly to solving the problems of customers. At BASF Refining Catalysts, delivery of technical service to enable customers to be more successful is an incredibly important part of a holistic approach.

BASF stands behind its FCC catalyst products and, through global technical service representatives, ensures that the products perform and deliver value now and in the future.

BASF’s commitment to innovation and technical service is in-tune with the ever-changing market and customer needs. To fill the needs, BASF has innovated to provide a large portfolio of FCC catalysts and technical support services that is made available to the customers.

Customers develop the optimum catalyst solutions for their units with the guidance from BASF’s global technical service representatives, each refinery having a dedicated team. The result is a partnership that evaluates the individual FCC unit’s performance and builds in-depth knowledge of the operation limitations and goals of the unit.

This partnership allows BASF to further optimise its catalyst formulation for a specific refiner. Thus, working together, BASF and the refiner continuously evaluate and improve the FCC unit performance. To summarise, delivering industry leading technical support is an incredibly important part of the BASF total offer.

Sure, there are a lot of challenges, which are difficult to address. But, with a strong innovation pipeline, good products, great people, demanding customers, and rewarded by a growing number of customer success stories, BASF Refining Catalysts remains optimistic about the future.

Innovative FCC technologies and services have enabled customers to be more successful. The key for a catalyst producer like BASF is the commitment to long-term partnerships and relationships. These are the main reasons why more and more customers are choosing BASF as their preferred FCC catalyst supplier.


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